I’ll admit: I haven’t caught a Dave Matthews Band show since 2003 (although some would argue that was way past their heyday, anyway). I wouldn’t own their latest album if it wasn’t for a friend sending me the MP3s that he snagged gratis. When any of the band’s songs sneak onto my iPod’s playlist, I cringe a little and try to decide whether to skip them or endure them. Their familiar riffs and strums and hums and lyrics that I can recite in my sleep remind me of my crazed obsession with a band that embodied the very essence of mass appeal.
But at one defined moment in time, I truly, truly loved them.
I had never loved a band like I loved Dave Matthews Band, and I haven’t loved a band more than them since. I saw them perform religiously every summer from 1999 through 2003. I ordered every album via pre-sale. I belonged to the fan club. I participated wildly in the Usenet group, marking the first time that I’d ever met online people in an offline setting. I hung their posters upon my wall in college…and in law school. Most women buy clothes, shoes, or makeup with the little they have left over in student loan money. I bought Dave Matthews Band tickets. I drove all over the region where I lived in order to catch every single show they were playing in my area. I followed their tour bus all the way from San Diego to Los Angeles at 2:00 a.m. I waited in the freezing cold on numerous occasions just to get a glimpse of them at worst, and a picture or autograph at best (I never got either). I ruthlessly pushed my way to the front row at Madison Square Garden just so I could watch Dave’s fingers fly over the fret. Oh, and of course, I was most definitely on a first name basis with Dave Matthews. To me, he was the perfect man. Quirky, fascinating, well-traveled, intelligent, liberal, international – not to mention inexplicably handsome (in my eyes) – he could do no wrong by me.
I have been described as having admirable taste in music, “except for that neurotic stint with Dave Matthews Band.” I endure the ridicule of my hysteria to this very day. But I’m still not ashamed to admit that Dave Matthews Band, for a significant period in my young(er) adult life, was everything to me.
I might be over it now. I might have abandoned my blind adoration. I might have moved on to bigger and more indie things. But a little – yet significant – part of me died when I heard the news of founding member and saxophonist Leroi Moore’s untimely passing. For something that formed such a huge part of my more youthful, more carefree life and fueled my passion for music, my heart is a little bit broken today.
A little part of me is gone. Things will never be the same again. Rest in peace, Leroi.