Dave Matthews Band, Lumineers bring festival vibe to Baltimore

The Dave Matthews Band continued their winter tour in Baltimore Tuesday night with a rousing performance that energized the nearly sold out 1st Mariner Arena.

Wesley Schultz
The Lumineers lead singer Wesley Schultz

The band has been hitting the road in support of their latest CD, Away from the World, which was released in September.  Joining them were fast-rising Denver trio The Lumineers, which recently performed on Late Night with  David Letterman.

Having just received two Grammy nominations for “Best New Artist” and “Best Americana Album” for their self-titled debut album, which went Gold in December, The Lumineers are slated to have a wonderful 2013, and their performance Tuesday night proved why.

Opening with their track “Charlie Boy”, the band created an intimate, spontaneous atmosphere in the large area almost immediately.  The Lumineers really have a lot of fun on stage.  The kind of fun that makes an entire arena feel like a pub, where you can sing, yell and dance.

Dave Matthews Band
DMB rocks the 1st Mariner Arena.

Once The Dave Matthews Band took to the stage, the crowd had packed the arena, and they were ready for the show. Fans erupted once Dave Matthews took the stage, and did so again when the rest of the band joined him onstage.

When it comes to the large scale, festival for arena shows, Dave Matthews Bands are professionals.  The band sold more tickets than any act in North America from 2000 to 2010. Known for its summer tours, the Charlottesville band,which formed in 1991, will continue its East Coast tour in Manchester,  New Hampshire on Dec. 19.

Matthews is perhaps best known for his  political theme-based songs ranging from calls to end racism to anti-war songs.  The South African-American musician didn’t disappoint and fans appreciated his efforts Tuesday evening. The atmosphere was what would expect in Charm City – the city of festivals. Matthews, who began his professional careers as a stage actor, and later appeared in movies such  You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, playing a racist redneck character – contrary to his own values. He has been outspoken on several political issues, including supporter of gay rights, environmental initiatives, and the fight against global climate change as well as a huge President Obama and John Kerry supporter.  He performed on the Vote for Change tour and has been active on college campuses to support get out the vote rallies.

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Boyd Tinsley of Dave Matthews Band on violin

As much energy, Matthews puts in as a political activist, the stage allows him to connect directly with his fans in festival-like atmosphere where he can deliver his songs,  and message to a fan-base that can’t get enough of his music and lyrics.

In fact,  they probably could package up the festival experience to sell in stores.  Starting the set with “Seek Up”, filled with multiple horn solos, was exactly how a DMB show should start.

The band carried the crowd through their huge, 19-song set, and everyone was more than happy to go along for the ride.  After playing many of their new tracks, Dave Matthews slowed things down, playing a short improv piece on the piano.

Seamlessly, the band moved back into their set.  With just the opening chord of

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Dave Matthews singing his heart out.

“Everyday”, the  audience picked up vocal duties, singing the first in last verse with no assistance from Dave Matthews.

Dave Matthews have perfected the art of playing these larger-than-life sets.  Their comfort on stage, even during the long, multiple interment jams, made theshow easy to enjoy. And from the look of so many happy fans, they drank up every  drop of music. If the fans had their choice, they would order another round.

For more events at 1st Mariner Arena check out their events page here.

*Photos by Erik Hoffman