February 19, 2009 8:49 AM
Dave Matthews Band - coming to Denver or not?
If you've been keeping up with the News' reporting on the Dave Matthews Band, you won't find anything new here. But with the release of the band's tour schedule for the summer comes a number of panicked emails, so let's recap.
First off, as fan John Diak points out, this has become the DMB norm of late -- the initial press release with dates doesn't include Denver dates, which are later added.
Second, forget Red Rocks for 2009 -- the DMB is not playing there, period (though, as we've also reported, we'll have four nights of Phish there to be announced soon).
The DMB is holding at least one and possibly two Pepsi Center dates for September, but those dates are still in limbo. The reason: Dave played two of his most successful dates here last year, headlining the Mile High Music Festival (which is available on DVD) and headlining Red Rocks for the Democratic National Convention. The worry is overplaying the Denver market.
Even before the economy tanked, Matthews had concerns. Last June, just before the Mile High appearance, he'd noticed a dropoff in the concert business.
"The economy isn't looking as bad as it did for a while but people aren't necessarily rushing out to see live music the way they had maybe 10 years ago. We're seeing a little bit of slow in some of the markets," he told me at the time. "I'm sure it's combination of us having old asses and the market moving slower. It was still surprising for us. Sales this year have been really good, but overall there's a slack in a lot of the live music, a lot of tours."
So like many bands in these uncertain economic times, DMB is moving cautiously. Based on the emails the demand is still there, and based on my industry sources the enthusiasm is still there, so I think it's likely September will come through. But like everything in this economy, there are no sure things.
Addendum: Wishing I could find the live version of Bartender from the DNC concert last August at Red Rocks, but I can't. Here's the version from Folsom Field a few years ago. What I love about this is Bartender was unreleased at the time, but the Lillywhite Sessions bootleg had leaked -- so the whole crowd screams in instant recognition. That's how strong the fanbase is here in Colorado.