As sure as swimming pools and sun-soaked days, one thing you can almost count on during the summer is the Dave Matthews Band touring across the United States.
Since the early 1990s, the band has built up a following like few others, with shows and set lists that rarely mimic the ones from the night before and songs that take different turns nightly into uncharted territories.
2016 is no exception, but on Wednesday night, the band used Wichita’s Intrust Bank Arena as a launching point for their summer tour. The tour, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band’s formation, will criss-cross the country before concluding in Washington state in September.
About 8,000 fans, all on their feet, welcomed the band onstage in Wichita at around 8:15 p.m. Another staple of a DMB show is the band’s no-frills entrance on stage. Dressed in gray jeans, boots and a loose shirt, Matthews slowly walked on stage under a blue light. The band spent a couple of minutes tuning instruments and making faces at the crowd before breaking into “Satellite,” a slow-tempo number from their 1994 album “Under the Table and Dreaming.”
By the third song, fan favorite “Warehouse,” the band was in full “jam-band” mode, belting out an extended version of the song. Matthews danced around the stage while other members showed off their well-honed musicianship.
The band has a deep well of multiplatinum records, music industry awards and hit songs, and they pulled out material that covered their entire career. “Crash Into Me” and “What Would You Say” brought huge applause from the crowd.
By 10 p.m., as violinist Boyd Tinsley tore through a long solo during “Jimi Thing,” the band was showing no signs of calling it quits. Each band member took a solo spot, and eventually, the song morphed into a cover of Prince’s “Sexy M.F.”
After playing 21 songs with hardly a break, the band left the stage but returned shortly for an encore under heavy applause, with the audience waving lighted cellphones, to perform “The Space Between” and “Grey Street.”