On May 11, 1991, Dave Matthews Band played its first official gig in Charlottesville. Nearly 25 years and thousands of shows later, the band returned to Charlottesville to mark its silver anniversary with a benefit concert.
The band celebrated its 25th anniversary Saturday in front of a packed house at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena and donated all of the proceeds from the concert to local charities.
The donation, totaling more than $1 million, will be distributed to area organizations through the band’s Bama Works Fund, which it established in 1991 in partnership with the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. Since then, a portion of every concert ticket the Dave Matthews Band has sold has helped fund more than $40 million in contributions to local charities.
The donations are the band members’ way of thanking the town that gave them their start and has supported them since that first official gig in a downtown warehouse.
Vocalist and guitarist Dave Matthews started the band while he was a bartender at Miller’s on the Downtown Mall, with encouragement from fellow musician John D’earth, the director of UVA’s jazz performance program. Other founding members include violinist Boyd Tinsley, a UVA alumnus; drummer and vocalist Carter Beauford; bassist Stefan Lessard; and the late saxophonist LeRoi Moore, all of whom trace their roots back to Charlottesville.
On Saturday, Matthews, Tinsley, Beauford and Lessard, joined by saxophonist Jeff Coffin, trumpeter Rashawn Ross and guitarist Tim Reynolds, regaled the crowd with some of the band’s top hits, which have fueled more than 30 million record sales worldwide.
Here's a look at Saturday's concert.