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Dave Matthews Band
THE CENTRAL PARK CONCERT
(RCA)
Stars graphics

The Dave Matthews Band concert in Central Park a few months ago drew 100,000 people, and that made it one of the yearís biggest rock events. This two-disc set leaves little of the performance to the imagination: most of the action is on stage, but thereís also plenty of audience footage, and (best of all) a wealth of skyline-enhanced overhead shots. And as famous as the band are for putting music ahead of image, they sure know how to create a spectacle: the light show is stunning, and there are video screens throughout the crowd to go along with the giant one behind the band.

The Central Park Concert is DMBís third full-length concert DVD, and itís also a no-frills affair: the only extra is a short behind-the-scenes documentary thatís far from essential. But the band rise to the historic occasion with a three-hour set thatís full of both passion and surprises. The gigís special treat comes halfway through, when Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers Band shows up to lend a hand on vocals and guitar. He and Matthews duet on Neil Youngís "Cortez the Killer"; then, on "Jimi Thing," Haynes plays a screaming blues-rock guitar lead that segues into Buffalo Springfieldís "For What Itís Worth."

DMB arenít stingy with the hits, like the slow-burning "Crush" and the aggressive "Ants Marching," and Matthews and drummer/back-up singer Carter Beauford spread the good vibes by smiling their way through the entire show. As usual, several songs eclipse the 10-minute mark, including the bandís signature cover of Bob Dylanís "All Along the Watchtower," which showcases violinist Boyd Tinsley and bassist Stefan Lessard. This is a classy memento of a gig that rock fans will be talking about for years ó with good reason.

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: January 16 - 22, 2004
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