In a nod both to the Seattle-area location and the passing of a rock legend, Dave Matthews Band covered songs by Jimmy Buffett and Pearl Jam last night (Sept. 2) during its show at the Gorge Amphitheatre 150 miles east of the Queen City. The group opened the concert with “A Pirate Looks at 40” by Buffett, who died the previous day, and Matthews also played “Just Breathe” by Seattle native sons Pearl Jam solo acoustic during the encore.
Both were live debuts by DMB, although Matthews and longtime collaborator Tim Reynolds performed “A Pirate Looks at 40” with Buffett himself on May 5, 2017, at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and also in April 2008 with Jack Johnson at the latter’s Kokua Festival. Earlier in the day, Matthews shared a remembrance of Buffett on DMB’s website, calling him a “brilliant and a genuinely good and generous man. We didn’t know each other that well. We weren’t old friends, but that’s how I felt around him. He is loved by so many because that’s how he made us all feel. It would be nice to run into him again.”
Before “Just Breathe,” Matthews apologized to the crowd for the heavy nature of the evening’s performance, which followed not only Buffett’s passing but the Aug. 28 death of Trey Anastasio Band saxophonist James Casey, who also recorded with DMB. “I suppose for a lot of us, it’s been a funny week,” he admitted. “A lot of my good friends have breathed their last, so I hope tonight wasn’t too much blue.” As for “Just Breathe,” Matthews said, “I’ve never played this, but I heard it today and I thought it was a pretty song.” Like the members of Pearl Jam, Matthews is a longtime Seattle resident.
DMB’s summer tour concludes tonight at the Gorge, but the group will return to the road for a fall leg starting Nov. 7 in Savannah, Ga.