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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Dave Matthews Band jams at O'Connell Center

There was no colored smoke or skimpy outfits. No snakes, high-heeled backup dancers, sequins or lip-synching.

Instead, there was music and a call to save the world.

To many fans at the Dave Matthews Band concert in the O'Connell Center on Tuesday night, that's all they needed.

About 9,000 people attended the concert, said Lynda Reinhart, the O'Connell Center's interim director. The arena holds about 10,000.

It was the second time Dave Matthews Band, or DMB, came to UF.

In 2004, DMB came to support then-presidential hopeful Sen. John Kerry.

"They love playing Gainesville," Reinhart said, adding that Tuesday's show had no political motivation.

Several organizations pushed their own political and social agendas outside before the show.

Volunteers from (RED), an awareness group for AIDS in Africa, and ONE, a partner group that fights global poverty, gave out fliers beforehand.

Another group, Students Against War, took advantage of the date of the concert, Sept. 11, to preach an anti-Iraq war message.

"Music unites people," said Rory Rohan, a political science senior in the group, which he said would've taken advantage of the exposure opportunity regardless of who performed.

Inside, there was dancing.

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Maria Ochsenius, a UF travel and tourism senior, was pushed back into the crowd by a security guard at least three times because her twirling and jumping was obstructing a walkway.

Between sobs, which she said were brought on by overwhelming music, she explained her love for DMB.

"He's just a song writer, you know?" she asked, sniffling.

Ochsenius said this was her sixth DMB concert.

Amanda Monaco, a UF freshman, said Tuesday's concert was her first concert ever.

Monaco said she likes the band for its music and doesn't pay much attention to its efforts against global warming, the environment's destruction and poverty.

It's different for Jared Weisser, a UF graduate student who's seen the band seven times.

Weisser said though Dave Matthew's musical skills "can't be beat," his stance on environmental issues is very important.

"There's so much that goes along with Dave Matthews Band's music," he said. "He's making it a better world."

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