BANGOR, Maine — Though he knows there’s at least one person who came all the way from San Diego to attend Wednesday night’s Dave Matthews Band concert at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Kyle Handville of Tampa, Florida, is pretty sure he’s one of the fans that traveled the farthest from home to go to the concert.
He had been waiting — alongside other members of the DMB official fan club, The Warehouse — at the designated fan club area outside the Main Street gates to the venue, aiming to be the first ones inside when doors opened at 6 p.m. Fan club members that won an online lottery were allowed to enter the venue first, ahead of regular ticket holders.
“This is my first time in Bangor … first time in Maine, period,” said Handville, who said Wednesday’s concert was his 71st Dave Matthews show, and who last year followed the band for 35 out of 37 tour dates. “I went to the show last night in Holmdale, New Jersey, and drove straight through overnight to Bangor. Got here at 6:30 a.m. Been here since.”
Meanwhile, just a few hundred yards down Main Street, the Cross Insurance Center was ready to welcome rock icon Ringo Starr for a concert on the same night as Dave Matthews. It was the former Beatle’s first visit to the Queen City, and concert-goers were out and about in town. Restaurants and bars experienced brisk business in the hours leading up to the show, and nary a parking spot was to be found between West Market Square and Hollywood Casino.
Daniel Lewis, a Bangor resident, was enjoying a beer around 5:30 p.m. at Nocturnem Drafthaus in downtown Bangor before heading over to the Cross Center to buy a ticket at the door — at least, he hoped he’d be able to.
“Last time I checked it wasn’t quite sold out,” said Lewis, who listed the Journey and Pat Benatar concert in 2012 as his favorite Bangor concert so far. “I love Dave Matthews too, but I saw him last time he was here, so now I’m going to see Ringo.”
Josh Parda of Eddington was planning to go to the Ringo Starr concert as well, with his wife, Gretchen Heldmann.
“There must be something wrong with me, because Ringo’s body of work is my favorite post-Beatles career,” said Parda. “I love Ringo because he is who he is… there’s only two living Beatles left, so I mean, we had to go.”
Back at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, a group of New Brunswick Dave Matthews fans had set up camp chairs outside the Railroad Street entrance and were sharing a pizza.
“I’ve been coming to Maine since I was a child,” said Shelley Swift of Fredericton, New Brunswick, who was there for her 52nd “Dave” show, in attendance with her friend Caroline Lubbe-D’Arcy, also of Fredericton. Together they attended both the Dave Matthews Band and Arcade Fire concerts in Bangor in 2014.
“You know, back then Bangor was kind of a drive-through place. Now it’s not. There are so many great concerts and so many more things to do. Fredericton is only three hours away. And it’s a lot like here. We’re kind of sister cities,” continued Swift, who had been sitting outside the gates since 9:30 Wednesday morning.
Also from Fredericton was Kathy Elvin, who earlier this week won tickets to the Dave Matthews concert from a radio station in New Brunswick, scraped together the cash for gas and a motel, and beat feet to Bangor.
“The last time I was in Bangor was when I was a little kid and we went to see Stephen King’s house,” said Elvin. “When I won the tickets, they asked me what I’d do if I won the tickets, and I said I wouldn’t do anything right then because I’d be crying hysterically.”
Trent and Britany Tompkins, a married couple from the town of Easton in Aroostook County, are regular visitors to Bangor for shopping and for nightlife — and, as Britany said, to get a taste of “city life.”
“Before the concerts, we’d have [to] drive seven or more hours to go see anything or do anything like this,” she said. “Now we can come to Bangor and go back in the same night and not miss work and get to see bands like Dave Matthews. It’s been great for us up north. It’s amazing.”