Summertime means three things: Hot weather, complaining about the aforementioned and Dave Matthews hitting the road in his perennial gig as King of the Outdoor Amphitheater Tour. This summer, the full band is taking a break, and he’s on an acoustic zigzag across the country with longtime collaborator and guitar virtuoso Tim Reynolds.
At his recent show on May 31 in Alpharetta, Georgia, Matthews offered a poignant tribute in his set to honor friend Gregg Allman, who passed away on May 27. Opting to perform “Melissa,” a classic Allman Brothers Band song first released in 1972 on the album “Eat a Peach,” the lyrically evocative song was a fitting tribute for Allman.
“Gypsy flies from coast to coast, knowing many, loving none,” Matthews croons as the song slowly crescendos. “Bearing sorrow, having fun. But, back home he’ll always run, to sweet Melissa,” he continues, no doubt thinking about his beloved pal and musical colleague.
Tinged with notes of sadness, though an underlying sense of hope pervades the song, Matthews lent the song his signature gravel, along with a beautiful flurry of Reynolds’ ethereal guitar licks. Dave Matthews Band had previously covered the song with Allman guesting, perhaps most notably at their Madison Square Garden 2009 tour opener.
“As a musician and songwriter, Gregg left us with music that will live forever. He is an important part of the American songbook. He was kind and funny, and I miss him,” Matthews said in a statement on the band’s website.
Last night, Matthews played in Jones Beach, New York. Tonight, he plays in Holmdel, New Jersey, before heading to Chicago for two shows this weekend. Raise a glass of Matthews’ Dreaming Tree’s crisp sauvignon blanc and toast the musical legend as you watch.