Live At Luther College

Live At Luther College

By the start of 1996, Tim Reynolds was nearing a first-name basis with fans of the Dave Matthews Band. A longtime friend and collaborator with DMB, the dazzling guitarist had offered accompaniment, and occasionally taken lead duties, on the group’s 1994 debut, Under the Table and Dreaming. He’d sometimes sit in with the band, as well, and in the early 1990s Reynolds launched a sporadic string of two-guitar sets with Matthews, limited mostly to local benefits and regional theaters. After sessions wrapped for Crash, Matthews and Reynolds embarked on a 20-date run of little college rooms across the Midwest and New England, essentially launching a second touring career for both (they now have their own music festival). Their February 1996 set in the Center for Faith and Life at Iowa’s Luther College was a 23-song marathon, one that found Matthews and Reynolds gliding between miniature arrangements of hits like “Satellite” and “What Would You Say,” and charmingly inchoate versions of songs that would soon become hits, including “Crash Into Me” and “Tripping Billies.” Throughout the set, Matthews plays the part of stand-up comedian, his banter full of impressions, self-deprecation, and bons mots. Reynolds, meanwhile, plays the part of silently virtuosic friend: His kinetic solo during “Jimi Thing” rises like endless smoke rings, while his purring harmonies during “Lover Lay Down” land as soft as a kiss. Matthews and Reynolds try new songs and segues, invent tunes out of whole cloth, and dig into Matthews’ archive of earliest stunners, like the pensive and gorgeous “Seek Up,” or the tormented and anxious “Minarets.” Live at Luther College was released in early 1999, almost three years after the set itself. Following 1996’s florid Crash and 1998’s byzantine Before These Crowded Streets, it pulled back the intricate curtains of the Dave Matthews Band, revealing the living-room core of a singer and his pal playing some songs for just a few friends. What’s more, it set up the enduring image of Matthews as a nice guy—not only the dude dancing in pajamas as his band roared behind him, but a storyteller who loved a good yarn more than he loved his own singing yowl.

Disc 1

Disc 2

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