LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29:  Musician Dave Matthews performs onstage at the 2010 MusiCares Person Of The Year Tribute To Ne
Larry Busacca


Like death and taxes, the Dave Matthews Band hitting the road on tour every summer is a sure bet, and the complete dates for their upcoming 2012 trek were just unveiled. Check ‘em out right here.

The news sparks some unresolved issues between Dave and I. It’s a complicated relationship. In junior high one of my friends’ dads (hi Dana!) introduced me to the song “Satellite,” which I immediately loved. Then, during my smart-mouthed-punk-rocker high school years, I worked at the Gorge Amphitheatre in Washington State, where Dave would play three nights, back to back, every Labor Day Weekend. It was the pinnacle for the Dave Disciples, and I watched all the ritualistic going-ons from behind the counter, serving lemon-flavored slurpees to sorority girls ready to spike it with vanilla vodka, despite the fact that they could hardly stand.

My pals and I would step out from the slurpee stand once per show to watch the songs we cautiously deemed worthy—“Crash” and “Satellite”—and sometimes wander the campgrounds after the show, where we’d meet hardcore Dave fans partying. Once we even met a young Jason Mraz strumming his guitar around a campfire, serenading some ladies. He gifted us his demo and swore he’d be famous one day—he was right.

Anywho. Over the years I’ve realized that, like a waft of hot dogs and gun powder on the Fourth of July, certain sights and smells are forever tied to a Dave show. So, in honor of Dave’s upcoming summer tour, I’ve compiled a list of the 10 Signs You’re at a Dave Matthews Concert, just in case you, you know, somehow get lost (or something).

No. 10: Numerous fake South African accents are attempted, usually after swigging whiskey concealed in a CamelBak hydration system.

No. 9: A protestor rallies against sewage dumping in the Chicago River.

No. 8: You overhear a conversation about the inevitable comeback of the Spin Doctors.

No. 7: A Duke Lacrosse player is seen air drumming and/or smoking “herb.”

No. 6: You're surrounded by fleece North Face jackets.

No. 5: There’s a stand handing out free samples of hemp shampoo...

No. 4: ...which is next to the free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream stand.

No. 3: A drunken fist fight erupts, in which one guy hits another with his junior year Poli-Sci book.

No. 2: Impromptu game of ultimate Frisbee.

No. 1: The John Mayer concert was sold out.