Dave Matthews Band hosted their Concert for Unity at Scott Stadium on the campus of University of Virginia in their hometown of Charlottesville, with the likes of Cage the Elephant, The Roots, Chris Stapleton, Ariana Grande, Pharrell Williams and Justin Timberlake joining the group on the bill.
Matthews started the night off with an opening rendition of “Mercy” before introducing Cage the Elephant to start the evening. Matthews would return to close the night with his band, playing their first show in over a year.
One of the immediate surprises came with the appearance of Butch Taylor, former DMB keyboardist who left the band in 2008 after a lengthy tenure. Taylor hasn’t performed with the band since April of that year and sat in for the entire set (Taylor lives in Charlottesville and plays regularly at Miller’s) that included early spirited takes on “Don’t Drink the Water,” “Warehouse” and “You Might Die Trying” as well as a “Grey Street” that included fellow C’Ville musician John D’Earth.
The biggest surprise of the night followed as Stevie Wonder emerged with a microphone, joining Matthews on stage for a lengthy speech about the current political landscape and not just about what happened in Charlottesville earlier this year but also the world as a whole. Wonder then took to the piano for a cover of John Lennon’s “Imagine” with DMB, marking the first time they’ve ever played the song.
Wonder stayed on for the Songs in the Key of Life cut “Love’s in Need of Love Today” before closing the night with “Superstition,” a song previously played by Matthews as a part of his Dave Matthews & Friends project but never with DMB. Wonder and Matthews traded verses on the energetic singalong before departing.
Other highlights from the day include a surprise appearance from Coldplay’s Chris Martin and guitarist Jonny Buckland, who rolled through a brief set of the band’s songs. The Roots played a guest-heavy set, welcoming Bilal on “It Ain’t Fair” as well as Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard for “Ball of Confusion” and “Move On Up” before Pharrell joined the for their remaining time, playing his own collaborations like Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and his hits “Happy” and “Blurred Lines” as well as The Roots’ own “The Seed 2.0.”
Here’s a look at the setlist:
Dave Matthews Band
University of Virginia – Scott Stadium Charlottesville, VA
Don’t Drink the Water, Warehouse, Satellite, Seven, You Might Die Trying,Grey Street*, Imagine^, Love Is In Need Of Love Today^, Superstition^
Entire show with Butch Taylor
*with John d’Earth
^with Stevie Wonder and Raab Stevenson