Monday, May 5, 2003

Dave and Tim tonight at UMass

More than six years ago I went to my first concert ever, the date was January 29, 1997 and the place was the Maine Center for the Arts at the University of Maine in Orono. A few days before the show, I went to the box office and asked the woman at the ticket window for one ticket to the Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds concert. She gave me the option of front row in the corner or a seat in the balcony. I had never attended a concert before and the only reason I decided to go was because I had the Crash album and occasionally listened to it in my dorm room. My inexperience at concert going left me struggling to decide on a seat, and I decided the front row would be better even if it was in the corner. Upon choosing the front row seat I set into motion a series of events which would forever change my life. I received my ticket and went back to my dorm for the time being, with little knowledge of the importance of the oversized ticket in my backpack.

On the night of the show I returned to the concert hall and entered using my recently purchased ticket. Since I was alone I walked around aimlessly checking out the sights and sounds of my first live music show. I do remember several kiosks in the lobby, one for Greenpeace with several people trying to get petitions filled out and another which sold merchandise. I decided to check out the merchandise table and see what they had to offer. I decided to buy the Recently album, but foolishly passed on purchasing a t-shirt, a decision which still stymies me to this day. It was now nearly a half an hour before the start of the show, so I thought I should get to my seat and consequently started a concert going tradition that annoys my friends even today. I presented my ticket to an usher and he asked me if I was by myself. I said yes and he told me my ticket was for an obstructed view seat. I was immediately disappointed and thought well this will be my first and last concert. However, after a little bit of thought the usher said he had another ticket for me and asked, "How does front row center sound?" It was quite possibly the best question I have been asked in my entire life. He didn't need an answer and I was on my way towards the stage with my new front row ticket in hand.

After passing through many levels of ushers I found my seat in the front row and with intense excitement sat down and took it all in. Of course since I was there so early I was one of only twenty people there, but I was ecstatic and couldn't help but turn around and see how fortunate I was to have these seats. As time passed more people found there way to their seats and finally the house lights went down and the music which was playing stopped. The crowd began cheering and once Dave appeared on stage the cheering erupted to a level of I had never heard before. I was within ten feet of Dave Matthews and was completely in a state of awe. While assuring his guitar was in tune he greeted the crowd, which once again erupted with applause. Once the crowd quieted down, tthe catchy guitar riff from Lie In Our Graves was strum and the night along with my obsession with the Dave Matthews Band officially began.

When I step into the light
My arms are open wide

-David John Matthews
Lyrics and audio of Lie In Our Graves

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