By Rami Abou-Sabe
Last summer, Dave Matthews Band made their yearly stop at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. The June 10 show was heavy on unreleased tunes, giving fans a taste of new music rumored to be on the band’s next album.
Highlights of the night included an edgy version of the groups 1994 breakout single “What Would You Say,” and a rare midset performance of “Shake Me Like A Monkey” off 2009’s Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King. Always adept to meander, Matthews and co. treated fans to extended versions of “Crush” and “Jimi Thing,” totaling nearly thirty minutes of show time.
Despite playing some of the most complex patterns in the industry, Beauford demonstrates an incredible ability to settle into the pocket and lead the group of musicians. Arguably the greatest rock drummer of the last quarter-century, the Virginia native is pushing 60 and seemingly hasn’t lost a beat.
“What Would You Say” starts off with that classic Matthews riff. As the guitarist elicits his country roots with bends and slides, Beauford warms up with a stream of loose sixteenth notes on the hi-hat. Ever playful, the drummer blows a bubble to the camera as he settles into the groove. A driving force behind many of the harmonies on the band’s studio work, it’s incredible to watch the musician sing with such control live.
First released on Under The Table And Dreaming, “What Would You Say” would go on to become the biggest single off the band’s major label debut. Defining their mid-90s sound the song featured the frantic violin playing of Boyd Tinsley, LeRoi Moore‘s soulful saxophone, and Stefan Lessard‘s punchy bassline. Rounding out the group was Matthews’ longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds on guitar. The band currently tours with accomplished trumpet player and arranger Rashawn Ross, while Jeff Coffin has since stepped in for the late, great LeRoi Moore.
Grab a front row seat to Beauford playing “Shake Me Like A Monkey” at the same Mansfield show below.