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Dave Matthews Band Opens New Arena

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

September 22, 2006

It was a hometown band for a hometown crowd as the John Paul Jones Arena celebrated it's official grand opening celebration.

Charlottesville's Dave Matthews Band opened up the new arena. Fans were more than excited.

Travis Williams drove all the way from Lexington, Kentucky to see the band play.

"They're my favorite band," said Williams. "This will be my 27th show and tomorrow is my 28th show."

Hours before the band even took the stage inside, tailgaters were getting the party started a little early outside.

"I always thought tailgates were a way to get psyched up before the concert," explained Mark Begiebing, as he and his family stood in the parking lot of the arena with lawn chairs set up and food to eat. "You get to meet people. People are excited about the concert."

Before the show, a crowd gathered where they could get a glimpse of band members as they arrived. Like so many others at JPJ on Friday night, many of them drove hours just to see the show. One girl came all the way from Buffalo.

"It took us about ten hours altogether," said Cara Brewer of her drive to Charlottesville from upstate New York. "But we came down here because it is the DMB mecca right now. This is the best concert of the summer to be at, because it's their hometown."

A lot of fans kept mentioning the hometown factor: that the hometown concert and a hometown audience would bring something extra special to Friday's sold-out performance.

"Since this is their hometown they're gonna be happy to be here. I can guarantee it," said Williams. "That's why I came this far, because I knew that Charlottesville would be a special show."

"It's something that you get that hometown vibe. That homecoming," said Kevin Daughters just before he went into the arena. "They're back on their home turf where it all started. It's kind of a cool thing to see them where they came from."


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