Tag Archives: Under the Table and Dreaming

Review: Under the Table and Dreaming

So here is the preview of Under the Table and Dreaming I did before the song reviews came.  

All in all, this is a great album to start off your success with. Yes, it wasn’t their first album they released. It was, however, the most successful of the first two, and it is still considered one of the ‘Big Three’ DMB albums. Can’t argue with that.

Here’s a list of all the songs again, with my ratings next to them.

  1. The Best of What’s Around – 5/5
  2. What Would You Say – 3/5
  3. Satellite – 3/5
  4. Rhyme & Reason – 3.5/5
  5. Typical Situation – 5/5
  6. Dancing Nancies – 4/5
  7. Ants Marching – 5/5
  8. Lover Lay Down – 4/5
  9. Jimi Thing – 4/5
  10. Warehouse – 5.5/5
  11. Pay for What You Get – 4/5
  12. #34 – 3.5/5

Looking back on these reviews, I am still happy with my decisions. I maybe should have bumped “Rhyme & Reason” down to a 3/5 and bumped “Dancing Nancies” up to a 4.5/5. Alas, I will stick to my guns. Just because I gave a song a 4/5 doesn’t mean I dislike it. If you refer back to my rating system, a 4 means I ‘love it,’ which is pretty darn good.

Anyway… all of these ratings combined look something like this.

Under the Table and Dreaming – 49.5/60

I give Under the Table and Dreaming an 82.5, or B- overall. Now, that’s just tallying up the individual song ratings alone. But you have to take an album as a whole. As a whole, UTTAD was a groundbreaking album for the band. It put them on the map and still includes so many hits that so many fans love today. You can’t say anything bad about this album, and it’s incredibly fun to listen to.

Factor in the whole “Big 3” thing, and you have yourself a winner.

Therefore, my overall rating for Under the Table and Dreaming is a 4.5/5

Do you agree? Disagree? Did I rate one song too high? Another too low? Let me know, that’s what the comments are for.

I hope I can get through the next album in a much quicker fashion.

Next Post: Crash Preview

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Under the Table and Dreaming, Part XXXIV: #34

“#34” is the last song on Under the Table and Dreaming, even though it’s an instrumental. It also shows up as track number 34. If you watch the cd play in a car or old cd player, the numbers 12-33 will all flash by. Pretty neat.

The song was inspired by and written for Miguel Valdez. He was a friend of the band in the early years, and would often sit in on percussion with him. He passed away in 1993, and DMB held three benefit concerts for him.

The song started out with more of a love tone, but due to its inspiration, it became more of a lament on death (AntsMarching.org). As I said, this is an instrumental and there are no lyrics on the album. It is quite a beautiful song, accompanied by beautiful saxophone harmonies. Lyrics have been added several times, including a special version to celebrate the 34th birthday of Mrs. Dave Matthews (Ashley), but mostly has shown up as an instrumental.

The first video I’m going to show you has the studio version of the song, and it plays behind a video in memory of the late LeRoi Moore. The song has his beautiful saxophone playing, so it was a perfect choice to use for this video.

Here’s the version of the song played in honor of Dave’s wife’s 34th birthday. It’s from the Hollywood Bowl in LA back in 2007. The video quality isn’t great, but you don’t see great music, you hear it.

This is another one of those songs that I have on my ‘relaxation’ mixes, as you can probably understand. It’s a very beautiful (for the 18th time) song, and I nice way to end off the band’s first big album.

Song Review: 3.5/5   (mainly because it’s an instrumental and not much more)

Next Review: “Under the Table and Dreaming” as a whole

Under the Table and Dreaming, Part XI: Pay for What You Get

It’s funny how true the title of this song is. You “Pay for What You Get.” Well, if you were walking through a record store, and came across Under the Table and Dreaming, and only paid about $15 for it, you’d be getting a LOT more than what you paid for. But that’s besides the point.

“Pay for What You Get” has always been a very compelling song for me. This is a great way to end an album (with the exception of #34, but I’ll get to that more in the next review). This song is so low-key and relaxing and pretty much the epitome of smooth and soothing. The tone of the song never really raises up above a lull, which is not a bad thing. As you listen to it, you just feel like your floating. Kind of like that feeling at the dentist once they give you the laughing gas. And it feels like your body is just vapors and it is dissolving in front of you. Well, that’s how it was for me. Anyway…

“Pay for What You Get” is one of those songs that I listen to when I want to relax. I’ve had it on a number of iTunes playlists, including study mixes and sleep mixes (you know, songs to relax you when you want to fall asleep). By no means am I saying this song is so boring that it will put you to sleep.

The guitar chords are very simple (as is everything else in this song). It just strums along with the beat and the words. Carter plays a very simple beat… with what sounds like brush-sticks. He has a lot of cymbal work as well, splashing around here and there.

Another component I really dig is the sax in the background. That is consistently one of the most beautiful parts of a song, and this is no exception. When you listen to it, it only further helps the moving along of the song. It’s like a journey the band is taking you through. You can just close your eyes and follow along with what they’re doing. I think you should try it. So all in all with the music… very relaxing, very soothing and smooth. One of the more slowly paced songs on the album. It’s a nice component to some of the other faster-paced songs.

Time for the lyrics. If you look through the lyrics here… you will discover that you probably could have guessed the idea of the song just from the title. Basically, if you work yourself to the bone… you are paying for what you get. Now, it seems that based off the rest of the song, ‘what you get’ isn’t a good thing. At least not in this case…

Everybody asks me how she’s doing

Has she really lost her mind?

I said, I couldn’t tell you

I’ve lost mine.

That more or less sums up the fact ‘you pay for what you get’ isn’t always a positive thing. In terms of what this song is really about, there’s really no straight answer. It’s said to be a reply to the band’s request for more songs from Dave. It is also said (by the same source) that it hides its true intentions by alluding to a girl. What that means is Dave could be talking about himself here, or a personal issue, but just covers it up by referring to a girl. That’s the fun thing about songs, they’re up for interpretation.

I think I’ve made you wait long enough for your first video. Once again, I am lucky with some random person making a random video to a song I am reviewing. I’m going to ride this lucky streak. You can minimize the page as you listen (because what you’re doing is listening), or if you want you can watch it. It’s up to you. Just pay attention to the mood of the song. Notice how low-key it is. Also… really listen for the saxophone. You can’t miss it, but really get into the song and allow yourself to become fully engulfed in the music.

The next video is a live version of the song (naturally). It’s from the 2003 tour, which just so happened to be the same year I attended my first ever DMB show. This is from the Tinley Park in Chicago, IL. The video is really really good quality, and it sounds great. I contemplated giving a link to a newer version… but I decided, why not both? Here’s the 2003 video. You can actually watch this video. Keep an eye on Carter playing the drums in the background, and then the camera moves over to Roi for some quality sax play.

Here’s that other live version. It’s just audio, but it’s from a show I attended. It’s a recording from Live Trax Vol. 13 – Busch Stadium back in June of 2008. Enjoy, I know I did. This was a very big surprise for me. Needless to say, I was thrilled. It was the first (and unfortunately last as of now) time I ever heard “Pay for What You Get” live.

Finally, Dave & Tim. It’s always cool to see video of these two guys go at it on the guitar. They’re just so good.

To recap: “Pay for What You Get” is a very relaxing, slow, low-key song. It is definitely in my upper-echelon of songs. If you’re looking for a good song to put on a relaxing mix… this is a solid choice.

Song Rating: 4/5

Next Song: “#34”

Under the Table and Dreaming, Part X: Warehouse

Top Five. That’s where this song ranks for me, and a large amount of die-hard fans as well. I have loved this song since the first time I heard it, and that feeling has not once subsided.

This song has a long history, seeing as it is considered the fifth song Dave ever wrote. Therefore, it has been played a lot in the history of the band… making it that much more of a fan favorite.

The UTTAD version of this song starts out with a really neat intro. It’s Dave playing the guitar and saying the lyrics found here in the song history page on DMB Almanac. This isn’t usually performed live, however Dave brought it back recently and does it from time to time. Most of the time now, the song starts off with a stop-time intro… but I’ll get to that in a little bit. Here’s a video (once again, another weird video project that happens to have the exact song I need. Ignore all the PDA and awkwardness). It doesn’t have the whole song, but the most important thing is the beginning.

Now that you have an idea what the studio version of the song sounds like, I can start breaking it down. As you can tell, the beginning is more of an eerie, dark mood. Even once Dave starts the actually verse, it’s still a little dark and ominous. That makes for some really cool sound live. Once the song picks up, it doesn’t have as much of a dark and ominous feeling as the intro, but it’s still a little eerie.

The lyrics to this song really help show the mood of the song. “Warehouse” is more or less about not jumping into things so quickly in life. A wise source once said you can think of the ‘warehouse’ as your mind, which is very interesting once you read the lyrics/listen to the song. My favorite part of the song, however, is the very end. I love the chorus’, love everything else, but my absolute favorite part is as follows.

That’s our blood down there

Seems poured from the hands of angels

But trickle into the ground

Leaves the Warehouse bare and empty

My heart’s numbered beat

Still echo in this empty room

Fear wells in me

But nothing seems enough to defend

So I’m going away

That part can actually be heard in the video above at the 4:00 mark. This person decided to cut out some middle jamming and go straight to my favorite part (how considerate). Every time I hear this part, I just get removed from whatever it is I am doing, and am engulfed in this song. I love it.

Back to the musical aspect, however. The drums… very upbeat. They have a pep in their step and are quick and simple. The violin is always humming in the background of the verse, until Carter crashes into the chorus and you can hear a little harmonious violin going in the background.

The chorus also has the extra addition of a little cowbell. Now, we all know the cowbell is the prescription for a fever, but in this case… it’s just a little added bonus.

Roi’s Sax isn’t as prominent in this song as others, but it really stands out heading into and coming out of the chorus… as well as several bridges. You definitely can’t miss. Then of course just before my favorite part starts, that is where the solos come in, which are definitely awesome. If you have access to the full version, listen to it. Now. Go. Ok, finish this post first, but THEN listen to it.

Now I want to get into the alternate versions. This first one is one of my favorite songs (“Warehouse”) at arguably one of my favorite concerts (Central Park) in what is my absolute favorite version of this song. This version is the ringtone for my best friend/college roommate James. If you’re reading this, hi! (by the way… WordPress spell check asked if I meant ‘high’ instead of ‘hi’. I guess it knows I’m writing about the Dave Matthews Band) But yeah, I love this song. Please enjoy it.

Next, of course, is Dave and Tim. What would one of my posts be without a Dave and Tim song (unless they don’t play the song I’m reviewing). For the record, Tim Reynolds looks crazy here. Mainly because he is. Luckily for you, he’s out of this world.

The last video I want to leave you with is a very very early version of the song. Like… 1993 early. It’s from a record store in Charlotte, North Carolina. Basically, this is awesome. Enjoy.

I think I’ve said about all I possibly can about this song. I tried to avoid talking about how awesome it is live as much as possible. That will come later when I review whole live albums. Until then… enjoy these four videos. I hope you’re still enjoying my blog. I will try to supply more content.

Song Rating: 5.5/5

(yes, that’s .5 above the highest. I told you some songs would have higher than a 5/5. The highest I will go is 6/5, and only one song gets that.)

Next Song: “Pay for What You Get”

Under the Table and Dreaming, Part IX: Jimi Thing

I’d like to tell you how I feel about this song.

Ok, that was a very lame attempt to try to use part of the song lyrics to kick-off this post. By the way, I realize I have been taking a long time in between posts. I need to get better with that. Anyway…

“Jimi Thing” is a song I have really gone back and forth on. When I first started getting into DMB and really delving into their library (circa 2003-2005), I really liked this song. And on first listen, you might like it as well. It’s fun, it’s relaxed, it’s just cool to listen to.

I thought the same thing, until I heard it [what felt like] every single time I saw the Dave Matthews Band live for about 3 years. Honestly, it felt like from 2006-2008 I heard this song EVERY SINGLE TIME I saw the band. In retrospect, that clearly wasn’t true. I think what made this notion worse is that the song lasts about 18 minutes, and during that time included solos from Butch Taylor. Now don’t get me wrong, I liked Butch. Some songs he really added to with his piano/keyboards/synthesizer. But there were times when I thought his parts were a little unnecessary, including “Jimi Thing.” However, once Tim Reynolds joined the tour as a constant member in 2008, the song has really taken off.

Another reason why I think it has really received a boost is because of Jeff Coffin. Now please please please, hear me when I saw I LOVED LeRoi Moore, and there is no replacing him. Every DMB fan would agree that Roi and Jeff are two completely different sax players. Equally awesome in their own rights. Roi was a much more melodic, soft, beautiful, awesome player. Jeff is much more rock, jam, etc player. Both awesome. Nothing bad about either of them. Jeff, however, added a little extra something to the solos with Tim Reynolds. The two of them go back and forth like you wouldn’t believe, and not just on “Jimi Thing.” It’s just awesome. Listen to any live version of “Jimi Thing” from the end of 2008 (after Roi’s passing) up to now. The solos will blow you away. While with Roi, they were so thought out and perfect and just mind-blowingly good… Jeff’s have a lot more jam to them, and he really gets into it with his whole body and the whole stage. That revived the song for me.

Anyway… I should probably get to THIS version now. On the album. WITH Roi.

Another song starting off with just a little Dave guitar, then getting into a soft vibe for the first verse. I really like how mellow this song is. If there’s a perfect word for this song… it’s definitely mellow. Especially because Dave says the word in the song.

The song is basically about weed. If you can’t tell… read through the lyrics. Especially the line where Dave says, “Smoke my mind makes me feel better for a short time.” That about sums it up. It’s basically about how someone can be ‘feeling low’ and then be brought back up by a certain something.

Now you might be asking yourself… what’s a Jimi Thing? That, my friends, is a condom. Now, there’s no real inclination of a Jimi Thing being a condom in the song itself. But if AntsMarching says it’s a condom, I’m definitely one to trust them. Plus, I have heard this numerous times before from various forums and books.

Now the song itself is, like I said, mellow. It’s one of those songs that you find yourself tapping your foot to, or making believe you’re playing an instrument. It has that affect on you. The thing about the music itself is that it changes back and forth (from verse to chorus, and even within the chorus itself) which adds to the fun. I’m trying to think of more things to say about the song and music itself, but I really can’t think of anything besides ‘mellow’ and ‘fun’ to describe it. You just have to listen to it to understand…

I am a big proponent of drums, so that’s what I always hear, but the violin really comes through strongly here, and it’s a nice thing to hear. And of course Roi’s sax is always a big staple. And right at the 4:49 mark is where we get an absolutely perfect taste of exactly how awesome Roi is.

As always, I am going to give you two live versions. The first is an awesome version from a show I was in attendance for. It was Alpine Valley of last year (2009). It’s a really good version from a fan, and the audio is pretty good as well. You’ll notice the first verse is not sung by Mr. Matthews. Sometimes, when he’s feeling like it, he lets the crowd sing the first verse. He went through a big phase of this too, but enjoy anyway. Also… at around 5:45 is where the awesomeness that is the jam begins.

I bet you’re thinking, “why hasn’t he discussed a Dave & Tim version yet?” Well, lucky for you this is where I talk about that very thing. This is, once again, from Luther College. Awesomeness ensues.

All in all, I love this song now. I can listen to it live over and over again, especially if it has Jeff Coffin and Tim Reynolds on it. Other versions are good, but the song gets a lot better with those two, and I mean it. For this version, the Under the Table and Dreaming version, it’s good. I can’t say anything bad about it, and I think you’ll enjoy it.

Song Rating: 4/5

Next Song: “Warehouse”

Under the Table and Dreaming, Part VIII: Lover Lay Down

This is one of the few truly slow songs we’ve come across so far from the Dave Matthews Band. Yes, we have “I’ll Back You Up” and “Christmas Song,” but that’s about it. Most of the songs from DMB are fast-paced jam songs. The guys can take it down a notch as well.

A song clearly based around some form of love, the lyrics of “Lover Lay Down” lays down (pun intended… sorry) the story of a man (Dave) waiting for a woman (Julia Grey, ex-girlfriend). Don’t believe me?

Don’t be us too shy

Knowing it’s no big surprise

That I will wait for you

I will wait for no one but you

Told ya so. It’s a rather beautiful song about longing for someone that isn’t there at the moment, and feeling the need to have them there with you. If you always thought the Dave Matthews Band was all jam… guess again. this is a beautiful love song, and I could listen to it over and over again.

In terms of the musical aspects of the song, it’s very well composed (did you expect any different?). A beautiful horn from Roi starts kicks in not too long after a subtle start on the ride cymbal and guitar from Carter and Dave (respectively). It’s a very gentle song, at least until the firs, “Look please, Lover lay down.” Now, the song doesn’t kick into a huge rock-out jam fest like in most other DMB songs. This one keeps it cool, but it picks up the pace a little from a normal lovey-dovey slow song.

The one thing I really like is that the drums never out-perform the horn in this song. In most songs, not just DMB, the drums can overpower almost any other instrument. Most bands do a good job at keeping that in check, especially DMB. Carter Beauford is one of the most talented drummers, let alone musicians, that I have ever heard. He keeps his part just where it needs to be so you can hear the delicate notes coming from LeRoi, not to mention the soft lyrics from Dave.

If you just close your eyes when you listen to this song and follow along with the sax part, you will get lost and forget about wherever you are/whatever you are doing. It’s just so beautiful, you can’t help it. And if you’re the type of person that can’t appreciate beautiful music, especially from a saxaphone, then you don’t belong on this blog reading what I have to say. Good day. I said good day!

Alright, then. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get you a video to watch. Now… remember when I said, “If you just close your eyes when you listen to this song…”? Well, I suggest it for this video. I appreciate what these people do, because they give me videos with the studio versions of these great Dave Matthews Band songs, but it seems like every video I show you has some weird images along with it. Anyway… here is “Lover Lay Down” from Under the Table and Dreaming.

Here’s a great version of “Lover Lay Down” live from 2005. I’m glad there’s a good version pre-2008 (when Roi passed away). Enjoy.

And of course… “Lover Lay Down” performed acousticly by Dave Mattews and Tim Reynolds. Once again, no further introduction needed.

All in all, this is a fantastic song. One point to make about it is that it doesn’t change a whole lot in its live counterpart. That can be viewed as a bad thing to some, but I don’t mind it. It’s such a great song, that having it in the same relative state is a good thing. And if you want a nice song to put on a love mix tape CD, this is a solid selection.

Song Rating: 4/5

Next Song: “Jimi Thing”

Under the Table and Dreaming, Part VII: Ants Marching

Ahhh… we meet “Ants Marching” again. This time, however, it’s the studio version of the song. I will try to avoid repeating myself as much as possible with the background of the song itself, and try and stick to the review of the song itself.

As I’ve said before, “Ants Marching” is probably the most known DMB song there is. If you ask anyone you know if they know a song by the Dave Matthews Band, chances are this is one of them. I actually have a theory that if someone only has 5 songs on their iPod by DMB, those songs are usually: “Ants Marching,” “Crash Into Me,” “The Space Between” (especially if it’s a girl), “Two Step,” and “Stay (Wasting Time).” Now… this is obviously subject to change, but more often than not, that’s the 5. It has proven true for me on several occasions. “Everyday” is often the alternate song if one of those isn’t there.

Ants Marching also has the most plays of any song by the band… especially in encores. It has been played 1,064 times (approximately)… which says a lot. Granted, being one of the first songs in the band’s arsenal means it will have play time throughout the entire run of the band, but that’s besides the point.

The studio version of this song is quite similar to the live versions, including the one I’ve already done a review on. This version does not have the extended snare-hit intro through, it just has three snare hits. It starts with just Boyd and LeRoi playing along side Carter, until the guitars kick in. Once Dave kicks it into the first verse, game over.

As the essential anthem of the Dave Matthews Band, the lyrics are obviously rather uplifting, fun, exciting, etc. It’s all about our daily routine and how everything we do… no matter what we do… in the end we’re all basically the same.

One of my favorite parts of this song is the solo. This is the song Boyd tears up the most. In the studio version (and earlier live versions), he gets a 7-count solo. By that I mean once he’s in the solo, Carter and the boys have a combined note, and then pause for 3 counts. So essentially (if you’re a musician) it is a 28-count solo, but who’s counting. But in live versions, there is a much longer solo. I can’t really explain it, so I’ll save it for the live clip I will inevitably post later in this review.

The last thing I’m going to mention before we get to the clips is this song at concerts. As I said, it’s definitely a crowd favorite, if not one of the biggest, most unanimous crowd pleasers. Almost every single person at the concert knows this song (I’d say this is the only song that garners the most recognition), so they all sing along. There’s one line that most of the time, Dave let’s the crowd sing on. It comes during the first time we hear the chorus:

Dave: “Driving in on this highway. All the cars end up on the sidewalk.”

Crowd: “PEOPLE IN EVERY DIRECTION!”

DMB: Continues music between pause…

Crowd: “NO WORDS EXCHANGED, NO TIME TO EXCHANGE!”

It’s just so much fun to do. Gotta love it. Alright… without further adieu. The first video is the music video for “Ants Marching.” Very interesting (as are all the DMB music videos). Enjoy.

Next we have the live version of “Ants Marching” from, where else, Central Park. I will say this every time I mention this concert, it is one of my absolute favorites. The music is just so good, the band sounds great, the crowd is awesome, and the video to go along with it is icing on the cake. Enjoy.

Even though I’m not usually as high on studio versions as I am their live counterparts, “Ants Marching” has a hard time disappointing in any format. It’s an enjoyable song, a DMB essential and just an all-around great song. The music is fantastic, the lyrics are great. What else could you want?

Song Rating: 5/5

Next Song: “Lover Lay Down”