When the Dennis Kucinich campaign announced a fundraiser concert headlined by Dave Matthews at the Agora on 4/20, it was almost too damn much. The sheer combination of pot-friendly buzzwords put a unique spin on the Cleveland event; tickets sold out immediately.
The show last night was much more Matthews than Kucinich, which was probably the point. The gubernatorial candidate made an appearance before and after Matthews' set, briefly discussing his political background. To many — and certainly among the Agora crowd last night — Kucinich is a political star around these parts. He needs no introduction, really.
See a slideshow of photos from the concert here.
Between songs, Matthews engaged the audience in some nice banter. He regaled the crowd with the story of how Willie Nelson introduced him and Kucinich. Matthews' admiration for the candidate came through multiple times throughout the night, including during an encore selfie onstage.
Musically, it was just great to see Matthews in a purely solo element: no frills, no Tim Reynolds, etc. The setlist was filled with nice picks. "The Dreaming Tree" was wonderful to hear, and I'd been chasing "Dancing Nancies" for some time now. The highlight, for me, was "Don't Drink the Water," which featured a quick diversion into "This Land is Your Land." Matthews said the song took on a greater meaning for him after traveling to the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline. There was an easy connection on that note to Kucinich's campaign promise to eradicate Ohio of its natural gas and oil industry
, but Matthews didn't get into it.
Indeed, it's hard to say who was there strictly to see Dave and who was there in support of Kucinich. (All ticket sales revenue was treated as campaign donations.) Down in the pit, one guy was overheard talking about "David Kucinich," so there's a hint.
Local band Front Porch Lights opened the show with a fine half-hour set, and it was just great to see them on a high-profile stage like that. The crowd was mostly busy gabbing in that early part of the night, but everyone seemed to really enjoy the laid-back opening slot. Great music, all around.
So Damn Lucky
Don't Drink the Water
The Dreaming Tree
The Best of What's Around
I'll join you again
The Space Between