Since forming in 1991, the Dave Matthews Band and its namesake frontman have earned a reputation for their live performances during their annual summer-long tours. Yet Matthews and company have also created quite a buzz with their videos, which don’t have the spontaneity of their epic live jams, but have taken a fresh approach to the usual rock promo clip. Join us as we take a look at some of our favorite Matthews’ videos, both with the band and solo.
1. “Dreamgirl,” 2005.
DMB’s most-high profile clip, for the track from the album Stand Up, stars Julia Roberts, yes, that Julia Roberts. The actress made her music video debut in this Alice and Wonderland-meets-Fringe clip that has her being chased by faceless chaps in suits and fedoras, and features cameos from several of the band’s members, as well Matthews, who watches it all unfold from a movie theater. Of course it was all a dream – or was it?
Roberts is a long-time fan of the band and pal of Matthews. Her appearance in the clip marked her first acting job after giving birth to her twins Hazel and Phinneaus in November 2004. “I just need the work,” Roberts joked to People magazine at the time of the video’s initial release. Matthews added, “We thought we’d politely give her a hand up.”
2. “Crash Into Me,” 1996.
DMB had hits prior to this tune, but this is the song that truly capitulated Matthews and company into the mainstream consciousness. In this clip, Matthews often appears close-up and out-of-focus, adding to the mystery of the song’s smoldering, sexy vibe. There’s the prerequisite dancing girls, but these are no video bimbos, but beautiful dancers in flowing gowns interspersed with images of a standup bass, a native, a man with a horse head mask and geisha girls. And when the immortal line, “Hike up your skirt a little more and show your world to me” comes along, the director could have gone with a gratuitous money shot, but instead shows a pair of demure geisha girls seated on a bench, merely just beginning to part their blue-stocking-clad knees. It’s all tasteful, arty and mesmerizing.
3. “You & Me,” 2009.
In this clip, for the third single from DMB’s Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King, Matthews starts out solo in an empty auditorium filled with blue plastic chairs. As the song progresses and picks up steam, he’s joined the his band and then various other musicians, young and old, until it evolves into one joyous jam session, complete with strings. Watch it and try not to get caught up in the celebration.
4. “Proudest Monkey,” 2013
No DMB video list would be complete without a live performance clip and this one – shot in black-and-white , during the band’s Dec. 3, 2013 performance in Matthews’ hometown of Johannesburg – is extra special. It features a guest shot from legendary trumpet player and fellow South African Hugh Masekela. As Matthews notes in the introduction, “There’s certain people I remember growing up listening to and I’ve been lucky in one or two occasions to have the great pleasure of meeting those people. Today is no exception. It’s a great honor for us to welcome Hugh Masekela to the stage.”
Check out Masekela’s elegant playing beginning at about the three-minute mark and stick with it as he closes out this 12-minute plus epic performance.
5. “I Need a Word,” 2013
There’s nothing quite like when a huge music star takes a turn on Sesame Street to appeal to the young and young at heart. Here Matthews, armed with only a banjo, is joined by Grover to croon “I Need a Word,” after both the singer/songwriter and blue puppet are stumped by trying to find a word to describe their feelings. After watching this clip, the word you’ll likely be left with is “sweet.”