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MATTHEWS, BIG HEAD KEEP CROWD DANCING

SHARE MATTHEWS, BIG HEAD KEEP CROWD DANCING

With Big Head Todd and The Dave Matthews Band co-headlining the show, Saltair could barely accommodate the 3,000 plus fans who turned out to dance along to the music. Considering the long drive to the building and the possibility of better ticket sales at a Salt Lake City location, concert promoters may want search for some other places to host concerts.

First up was Boxing Gandhis, a seven-member outfit that has a single release to its credit. The Gandhis performed a pleasant mix of funky-soul rock peppered with bluesy organ and horn lines. This talented band perfectly complements Matthews, who was the first portion of the twin bill. They are a group on the rise, not to be overlooked.Make no mistake, The Dave Matthews Band isn't Dave Matthews and his sidekicks but a band that happens to have Matthews in it. He serves as singer and guitarist and has a lot to do with the overall performance, but he knows his place and never eclipses any of his bandmates' performances or passion.

LeRoi Moore had plenty to say with his saxophone and Matthews let him say it. He used all of the instrument's range and emotion, sometimes playing smooth and sad passages and sometimes belting out screaming solos that threatened to make the horn bleed.

Bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford did a solid job of laying the musical foundation for their bandmates but also dazzled audiences when they had their chance.

Violinist Boyd Tinsley may have been the highlight. Few violins find their way into rock concerts and the novelty of it and Tinsley's skill wowed the audience. His fingers danced across the fretless neck while his bow seemed it would saw the strings in half. The audience loved being taken from jazz to classical to music fit for a hoe-down and they screamed their appreciation.

"What You Say," the quintet's popular radio song, may have attracted many of its fans but Monday's audience was there to enjoy a whole performance, not just a single song.

More than singing, this was a concert for dancing. At many shows audience interaction only goes a few rows deep, but this crowd was involved from the front row to the back. While the front was a little more intense with their mild moshing, the back stayed involved through out. The upstairs portion was the only part that seemed to be passively watching.

Matthews seemed to be quite pleased with all this attention.

"Thank you all for receiving us so well the first time we come here. I haven't been here before, but I think I'll come back," he said.

When Matthews gave way to Big Head Todd and the Monsters, some fans actually left and missed out on another 90 minutes of music.

Unlike Matthews, the three-some that makes up Big Head kept things simple. They found their places on stage and mostly stayed there for the night. They spoke few words to the audience as they played through their song list.

Highlights included "It's All Right," and "Sweet Surrender." The mosh-pit picked up a new urgency during the Todd set, with several folks needing security to rescue them from the crush.

Todd's best moments came during "Faint Scent of Jersey," which started as a slow smokey groove tune and blazed into an inferno of rock behind the strength of a harmonica of all things. Each member of the band took a few moments to solo so they could receive individual recognition. They concluded their set with the whistler "Shadowlands," and featured "Mona Lisa," as part of their encore.

They thanked the crowd but not with the usual false bravado of rock stars but as real guys who seemed to appreciate the crowd's approval.