If you aren’t already aware of Dave Matthews Band fans and their fanatical devotion, So Much to Say: 20 Years on the Road will reveal the myriad ways in which they’ve made being crazy about DMB look easy. If you’re not already familiar with (or a fan of) DMB, the book certainly won’t make understanding that psychosis any easier. The book is centered on fan experiences and the band’s progression from local favorites to worldwide superstars, and it doesn’t endeavor to reveal any scandalous tidbits or inside information. It’s an appreciative, honest account of the band’s musical, personal, and professional history, a quaint, fun read that will breeze by without making much of an impact. Even the very people for whom the book was written will find little new information.
This book is like a friend that just won’t shut up about their favorite band. You might not care about all of the minutiae, but you appreciate their experience and love them just the same. High points include the dramatic, exhaustive telling of the times leading up to and following Leroi Moore’s death and the breathless, gushing description of the incredible growth the band experienced in the 1990’s. Still, as fascinating as the band’s taping policy was when it was being tinkered with, it’s not exactly riveting reading. I’m sure the many fans quoted in the book are very knowledgeable, but it’s tough to care about such mundane subject matter (oh, tailgating before shows is fun, you say?).
Van Noy – who apparently has an acute obsession with the song “Ants Marching” – doesn’t help her case, revisiting the same topics over and over: DMB has a true and tangible connection with their fans, DMB fans plan their entire lives around DMB shows, taping really, really helped the band grow their audience, and there’s absolutely nothing like a DMB show. I’m not sure who Van Noy is trying to convince, but she’s preaching to the choir, since the book’s readership is almost certain to be comprised entirely of DMB fans. These fans will basically be reading an extremely flawed and repetitive, if better organized, recounting of the events they’ve already obsessed over for two decades.