Dave Matthews Band not playing Seattle…again.

Posted by Jay

The Dave Matthews Band

So I was catching up with a good friend of mine who lives in San Francisco and she tells me that she has tickets for the September Dave Matthews Band concert at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View – just a relatively short 40 mile drive south of the city.  I’m thinking, “hey that’s great, wish they would play a show in Seattle.”

The thing is, Dave Matthews is known to be an on-again, off-again resident of our fine city of Seattle, WA.  However, for some unknown reason he and his band refuse to play anywhere within a forty mile radius of Seattle.  However, if you are willing to drive over the mountains and far away to Eastern, WA – 150 miles to be precise – then you are more likely than not part of The Dave Matthews Band’s faithful who gather at The Gorge Amphitheater on his annual Labor Day weekend series of shows.

I admit I am not a member of The Dave Matthews Band’s faithful followers.  I am more of a casual fan whose first and only time watching the band live was when they were the opening act for the Rolling Stones during the Bigger Bang tour at Qwest Field here in Seattle.  I believe this is the only time they have performed a show in Seattle since I moved here in 2004.  As a musician, I did enjoy this show very much though the sound wasn’t very good.  Apparently, Mick and the boys were not willing to share but just a small portion of their magnificent sound system.  It was evident, however, that this was a group of fine musicians who love to put on a great show.  And as a drummer, I was very impressed with Mr. Carter Beauford.

It’s not like I don’t travel to see some of my favorite bands; however, these shows usually take place in other cities.  In fact going to a rock concert is actually a great excuse to travel and visit nearby cities such as Portland, OR or Vancouver, BC.  We get to spend the day or two soaking up the culture, checking out the local scene, and going to – more often than not – a great show.  Now, I will make the 150 mile drive to The Gorge Amphitheater in Quincy, WA; however, I usually reserve this journey for bands that I absolutely love.

Don’t get me wrong, The Gorge Amphitheater is a a beautiful place to see a show.  The venue sits above the Columbia River and it truly is an experience to watch the sun set behind this natural and breathtaking backdrop.  However, aside from the amphitheater there really isn’t anything else to do in the general vicinity.  Having lunch and going  for a stroll through the charming “Main St.” of Ellensburg, WA is nice, but it’s still a small town located about 40 miles from the venue.  Once on the amphitheater grounds, you can forget about modern plumbing.  There are no modern bathrooms here, just porta potties aka “Honey Buckets.”  Unfortunately, at a venue this large that literally draws thousands of people these “Honey Buckets” are not the most pleasant things to encounter after driving all day to get there.  And again, because of the out of the way location, your only options after the show are to camp out on the adjacent grounds, drive and spend the night in a place like Ellensburg, or drive back to where you came from (which for me would be another 150 miles through the Cascade Mountains back to Seattle).

I just wish that instead of playing exclusively at The Gorge Amphitheater every single year, that The Dave Matthews Band would consider playing somewhere closer to the city (Seattle or Portland).   Not everyone who likes the band has the facility to make the trip to The Gorge; so they are in fact alienating a portion of their fans.  Seattle and Portland have some great venues and I am sure that the band would attract  a broader audience as well.   In fact, I would go out and buy more albums if I knew that I could go see them live more often without having to undertake the journey to Quincy, WA.

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