28 snare hits.
That’s how the first song of the first album ever released by the Dave Matthews Band starts.
For those somewhat familiar with DMB’s live material, every live performance of “Ants Marching” starts with snare hits from drummer Carter Beauford, and then the intro picks up with Boyd Tinsley on the violin and LeRoi Moore on the sax. But on Remember Two Things, it takes 28 hits until Carter counts in and you hear the violin and sax take over.
(Due to this song being a live version, and appearing on another album, I will not be listing lyrics/meaning/versions, etc)
Total Play Count: 1,078
Album Ranking: 1/10
If you compare this song to any of the live versions of “Ants Marching” post-1999, you can tell how different they are. One of the refreshing things about this song after listening to newer versions is the simple nature of it. The violin is basic in the intro. The saxophone is so smooth and the little melodies LeRoi puts in his part is exactly what made him one of the best jazz musicians around. Even though LeRoi Moore was more of a reserved performer, didn’t go for the crazy solos or the spotlight to be on him often, but he could blow you away with the things he could do with the saxophone. This song is one of my favorites to just close my eyes and listen to what LeRoi can do in the first 2 minutes of the song. It doesn’t seem like much at first, but it certainly is genius.
Once Dave’s voice comes in, you can tell this is definitely an earlier work. Dave was never the first to get up on stage and sing, and was always more reluctant to do so. In this version of the song you can sense that unfamiliarity in his voice. Also, his voice is still quite high and he can still hit some falsettos, which isn’t much in his range in the late 2000’s.
With this version of “Ants Marching,” you really get the basics of the song. When we get to Under the Table and Dreaming, which is the next album up for review, we will have the studio version of the song to compare this to. However, as the song matures and progresses with the band, the experience and the inventions of different aspects of the songs come with that.
Another thing about this song that I noticed while listening to it is that it has a much slower tempo than what it will later become. As one of the first performances of this song, it’s cool to listen to where the song started. Each piece of this song, the violin, the saxophone, the main guitar, the bass guitar and of course the drums, each comes through in this version. The underlying violin part comes through nicely under Dave’s voice. Carter’s drums keep the steady pace throughout the song, along with Stefan’s bass part.
The main thing that I take away from this song, which I’ve said about five times now, is how simplistic this version is, and how it shows where the song originated and how much it has evolved from.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Up next: “Tripping Billies”