Dave Matthews Band Turns 26: Shares Audio From First Show

By Rami Abou-Sabe

Dave Matthews Band celebrated a big milestone this week. March 14th marked the 26th anniversary of the band’s first performance.

Bassist Stefan Lessard uncovered a cassette recording of the show, featuring one of the group’s early staples, “Recently.” The March ’91 concert was a benefit for the Middle East Children’s Alliance at Trax, the Charlottesville nightclub where the band first developed a following.

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Lessard discovered the recording a few years ago. Until then, fans celebrated the band’s April appearance at the Charlottesville Earth Day Festival as the inaugural performance. The band’s first official gig took place May 11, 1991 on the rooftop of a pink warehouse on South Street in downtown C-Ville. That very same pink warehouse, where Dave Matthews once lived, served as the inspiration behind concert staple, “Warehouse.”

The group, consisting of Matthews, Lessard, drummer Carter Beauford, and the late saxophonist LeRoi Moore, knocked out a run of hits that would still please demanding fans today. In addition to “Recently,” the newly formed band played early renditions of “Typical Situation,” “The Best Of What’s Around,” “I’ll Back You Up,” “The Song That Jane Likes,” “Warehouse” and “Cry Freedom.”

Notably absent from the performance is violinist Boyd Tinsley, who would make a guest appearance at the group’s Earth Day show in April before becoming an official member later that year.

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