Review: Dave Matthews Band pumps it up for Tahoe show

Tahoe Onstage
A fresh Dave Matthews Band blows away Harveys Outdoor Arena at Lake Tahoe on Friday, Sept. 6.
Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage photos

The Dave Matthews Band has made Harvey’s outdoor venue a regular stop since 2013, appearing on the shores of Lake Tahoe four of its last six tours. Typically, Tahoe fits the routing from the annual three-show Labor Day run at The Gorge, on the way to shows in California. Often that means the band  is a bit weary and the sets feel transitional and somewhat soft.

The 2019 Harvey’s sold-out stop on Friday Sept., 6, however, was graced with a fresh DMB. Having played only one show in five days, the musicians took the stage bright-eyed — and boy, did they deliver. Anytime the evening opens with fan favorite “#41,” it seems to be an indicator that the band, anchored by drummer Carter Beauford and bassist Stefan Lessard, are ready to push onstage.

Featuring a well-crafted setlist that offered favorites for newbies, couples and lifelong DMB fans, the band dropped a handful of rarities while mixing in radio friendly tunes, love songs and covers.

[pullquote]The emphatic statement, with Matthews and band sounding as tight as they had all night, showed they can still bring it hard after 25 years of big shed and arena tours.”[/pullquote]Dressed in a corduroy jacket, Matthews sounded strong and comfortable despite a set that stretched him vocally in the dry, high altitude environment that can cripple some vocalists. “You Never Know” and “Lie In Our Graves” were a pair of early surprises having made only their fifth and fourth appearances respectively in 42 shows. “Rhyme And Reason” was liberated for the very first time on the 2019 tour. Even deep in the set, Matthews easily handled the guttural expressions demanded of a song about heroin abuse.

Tim Reynolds

DMB sprinkled in couples favs “Crash Into Me” and “You And Me,” along with tunes aimed at casual fans such as “Satellite,” “Grace Is Gone,” and “Funny The Way It Is.”

The Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle” was introduced as a new cover during the 2019 tour, showing up in various slots in the set. Friday, the band deftly melded it to a sequence of  “So Much To Say,” “Anyone Seen The Bridge” and “Fly Like An Eagle.”

The main set closing combination featured a full “Last Stop,” which segued directly into Lessard’s solo bass intro to “All Along The Watchtower,” then into a perfectly inserted interpolation of Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven.” Matthews’ driving and powerful vocal and a wailing solo from guitarist Tim Reynolds (TR3) left the sold-out crowd, and in particular the hardcore fans, semi-stunned.

Harvey’s was abuzz as the fans chanted for more and Matthews obliged with a solo “Kill The Preacher.” With Friday being the eve of the late founding saxophonist LeRoi Moore’s birthday, the band launched into “Why I Am,” written as a tribute to Moore after his passing.

The Dave Matthews Band could have gone meekly into the night with a tepid show-closer like “Everyday” or “Stay” and no one would have whined. They chose instead to keep their foot on the gas with the high-energy “Don’t Drink The Water.” The emphatic statement, with Matthews and band sounding as tight as they had all night, showed they can still bring it hard after 25 years of big shed and arena tours.

So long as Matthews and Beauford, one of the world’s premiere drummers who turned 60 last November, decide they want to tour they’ll continue presenting one of the most consistent offerings in the jam band genre. Combine that consistency with ever-creative light rigs from original director Fenton Williams and they’ll continue to sell-out venues around the world, haters be damned.

— Michael Smyth

Anchoring the rhythm are bassist Stefan Lessard, above, and drummer Carter Beauford, below.

 Carter Beauford


  • Dave Matthews Band
    Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys
    Sept. 6, 2019
  1. #41
  2. You Never Know
  3. Funny The Way It Is
  4. Come Tomorrow
  5. Lie In Our Graves
  6. Satellite
  7. Cant Stop
  8. Grace Is Gone
  9. So Much To Say
  10. Anyone Seen The Bridge
  11. Fly Like An Eagle
  12. Crash Into Me
  13. You Might Die Trying
  14. Samurai Cop (Oh Joy Begin)
  15. Rhyme And Reason
  16. The Song That Jane Likes
  17. You and Me
  18. Last Stop
  19. All Along The Watchtower
  • ——– ENCORE ——–
  1. (Kill The Preacher)
  2. Why I Am
  3. Don’t Drink the Water

    Tahoe OnstageMichael Smyth / Tahoe OnstageTahoe OnstageTahoe OnstageTahoe OnstageTahoe Onstage






ABOUT Michael Smyth

Michael Smyth
Michael Smyth moved to Reno in 2007 after living more than 40 years in the Bay Area. In addition to going to live shows, he enjoys golf, skiing and fly-fishing. Check out his website


One Response

  1. Great writeup. Love a Tahoe vibe for DMB.
    Thanks again for a solid review. So many great tunes played powerfully. They all were on fire. .

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