BANGOR, Maine — The Dave Matthews Band, one of the most beloved and highest-grossing live acts of all time, played its first Maine concert in 17 years Friday night at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor. Not only was the concert sold out — it was super-duper sold out. The line to buy the last 100 tickets released just before the concert stretched from the box office out into the street.
For those who did snag tickets early on, though, the show in Maine was a long time coming.
“I’ve never actually seen them live, and I have loved them for a really long time,” said Gabi Pierce, a Hampden resident, as she waited in line to get into the venue. “Lots of memories. I’m really excited for this show.”
As part of the band’s “two set” concert tour, Dave and crew played a 45-minute acoustic set to start, with Matthews and his longtime guitar collaborator Tim Reynolds playing a few songs on just acoustic guitars, before being joined by drummer Carter Beauford, bassist Stefan Lessard, violinist Boyd Tinsley and horn players Jeff Coffin and Rashawn Ross. Early on the band dipped into some classics from the back catalog, including “Tripping Billies,” “Two Step,” “Recently” and “What Would You Say?”
Set two was a full-size electrified set, which got started just as the sun went down, and the band’s impressive light show and stage setup could be fully appreciated. Despite weather forecasts that called for major rainstorms, the skies cleared up around 3 p.m. and temperatures were warm and comfortable, with a pleasant breeze.
Rains throughout the week before left the lawn area at the back of the venue a bit on the muddy side, however, with a faint whiff of the unpleasant turf odor that plagued the venue last year.
Not that any of that mattered to most concertgoers. Maria Lally drove up from Boston to see the show — her 101st Dave Matthews concert. Or 102nd. Maybe 103rd. She’s started to lose count.
“Oh my God, I just can’t tell you what they’ve meant to me over the years. They just cause so many emotions in me. It really hits me right here,” said Lally, gesturing to her heart. “I got to meet Dave once and tell him that myself.”
Lally was hanging out before the show with a friend who she went to the concert with, as well as Chris Jones from Vancouver, British Columbia — Lally and Jones met while seeing Dave Matthews at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington, and have kept in touch since.
“I came all the way out here from British Columbia to see Dave,” said Jones. “That just shows you what kinds of fans he has. People come from all over the world to see him.”
Up next in the Machias Savings Bank Concert Series is country star Brad Paisley on June 15 and Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss & Union Station and Kacey Musgraves on June 19.