Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press
INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP — The Dave Matthews Band’s laid-back mood helped clear the stormy skies Tuesday night, July 9, at the DTE Energy Music Theater during its two-hour and 40-minute, 21-song set.
“It’s turning out to be a lovely evening, and I hope ya’ll are enjoying yourselves,” Matthews said halfway through the show, which was dominated by the jazzy, light-rock fusion and mix of fast and slow tempos that are the Virginia group’s trademark.
A large video screen at the back of the stage showed psychedelic images, audience shots and close-ups of band members while Matthews kept his between-song patter limited mostly to thank-yous.
“Crash into Me” and “Granny” were bolstered by flashy instrumental features, and while Matthews’ voice was quiet at times, the playing of his seven-member band carried the music and kept things lively. He was often joined center stage by Boyd Tinsley, who performed many smoothly executed violin solos, while trumpeter Rashawn Ross and saxophonist Jeff Coffin added tonal punch to the songs.
Matthews and company kept things unpredictable as well, covering songs such as Bob Marley’s “Stir it Up” and a dark and acoustic-leaning rendition of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” “Jimi Thing” unexpectedly transitioned into a cover of Prince’s “Sexy M.F.,” changing up the vibe once again and making the audience dance wildly.
The extended encore performances of “Drunken Soldier” and “Ants March,” meanwhile, made it clear that, in the end, what Matthews wanted most was to make sure his fans had a good time.