The Riff

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I’ve been a big time Dave Matthews  fan since I was a little kid, loving all of his albums from 1994’s Under the Table and Dreaming, Crash, Before These Crowded Streets, Everyday, all the way to 2002’s Busted Stuff.  Then when I was in high school, everyone my age seemed to suddenly be super into him, attending concerts on a regular basis (which I guess, looking back, was also an excellent excuse to get really stoned – because, let’s face it, getting high is one of the crucial ingredients in a Dave concert.) Not that I was by any means opposed to his rising popularity among my peers, even though he had been so seemingly exclusive to me for the entirety of my childhood, nor did I have any opposition to smoking weed, but I just never ended up going to any of his concerts. Something always conflicted, or I tried to get tickets too late, they were too expensive and I was a broke high school student, etc. Whatever the case may be, I never went. Then when I was in college at UMass Amherst, we found out that he was going to be performing on campus with Tim Reynolds. I remember running back from class to the dorms to order tickets. When I arrived at my friend Nicole’s computer, the tickets had only been on sale for 5 minutes. Why I was so surprised that they had already sold out at one of the hippiest of campuses in the United States was pure naivety, but I was disappointed none-the-less.

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Then, this past summer of 2012, I went on a complete and total concert rampage, and I made sure I got tickets to see them. I asked my sister Kierra if she’d like to join me. Kierra, like me, is a fan of all of his older stuff, but pretty unfamiliar with his past two albums. We went to the Nikon Theater at Jones Beach on that July evening. Not only was it a seemingly excruciating 58 degree summer night, but it was raining, it was windy, and the $120 tickets that we had purchased were still in the nose bleed section. He also played A LOT of his new stuff, except for his encore, where he played Ants Marching, So Much to Say, and Two Step (one of my favorites) which we agreed to listen to from the parking lot in an attempt to beat traffic. I’m making it sound like it was a miserable time — it wasn’t, and I had a lot of fun spending one-on-one time with my lovely, amazing sister… but the concert itself was not what I had expected. Then, about two months ago, my boyfriend and I hesitantly accepted an invitation to see them at the Izod Center in New Jersey with my dad and his woman friend Barbara, Barbara’s daughter and her daughter’s boyfriend.  I have to say, I am so happy I went.  It was an amazing concert, and I absolutely fell in love with every single song they performed from their most recent album, Away from the World, which was released this past September. The lighting/light shows throughout were spectacular, and the set list was flawless.

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I am also now completely hooked on this new album, considering it one of his best works. A masterpiece. My favorite song from the album is called “The Riff”. Check it out.

And a couple classics:

The Beginning

I was thirteen the first time I realized I was going to have a life-long love affair with music. It was the last period of my last day of 7th grade, and I was sitting in Mrs. Everson’s home room.  She had also been my science teacher, and her walls were covered in “Life Science” posters of animals and insects.  Microscopes lined the shelves, and she even had a life-size human skeleton in the Southeast corner of the room. We all had wondered at one point or another if it was a “real” skeleton. To this day, I still don’t know.

The reason I remember the lay out of this classroom better than all of the other classrooms from my grade school career is because this was the room that I watched the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music video for “Californication” for the very first time.  As we were all counting down the last minutes of the school year, about to embark on a summer vacation filled with pools, bike riding, and barbeques, I was suddenly taken back by this bass line/guitar “dance”, if you will.  I had always been into music, as I was fortunate to grow up listening to some of the all-time great musicians – Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Mark Knopfler, U2, R.E.M., The Rolling Stones, The Who, Paul Simon, Pink Floyd (the list goes on.) But there was something different about what I was hearing at that very moment. It was as if something clicked for me. I looked up at the very clunky, 90s-looking classroom television that was bolted to the ceiling in the Southwest corner of the room, and found myself completely captivated by this music video.  I mean, aside from the fact that the song was killer, the video looked like a video game – Are you kidding???

I stayed to finish watching it, even after the class had been dismissed.

This was one of the first great landmarks in my relationship with rock music.  That moment opened a floodgate that I know will never close.

Would I call myself a musician? Eh, maybe amateur at best.  I dabble at the guitar and I think my voice is pretty decent, although I’m not yet ballsy enough to seriously belt out a solid tune in public.  The only real training I have is just living my life and developing my ear by listening to music every opportunity I get.  I analyze, I interpret, but mostly I just love to listen. As John Frusciante, the now former lead guitarist and back up vocalist of the Chili Peppers once said, “We are all very lucky to live in a world where there is this much music.”  Couldn’t agree more, John.