September 14, 2021 | Concert Review by Christina Sanchez
It was supposed to be just another typical Friday night in Irvine, but the reality of it all proved to be anything but typical. Why, you ask? The iconic Dave Mathews Band rolled into town to play FivePoint Amphitheatre and that is a special thing for many fans, including me.
To understand why this was anything but a typical night, I need to go back 15 years. I was in the busy lobby of the Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. Across the room, I saw a familiar face and immediately smiled and waved thinking it was a good friend of mine. As the man walked across the room to me, I realized it wasn’t a friend, it was Dave Matthews. He said, “You have the most beautiful smile, I had to come say hello.” He didn’t have to do that, but he did and it made my day.
We chatted for a moment until he was bombarded by tipsy fans. Fast forward to now, and I found myself standing in front of him once again, only this time as a photographer for his band on a clear and crisp night in Irvine.
Before I say anything about the show, I want to give a shout out to the nicest, most hospitable fans I have ever met. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the photographers for the show could not use the standard photo pit and we had to shoot from the crowd in the pit area. The fans were so gracious and helpful in allowing us to get our shots, and they took such good care of each other. It was so beautiful to see so many of them already knew each other and had become a Dave Matthews family through going to so many shows together. It was such a pleasant experience.
The venue was very intimate for a Dave Matthews show, and there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. This show marks the return of Carter Beauford, and everyone was chanting, “Carter! Carter!” when he came out. At a previous show Matthews broke the news that Carter Beauford and Stefan Lessard had both contracted COVID despite being vaccinated. With both bandmates back on stage, it was a touching moment and you can see the love the band has for them, and how happy they are that they are both healthy.
The band played hits like “What Would You Say?” which caused everyone at FivePoint to sing along. Fans were dancing and having a good time. It was a very mellow show, but the energy from the band was volcanic. When Dave introduced the band midway through the show, Carter got an extra huge round of applause.
For a mellow crowd, they got loud and animated for songs like “Can’t Stop,” “The Girl is You,” “When the World Ends,” and “Walk Around the World.” They got especially amped for the covers (Huey Lewis, Prince and Peter Gabriel). During the encore it turns out the mellow crowd wasn’t so mellow after all. They gave the band a well deserved round of applause.
I would like to give a special shout out to the venue. I think it’s amazing that FivePoint offers free parking for its patrons, as that’s something very rare these days. People flew in from all over the country for this show and they marveled at how intimate it was. Members of the crowd in the front said they felt like they were getting a private show just for them. Before and after the show, there were lots of people hanging out in the parking drinking, socializing, and having a great time.
It was also nice to see security checking all the vaccination cards and tests, keeping people safe with constant patrols throughout the parking lot and venue. It was a perfect night for music at FivePoint Amphitheatre with the Dave Matthews Band.