Operation:Megatrip Part IV:The Last Stop

LIGHTS OUT.

My eardrums ringing. This was the loudest crowd I had ever witnessed. The moment had finally come. The loudness began to amplify. Dave and the gang were now walking out on stage.

I was right in front of the microphone. The opening chords played. The crowd was in for one heck of a night.

The Band opened with Squirm and it was the highest amount of energy this song had ever been given.  After the song Dave approached the mic and said “Nice to be home with ya.” The feeling was surreal. Next came the opening chords to Big Eyed Fish one of my personal favorites. From that they went staight into the magic duo of Still Water>>>Don ‘t Drink The Water. I believe this was the first time I heard them use the “This Land” outro as well. Seen it so many times and I don’t think I’d ever heard that.

Before the show I told everyone I gave spoons to to hold them up after Big Whiskey songs (the new album). Seven came up and afterwards the first batch of Spoons were held up.

Teh energiezzz this night was like nothing I’ve ever experienced.  The band brought up Joe Lawlor and played one of the best versions of #41 I’d ever seen. Joe and Tim dueling between solos. It was simply put…wicked sick.  Something about that first note to #41 gives me chills every time.

Notice Stefan was wearing plaid! Moohoohahaha!

Next came the Big Whiskey opener Shake Me Like A Monkey. Full of punch. Afterwards I feel like everyone who had a Spoon held it up. All 100+ of them.  Dave smiles and then…it happened. The hard effort of many fans was now being rewarded. I heard the first chords and was simply speechless. A part of me thought he was just teasing it again but then the whole band came in. I was getting hugged by strangers all around. Might have even gotten a little misty eyed. “Before These Crowded Streets” was now completed. I was finally hearing my favorite song.

That is my favorite view of the intro. That was filmed right behind me. It’s good evidence to just how many spoons were in the small area around me. Here is the video I filmed I had to capture this moment for myself. (excuse my HORRIBLE singing. Our voices were hoarser than Seabiscuit.(excuses, excuses.))

And lastly here is the officially shot footage of the song courtesy of Copperpot 🙂 (keep an eye out at 7:39!)

To leave it simple. I could have gone home happy right then and there. As if the trip wasn’t ALREADY worth it we had all just witnessed one of the rarest songs in the band’s catalog and to maybe be bias it was the best version ever played and by far the highlight of the entire tour. That was THE performance of 2010. I gave the other plaid guys the biggest hug of victory.

The Show did not stop here. In fact it exploded.

They brought out THE John D’Earth for Warehouse. Always a great, great song never get’s old. They did the UTTAD intro but apparently the crowd wanted the stop time because they were “WOO’ing” the entire intro. Idk if it was annoying or funny haha. I laugh so we’ll go with funny.

Next came Jimi Thing with Trombone Shorty and  John D’Earth. There has NEVER…I repeat NEVER been a better combination of horns on this song than Cville night 1. One of the most incredible versions I think ever played by far the best I’d ever seen. I’ll put it up there with Central Park any day.

Next came the newest song Black Jack. Chris, Will, and I were all fortunate to see them debut it in Tampa earlier this year. It’s just an incredibly dirty catchy song. I remember being at the after party in West Palm and I was at a table with Kayla and we both were just kinda singin it to ourselves then we were like “DANGIT IT’S JUST STUCK IN MY HEAD.”

Next came our second Christmas Song of the trip followed by Lie In Our Graves. Got some awesome photos of Boyd During his solo.

The main set ended with Time Bomb>>You & Me and the cursed song of Charlottesville Stay(Wasting Time).  (See trenchcoat man)

The Encore came. On the drive to Virginia we thought it would be hilarious to get the entire crowd to sing something ridiculous. Unfortunately it would have never worked but it didn’t stop of us from trying with laughter several times during the break. Here is the song we had in mind.

We laughed over and over again at the thought of 19,000 people all singing this song. Just take a moment and picture that. nearly twenty thousand people “TOMORROW, TOMORROW, YOUR’E ONLY A DAYYYYY AAAAAWAYYYYYYY!!!!” Would have been the most classic moment of crowd chants since the Thank You chants at Alpine.

Dave came back out and advised us all to take our vitamins. He then played Sister. Though I wish I could hear another solo you can always tell how much the song means to Dave personally. I enjoyed it for the twentieth time.

Stefan started his Watchtower solo which included Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1. Now for a shout out to the guys in front of me. The ones with the Halloween sign. During Stefan’s solo Dave came out saw the sign, read it and laughed. The guys were upset because All Along The Watchtower, when played, is usually the last song of the set.  They looked at me and were like “@#%* I really wanted to hear that.” I said “Guys….you just got your song.”

Dave walked up to Carter and started talking. They replied with “What? No way.” I looked in in the face and said “GUYS! YOU JUST GOT HALLOWEEN” They turned around and looked at Dave and Carter talking. The guy screamed at Carter “DID WE GET IT!?!?” Carter looked at all of us smiled and gave the thumbs up. We knew it was coming and no one else had a clue. Some could suspect it, but we had the knowledge.

Dave went up to the members and whispered in their ears during Stefans’ solo. They began Watchtower and then at the end Dave turns around and mouths the beautiful word to Stefan. “Halloween.” See our reaction here:

(This is Chris bouncing in front of the camera with the shades. Listen to his words after Watchtower “I think he said Halloween” )

This venue EXPLODED. FREAKIN ERUPTED. This was Chris’ first time hearing it thus completing Before These Crowded Streets for him as well. Not a soul in this venue wasn’t bouncing there legs to caput.  I don’t think I’d ever sung a song louder in my life. My voice was squeeking all over the place. Yes that’s me at 4:30 screaming obscenities. (Sorry Jesus). At this point I had NO voice. We thought West Palm Beach could never be topped, We were DEAD wrong. This was the best show we’d ever witnessed and I’d say the best of 2010.

The show ended with Halloween. There was only one thing I wanted. I wanted that freakin setlist. The setlist that said SPOON. The setlist to the best show I had ever been too. Carter came out to toss his drumsticks I screamed and hollered and he tossed one right into my dancing little hands. Will also got a drumstick only he had to shove an older lady to get it. hahaha. The story goes it landed on the ground and they both went for it so he shoved her outta they way and snagged it. Good times. I also got one of Dave’s guitar picks. I had the loot of loots. However the thing I wanted most was a setlist. I begged and begged every crew member but they had given them all away. I saw a kid and told him I’d give him both the drumstick and the pick for the piece of paper. He said not a chance and went on his way. A guy offered me twenty bucks for the drumstick I said NOT A CHANCE and went on my way.

Outside people were already standing in line for pit Night 2. I saw that our friend from before the show Justin and his girlfriend were leaving and I saw that HE had a setlist. Needless to say I was a pest to society. I begged him. Nearly followed him. I offered the pick and the drumstick, the good hearted man felt horrible. I made him feel like dirt. His girlfriend (oh women making us do things we don’t want to) said Ohhh give it to him. They both were members of the facebook event I created and new how badly I was trying for that song. He said he wanted to make some copies and we could make the trade the next day. He showed me the ripps on the setlist so that I knew he wasn’t going to “rip me off”.  We exchanged numbers and left one of the greatest nights of our lives.

Upon approaching the car Will decided he would share with us some knowledge. He decided he would hold onto it until the appropriate moment.

“So uh guys, I kinda sorta locked the keys in the trunk of the car.” HAHAHA great. We got to the car and realized that our other friend Brooke (who parked right in front of us) has also done the same thing. We were all on too much of a Dave high to truly get upset but it was freezing and the situation did suck.  We called AAA and had them come out. He tried several times and we were able to get into the car BUT all we had happen was our alarms went off waking up the entire hotel parking lot we were in. We were able to get into the car but the trunk had gone into safety mode. Meaning it wasn’t gonna open for any shimmy. We were going to have to call a locksmith.

We got Brooke into her car and she was able to leave. Jason fortunately had driven his own car to the venue so we had a way back to our cabin. We decided we would wait till morning to call the locksmith and just use Jason’s car to get around town. We all hopped in Jason’s car drove back the 15 minutes to the campgrounds and the…..eff.

“Guy’s….the key to the cabin is in the trunk.” We were screwed. It was now about 2am and we had no place to stay. I tweeted Stefan saying “hey are the busses open?” hahaha. We went back to the car to call the locksmith. They told us the guy couldn’t be out till 9am the next morning. We were screwed. We decided we would go back to the campground and see if we could break into the cabin.

We arrived at the cabin to a locked door. It was dead bolted so we were not getting in that way. We checked the side windows they were all locked. We went around back and about eight feet off the ground there was the bathroom window. Tiny. Tiny bathroom window. It was unlocked. Chris and Will holsted me up. They made it so I walked sideways up the wall. I stuck my feet in through the window hanging nearly upside down and then they shoved me with all their strength up high enough to slide in. To much pleasure:

WE GOT IN!!!! Had to use the toilet as a step hahahaha. I look like I had just broken into somewhere. We all got our rest and woke up for The Last exciting day of our trip.

THE FINAL CONCERT.

First thing’s first we had to go take care of the car. We arrived in front of the JPJ where we met up with the locksmith. He simply put had to do nothing. He found a way in through the back seat. We tried that approach about twenty times with no luck. He did it in like ten seconds. We got the keys and realized that our parking pass didn’t specify a date so we just left it there and got free parking again for night 2.

We then met up with Justin and we made the trade for the setlist. Dave’s pick for the setlist. I could  tell it hurt him to give it away but I must tell him now that it is my most prized possession. (Just look at those crying happy blue eyes.)

Since we didn’t have pit for night 2 we all took the day to explore the history of DMB in Charlottesville. We hopped into Jason’s car and drove to a place that I will never forget. An experience that will never be compared. One of the most surreal moments of my life.

We arrived to an empty cemetery just on the outskirts of Charlottesville. It was  a quiet place on a hill looking out at the mountains of Virginia. We arrived to the resting place of LeRoi Moore.

The unmarked grave was covered in may flowers and tokens from DMB fans. A firedancer and some cd’s placed on the top of the grave. At the bottom sat a LoVE pin. We were speechless. We quickly realized how improper it was of us to not have brought flowers so we went across the street to the grocery store and each bought some. We returned and placed our flowers on the grave. Chris then put his droid on top and had #34 playing through the speakers. We just sat there in the moment. All of a sudden cars began to come in by the loads. Before the end of the song there was over 15 people there just…in the moment. Speechless. We made friends with a guy from New York who arrived playing #34 through his car. Chris, Will and I just sat there. Thinking. Remembering the great tunes Roi left us with. The music that provided an escape from bad days. We remembered the GrooGrux King.

We had a hard time leaving that gravesite. We took a lot of the experience with us. We headed back to the downtown mall where we decided we would be able to get a good view of all the shops that were closed the first time. We parked in that same garage and then noticed something we could not of seen at night. The pink warehouse. Better known as THE Warehouse. We went and got a picture in front of the building.

We got to walking around town. Saw a lot of familiar faces this day. We went into Urban Outfitters because Jason needed some plaid. We just couldn’t have him walking around without plaid. We went inside and to Will and I’s much joy found several things that had we had the money would have spent every penny on. Here are the items:

Had those hats not been $30 we would have bought them in a heartbeat.

We decided that after the show we all wanted to celebrate by smoking some nice cigars. We went in search for a cigar shop. We found a map of the area…and this:

We located the cigar shop, it was right by Millers (who’s line was RIDICULOUSLY long. So glad we went there before the crowds). We walked up to the cigar shop with our plaid and mustaches. (we bought Chris a fake one at Urban Outfitters…not sure If we got  a photo 😦 ) As we walked inside this big ole dude in a New York Jets shirt was walking out with his buds. He stop’s and asks “So I gotta know guys….What’s with the plaid?” We looked in awe and replied “Oh It’s just something we’re doing for the shows.” He laughed and said “Well alright guys. Keep it up, hope you enjoy yourselves.” We walk inside the shop and all look at each other. Chris looks me in the face and says “Was that Daryl!?” I looked at him and said….”Yes, yes it was.” Daryl is the head of security for the band. If you have ever seen the Gorge dvd he’s the big friendly dude who’s always dancing to the side of the stage. He recognized our plaid….shweet.

We all bought our cigars for the night. Will and I bought Acid’s…why would I ever smoke something called Acid…idk but it was good. We walked outside and then noticed that Daryl was with his entourage smoking cigars having good laughs. Chris goes “We gotta get a photo.” I go “We gotta get a photo with our cigars.” So Chris, Will and I approach Daryl and ask for a photo. He was more than happy to oblige.

Can you say “Greatest photo ever taken”? We can. hahaha We are dang proud of that photo.

Lunch time came and we ate a local place a friend from Tally recommended called The White Spot. “The Best Burger on Earth” say some. They put a fried egg on top of the patty. It was delicious but not the best. The owner was a little creepy. He’s a strange looking dude with photos of him and THE MOST beautiful women all over his wall. I feel like if an attractive girl walks in he’s like “Excuse me miss….will you be on my wall with me?” No joke the wallpaper was photos of him with hundreds of models. We left the white spot and drove to the venue.

It felt like homecoming for Dave (it was). Everywhere we looked there were firedancer bumper stickers or DMB t-shirts. It was the Super Bowl for Dave fans and we had overtaken the town. We arrived at the venue around 2 where we met up with all our friends from the previous night. We went to check out the merchandise tent which already had a line two miles long. The hot item of the day was the final shows Poster:

The limited edition design was one of the best I’ve ever seen. We all knew that if you got your hands on one, you could sell it for a junk load of money. The poster was $40. There were only around 600+ of them and the line alone had about 400+ people. This was before people even got inside. The tent went up and the posters were gone in two minutes. People were upset but not too much because they only put 200 outside. there were still over 400 inside. We got in line for our seats because there was nothing better to do.

I hid my camera in my undies again and we proceeded to trade stories with all the folks in line. This line really irritated me. The pit line was full of people who knew their stuff. These were the guys that were saying “Oh I hope they play Sister or Cornbread!” It was like being demoted from first class to the tail section.

Jason A.K.A. Copperpot met up with us before the doors opened and gave us a bunch of DVD’s. Freakin nice guy. The Security came out told everyone the same ole same ole. “If we find your camera we will make you throw it away.” They had some intimidating guards. But the one in our line was a hometown Dave fan. Really cool guy he was the head of security and we struck up conversation with him the night before at the front of the stage. (He met up with us inside before the show and had some good convo with us. Such a nice dude.)

A guy who was in pit offered me money to run in and get him a poster so he could go straight to his seat. The gates opened and I ran straight inside to the merchandise booth. I got a poster in no time. Chris and Will however…did not. Will really really really wanted a poster so I sold him the one I got and gave the guy his money back. If he reads this sorry dude gotta look after my own! Inside the venue someone offered Will $200 for the thing. Yea….they were selling for more than that. Ridiculous.

Since we had no reason to rush to our seats we decided to hang out by the doors. They had these Britta stations set up where you could answer three questions and get three ping pong balls to shoot and try and win a DMB nalgene bottle in a game of pong. There was an incredibly attractive very flirty girl who gave me all the answers so I got three shots hahaha. I sunk the second shot! So I got me some free water for the rest of the night! Chris and Will both failed. 😉

We heard word that Trombone Shorty was doing a signing right by the merchandise so we got in line for that. We were the first ones. Their show started and we could hear it all perfectly fine from outside the seats. We were upset however to find out that Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross came out on stage. Their set ended and then the line filled up. Trombone Shorty and the band came up and got ready for the signings. He looked up and us and just started laughing. He looks at us, laughs and goes “YOU guys.” hahahahah We got him to sign our love shirts. Talked a little then moved on to our seats.

Our seats were on the very front row of seats maybe sixteen rows from the stage. Excellent seats. The time had now come for the final show of the 2010 tour. The volume of the crowd doubling the night before’s. People were so ready for this. This would be the show to talk about. Or so we hoped.

The show started off a little rocky. They opened with You Might Die Trying a song we had all heard at least 7 times live. Not quite the BANG for our buck we were expecting but we accepted it. They then went on to play Proudest Monkey>>>Satellite. I enjoy these two very very much BUT we had heard them not three nights prior.  Next came Say Goodbye! Such an appropriate song for the night. The crowd was way into it! Everyone was waving goodbye to the band hahaha.

I have to stop right here and make a whining complaint. The people around me at this show SUCKED. There was a married couple that was just holding each other all night and the guy in the seat next to me stood like a brick wall ALL NIGHT like he just found out his whole family had been killed in a plane crash. (if that was the case sorry!) But this dude was just an uber buzzkill. The only redeeming thing was this awesome Brittish guy who had brought all his kids to the show. Cool dude that one. Moving on!

Funny was played then Joe Lawlor came back out for Rhyme & Reason. Chris and I saw him guest on this in Alpharetta so we enjoyed it but we were still wanting that rarity. The Shock that we were all expecting. Chris and I have made this mistake TWICE now. Complaining about the placement of certain songs just to get SHOTGUNNED later on. 13shows and they’ve never failed me :). HOWEVER this set was looking kinda meh…

Eh Hee followed then the always fantastic Crush however the brick wall sitting next to me was bugging me so much that we decided to go find seats where people actually enjoyed the music. It’s hard to go from the squeezed tight bouncing pit to dude….either enjoy it or leave cause there are people that would kill to be here. I didn’t say that but I and the guy on the other side were definitely thinking it. We failed at finding other seats so we went back. There was a part during the show where everyone was clapping. I and the guy on the other side made a valiant effort to clap as loudly as possible, as close to his head as possible. Yep we were those guys. (To back this up this guy SAT during Two Step. SERIOUSLY!? I didn’t even know that was possible.)

After an amazing Crush came Can’t Stop. Though I’d never heard it before I was still wanting to hear that PUNCH. Next came….Cornbread. Who Am I kidding I can’t complain about this Cornbread. Trombone Shorty guested and it was freakin KILLER. So good. Next came Digging A Ditch. Then FINALLY….FINALLLY the show bounced back with THE BEST version of Lying In The Hands of God they’ve ever performed. I believe it was the longest as well. This sucker went on for almost 18 minutes.  It made your heart pound. It was SUCH a fantastic performance.

Then the band decided to go nuts. Dave walked up to the mic and said the words I’ve been waiting for years to hear. “I got a sister named Jane…and this is The Song That Jane Likes”.

He kinda flubbed it at the beginning there but it’s moments like that that get the crowd really going. With this I completed the album Remember Two Things. On this trip I completed Three Albums.

Next we saw him bring out the guitar he uses for Sister and Stay or Leave. Those songs are fine but didn’t belong here in the set. We were a little worried. Then he said “I think this song is out there somewhere…you can find it on the Extra Extra” Huh? What could this be? We finally got to hear Write A Song.

Up next…well lemme just show you guys this one.

.

Every time he sang GrooGrux King the building shook with applause. One of the highlights of the night for me.

Next came a POWERFUL Dancing Nancies into….what…..WHAT!? WHAAAAAAAAT!?

Long Black Veil….there’s your shock factor.  That came outta nowhere. This was the show we were waiting for. I got several text cussing me out hahahaha.

Next came the new What You Are intro>>What You Are>>Two Step. My voice was so gone so when I screamed “I WANNNA BA-LEEEEVE IN JESSSUUUUUUUUUUZ!!!!” I’m pretty sure that noise wasn’t projecting from my mouth. That Two Step as  always was phenomenal. We danced our crazy boots off. I made sure to two step my little feet on Mr. Sittin’ sit. They played the crazy outta that song. and then left the stage. Wow. The Event of a lifetime was coming to an end. The cheers from the crowd were louder than anything the band had played that night.  When Dave came back on stage for the solo you could barely make out what he was  saying. But we did and it was some strong words of encouragement to all us traveling Dave fans 🙂

He sang Some Devil while looking up at his Mother and Wife. It was a nice little moment. First time ever hearing this beauty. great moment. Next came Granny. DANGIT WHY DIDN’T WE BUY THE BABIES!!!! Looking back it would have been really awkward trying to explain to security why I was bringing a baby inside the venue. The crowd sang the crap out of that song. I say it’s LO-HUV!!!!! BAYBEEE!!!! It was so exciting! We were approaching the end.

Walking into this trip there was one Encore we were all hoping for. The Last Stop closing the main encore and then the band coming back out for a double encore and play Ants Marching. Everyone in this venue wanted that.

After Granny we heard something we were not even close to expecting.

#40 was teased like no tomorrow. It was almost insulting. He did it just to mess with us. This is a song they play when they love the crowd. Everyone is expecting it’s full return. He played the first few lines. Then turned around and laughed hysterically with Carter as the entire venue either screamed “AWWWWW” or “BOOOOOOOO”. It was funny but mean. They then busted right into The Last Stop. Perfect ending to a Perfect week.

It was the most excellent Last Stop. The reprise came and it just struck home.

“So goodbye” The whole venue knew what that meant. “So goooooodbyeeeee” Then the whole crowd clapped all the way to the end. Dave even clapped along. It was a beautiful moment. He then came up to the mic and sang a verse from “Three Little Birds” and wrapped up the night with “Everything’s gonna be alright”. Wow. Just Wow. Dave said his goodbyes. And we all were simply NOT ready to go home. Boyd and Tim left the stage. This couldn’t be it. We wanted more. And we chanted for it.

“ONE MORE SONG!

ONE MORE SONG!

ONE MORE SONG!

ONE MORE SONG!”

Carter tapped on his cymbals. The crowd went WILD.

I could tell you what was happening with us in this moment. But I’d rather show you:

Boyd and Tim came back out on stage. And Dave began to discuss what to play with the band. We knew it was coming. We knew ANTS was coming.

DUNNNN NUUUUUUN NAHHHHHHH DUNNNN NUNNNN NAHHHHHHH!

Too MUCH! Wait no! It’s a tease WAIT NO!!!! WHAT! WHAT! YEAHHHHHHH! If you can’t tell that might have been the most excited I’ve ever been in my life. I screamed my poor little hoarse voice to bits. Anyone Seen The Bridge!!!!!! It was happening before we even could figure it out. The first Anyone Seen The Bridge in over a year. It was so amazing. Tears were in our eyes. We were crying the happy away. This was too good to be true. And then the build up. Here it comes.

CLANK CLANK CLANK CLANK YEAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

ANTS. Not to become redundant but it was an amazing moment. We danced our @$$es off. If you couldn’t tell in the video. We were witnessing the greatest encore in the history of the band. And perhaps the longest show they’d ever performed. The sucker went on for 3hours and 45 minutes. This encore blew the whole show outta the water. Boyd killed his solos. Then the final moment came. The whole crowd came in to sing this one last line. Our last for a year. With tears in our eyes and hugs all around.

“Lights down you up and dieeeee yeahhhhhhh”

The end had come. We stayed a good 40 minutes after the band left. Carter must have thrown away every drumstick he had to offer. We picked up our tired feet and raspy voices and began the long sad exit of the John Paul Jones Arena.

We said our goodbyes to the friends we had met. We exchanged hugs. We talked about the disbelief of what we had just seen. The line for Cville 2011 had already begun. Upon leaving we ran into two guys in PLAID AND MUSTACHES!!!! YES! Made the departure that much more exciting. We then met up with a group of friends in the parking lot for one last fair well.

We met some great people on this trip. We gave our last hugs then headed back to the downtown mall. We lit up our cigars and remembered the week we had experienced. We went through the memories we made that we would never forget.

We ended our trip walking the street where it all began.

“The future is no place to place your better days.”-Dave Matthews

I leave you with this. The journey home. Our voices were so shot that we wondered what I would sound like if we tried to sing along to Crush.

*****The Charlottesville shows were released as Live Trax 28. You may purchase 11/19/10 here:
http://davematthewsband.shop.musictoday.com/Dept.aspx?cp=1_64098

 

 

After the album arrived I noticed that I made the inside cover of the album and that my friends and I were featured numerous times on the DVD. All of which took me back to the three years prior where I experienced still to this day, the best week of my life.

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