I'm so sad about hearing this news I just felt compelled to post.
In 1998 I went to see a band that forever changed the way I listened to music. Sitting in the highest section of the Tacoma Dome, I looked down as LeRoi Moore, Boyd Tinsley, Carter Beauford, and Dave Matthews walked out on stage and proceeded to blow my mind. I remember distinctly seeing Boyd all the way at the front of the stage with the spotlight on him while he played a solo so hard that he broke every string on his violin. I remember hearing the deep boom of the tenor sax as LeRoi played along with "What Would You Say". Hearing Dave forget the lyrics to his own song, but make up new ones so quick that you wouldn't have even known. Watching Carter behind his huge drum set with an equally huge smile on his face.
I met so many of my friends going to see this band. There was a huge group of us that would go together, so big in fact that when I watch the live Gorge DVD every time they pan to the audience I can point to about 20 people I came to the show with. I can still remember hearing the sound of the clarinet drifting on the wind, hitting us all the way up in lawn seating. The energy in the crowd as soon as they realized what song was about to play. We were such big fans that we knew what song they were going to play simply by hearing Dave tune his guitar. We would make bets as to which song was going to be next when he switched guitars. "Ooh! It's the 12 string! I bet they'll play Grey Street" or "awww, it's the electric. I bet they'll play I Did It. Time to go to the bathroom!"
I saw them every year until 2004, when I started dating someone who couldn't stand the band and would get upset at me for listening to them. Rather than deal with him, I put my love aside for the band and stopped listening to them all together because it made me so sad that I couldn't see them anymore. Finally last year my friend Dane talked me into going to see them at the Hollywood Bowl. I was so overwhelmed by the music and the energy that I teared up at almost each song.
To remind me what this band and their music gave to me I tattooed a firedancer on my ankle. Now it seems as though I will have to add a saxophone, as LeRoi Moore died today.
I don't think it's possible for me to explain how much this band means to me, how every show I went to (25 so far) was a new and exciting experience for me and how much I will miss the sound of this talented man.