Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band performs in front of a nearly sold out crowd at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth Tuesday.
DULUTH -- Dave Matthews Band fans will travel to see the band play.
By the thousands, DMB fanatics drove to the Arena at Gwinnett Center Tuesday night to see the iconic jam band on its "Winter 2012 Tour" to promote the new album "Away From the World."
It was a relief to many people who live on the Northern part of metro Atlanta, since Dave Matthews usually plays at Aaron's Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Southeast Atlanta.
"I'm thrilled Dave came to the Arena because we always have to drive far to see him," Sarah Jackson of Duluth said.
John Ennis of Athens was excited for another chance to see DMB. It had been a few years since his last Dave experience.
"I think he's great, but I haven't seen him since high school, which was five years ago," he said. "The only time I've seen him was at HiFi Buys (Amphitheater). Tonight I want to hear '#41' because he's played it every time I've come."
But before the group took the stage, the Lumineers opened the show with its hits, "Ho Hey" and "Stubborn Love." When the band was finished, they all hugged each other, then left the stage.
At 8:30 p.m., the lights went down and DMB hopped on stage. Before the men could squeak out a note, the crowd was roaring with screams and applause.
But when they opened with "Squirm" from "Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King," the audience couldn't stop singing.
In between songs, Matthews talked to his fans, letting all of the Southerners know that he's "got people down here" and he hoped everyone was having a good time.
After a few minutes of chatting, the band played "Rooftop" from the new album, then transitioned into "Seven."
Before anyone knew it, the band was playing "What Would You Say" and covered an explicit Prince song later in the show.
As a surprise, Zac Brown came out to sing "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan with the band.
No matter what was played, the crowd loved it because DMB's show are notorious for being more entertaining than its recorded albums, according to some fans.
"If you go on and look at his catalog, most of his records are live records," Charles Travis of Atlanta said. "It's like Widespread Panic who does the albums but the live shows are really where it's at."