Continued from part one of the Top 25 Greatest DMB Guest Appearances Part I: 25-17.
25. True Reflections - 12/31/93 (w/ Tri-Poetics)
24. Two Step - 7/12/00 (w/ Steve Wilson)
23. Blue Water - 10/31/92 (w/ Richard Harding)
22. Minarets - 11/14/94 (w/ Rusted Root)
21. Smooth Rider - 12/10/05 (w/ Robert Randolph)
20. Jimi Thing - 9/19/03 (w/ Mike Durham)
19. Typical Situation - 9/3/95 (w/ Dionne Farris)
18. Ants Marching - 6/12/97 (w/ Bela Fleck)
17. What Would You Say - 12/19/98 (w/ Maceo Parker)
With an acoustic, Warren steps up and rips some of the slickest licks Recently has ever been graced with. A strong performance followed by a jam with a veering arrangement lead by Warren. His additions were so strong they dictated where the jam would begin, how it would go, how long it would be and where it would end. Carter's strength grew month after month in the early days and in this performance with the jam being so flush with mixtures from Roi, Boyd and Warren, Carter was throwing in strong rolls and fills which gave the climax a screaming jump. Even Roi was copying Warren's arrangement in the jam. A fantastic performance, from beginning to end.
Somehow the Gorge '00 shows have faded from the memories of the community. We really need to revisit these amazing shows, and a perfect start would be to recognize one of the finest solos taken from a guest in '00. As it's fairly well known, Mitch Rutman was DMB's caterer for a few years and then left in '98. To mark his leaving, the band had him jam on stage. A few years later Mitch would reunite with DMB for one more performance. Mitch's contributions here are priceless. Rutman seems to have an advantage since he basicaly knows these songs cold from touring with the band for a few summers. He pust that knowledge to use here, weaving in and out of #41's soft arrangement. His playing during throghout is a perfect compliment and his solo is a matching emotion, one that speaks of desperation and beauty combined.
It seemed with every guest spot back in '93 it gave way to a breakdown in the song's arrangement and made a level playing field for anyone to do whatever they wanted. Ernesto didn't add a ton on percussion but he was still there adding a side to Carter. But it was Tim who lead this performance to victory. This is the closest DMB has ever come to having a Phish-esque type jam. Tim rips through this song with jazz, with rock, with funk, with blues, with a whole lot of what Tim does best. He took this Jimi Thing up 10 stories and then took it back down to the basement. He kept the arrangement flowing with no delay or hesitation and the band fed off that by bringing to life an arrangement that seemed never-ending, in a good way.
Every so often a guest comes along and lays the most gorgeous thing down to enhance a song, which makes Dave lose his place. He gets caught up in the moment finding himself to be a spectator rather than part of the show. Those are the moments that define a classic guest spot. Bela's additions are graceful and don't get in the way of anything or anyone. Paul's solo in the middle of this performance turned Crash Into Me from a sweet loving song into this heart pounding, alluring piece of music with no limits. This was just one of those moments where you automatically stop whatever you're doing and get lost in the music, much like what Dave experienced on this NYE.
One of the last chunks of amazing performances of this tune, this performance hosted the desperation this song was written from. Dozens of words could describe the sadness and the heart-ripping performance that Warren and Boyd laid down here, but to say too much would taint the intentions of the song and saying too little would cut the performance down and not do it justice. It's a no win situation when trying to describe this performance. You HAVE to hear it to believe it. It's just that dark, it's just that comforting, it's just that eerie...it's everything a perfect performance could be...and more.
There isn't much to say here since everyone has the DVD and WOTR. We all know the energy this performance held. We know the fullness and richness of what Rashawn, David, and Roi were doing with the horn section during the jam. We see and hear the levels that Bayou was taken to. We see the fire Dave and Carter were filled with when Randolph took 9,000 DMB fans and had them in awe of such energy. A great great guest spot which just happened to be caught in a format where we can enjoy it for years to come. Of course, this would happen again on 12/10/05 and it may have had higher level of intensity but there's something about the Red Rocks performance that just sets the standard.
In '95 DMB only played two HORDE shows, but they made the best of both of 'em. On this performance Popper ripped through with a wild crowd cheering for his presence. There are a few performances of WWYS that feature John Popper but this is the finest of them all. It's loud, it's funky, it's energetic, it's on point, it's fun. Popper takes what he did in the studio version, and rips it a new one here. "That's one of the greatest men on the planet, no question". Dave sometimes has a way of overstating things but his heart is honest and that single statement after this performance is proof enough of how much of an influence Popper was for this band and what he did to bring them to another level.
There's a small moment during the first little solo Krasno takes where you can hear Dave yell "SO BAD!". As slick as they come, Krasno fires his way through some hot licks and takes that jazzy funk element out of Jimi Thing and holds it up high. "Keep ya soulive, keep ya soulive, keep ya soul alive".
This is probably one of the fullest versions of Two Step you'll ever hear. Tim's progression for the first few minutes, combined with Bela plucking away, really beef up the sound of an already live monster. Cut to about 7:40 in. Bela and Tim begin thier duel. Tim's over barring sound really hurt a lot of performances during this tour, but it was times like the Two Step duel between he and Bela where Tim's loud, thrashing sound was welcome. It was a beautiful contrast of heavy and light, Tim's electric and Bela's banjo. The two go back and forth, trading rock and classical riffs, along with interchanging progressions until they come together playing fast and hard. Granted it was Tim that gave this Two Step a rocking feel, but Bela's banjo kept pace and added fuel to the fire of this performance.
Continue to the final article in the series, Top 25 Greatest DMB Guest Appearances, Part III 7-1.
Trusted Stuff is a regular column on Dave Matthews Band written by Brandon L. You can share your thoughts and questions about this piece in the comment thread below.