The 10 Best Venues to See Dave Matthews Band in the U.S.

Dave Matthews 2016
L. Busacca/WireImage

Dave Matthews performs at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sept. 21, 2005.

On May 7, Dave Matthews Band will embark on their 25th year of touring, beginning with a stop at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s a fitting start to the tour, considering the band formed in C’Ville in 1991 and that area is now nothing short of a pilgrimage for DaveHeads looking to pay their respects to where it all started.

Of course, John Paul Jones Arena isn’t the only must-see places to catch DMB work their magic. From spots brimming with band history to sites with top-notch sound quality to some seriously spectacular views, these are the ten best venues to see Dave Matthews Band play live in the United States.

1. The Gorge Ampitheatre 

C’mon, as if there was any debate. Once again, the band will wrap up their tour at this breathtaking spot for a three-night stint in George, Washington. Ask any DaveHead where they want to go most—or what their favorite place to see the band play is—and you’ll get a resounding, “Gorge!” That’s because the outdoor venue, which can host more than 25,000 guests, looks out onto the Columbia River, giving fans a spectacular view to behold. The vibes at the Gorge campgrounds are everything any true blue Dave fan hopes for, and that’s because it’s hard to be anything but downright blissful when you watch your favorite band play in the best location in the country. Hell, even the band gets giddy about the place:

2. Red Rocks Ampitheatre

Dave and Co. aren’t playing the historic Red Rocks this year, and it’s a damn shame. That’s because, like The Gorge, this place is a sacred one amongst DaveHeads. Never mind the top-notch sound quality that Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado provides, it’s the natural wonder of being in this jaw-dropping geological structure that’ll blow your mind. At Red Rocks, you’re not just connected to the music, you’re one with the nature and rich history surrounding you and all your senses.

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3. John Paul Jones Arena

Again, it’s all about that DMB history. Not only is the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Virginia home to some of the best Dave shows ever played throughout the band’s 25 years on the road, it’s the place they’ll always call home.  Before any show at JPJ, fans can pay their respects at Miller’s Downtown, where Dave was a bartender in the early 90s and where the band would eventually get their start. Miller’s can’t hold DMB now, but the awesome JPJ Arena isn’t too shabby either.

4. Saratoga Performing Arts Center

Known as SPAC, this 25,000-seat indoor/outdoor venue is celebrating its own anniversary: it turns 50 this year. The lovely amphitheater, located in Saratoga Springs, New York, doesn’t have a bad seat in the house and everything looks and sounds good, whether you’re hanging out under the stars, or diving over someone to catch Carter Beauford’s drumsticks in the third row. The campgrounds are clean and friendly, and Saratoga Springs is as chill and welcoming as the music itself. 

5. Alpine Valley Music Theater

Hello, Wisconsin! This sprawling amphitheater in East Troy, Wisconsin can hold 37,000 amped Dave fans who can camp nearby to take a worthwhile trek over to the gorgeous Geneva Lake (just a 30 minute drive from the venue). It’s a serene setting, for sure, but once the band kicks things into gear at Alpine Valley, it’s a rockin’ good time. 

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6. The Greek Theatre

Los Angeles has no shortage of great venues for top touring acts like DMB to play, but this one is arguably the best place to see them. (Sorry, not sorry, Staples Center.) Nestled in Griffith Park, it’s a sprawling, big city theater that feels intimate. If you can’t afford a west coast jaunt that takes you all the way up to the Gorge, well, then, get thee to the Greek. 

7. Jones Beach Theater

DMB’s music is practically tailor-made for the beach, so the setting at the Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York is pitch perfect. The tailgating scene is a pretty strong one (if that’s your bag), but the real draw is getting that perfect bay breeze hitting you on a hot summer night while the band breaks into those opening chords of “Dancing Nancies.” Doesn’t get much better than that.  

8. Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion

You know when Dave sings “It was so hot outside, you could fry an egg?” Our money has it that’s referring to anytime you see one of their shows at this Houston, Texas venue. If you’re gonna break a sweat doing your flailing-limbed Dave dance, y’all better do it here. 

9. Oak Mountain Ampitheatre

Sure, twirling around in the lawn or general admission area of any venue can be nice, but sometimes you just want an assigned seat and optimal sound no matter where you are. Cue: the Oak Mountain Ampitheatre in Birmingham, Alabama. Most seats have damn good spots to see Boyd Tinsley do his thing, but we can’t promise someone in a ten gallon hat won’t be obstructing your view. 

10. Radio City Music Hall

Okay, okay, this one isn’t really fair, because it’s only here that Dave Matthews and guitar wizard Tim Reynolds put on a legendary show, but we’ll be damned if the iconic and glorious venue isn’t where this music, particularly acoustic, thrives. Is it too much to ask that the whole band do a show at this timeless New York City landmark? Maybe in the winter? Please, guys.


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