"Ants Marching" is considered to be the definitive and most recognizable Dave Matthews Band song by many of their devoted fans. As Dave Matthews himself once said, "This song is our anthem". "Ants Marching" is a favorite of the band's to play live in concert, being the most played song over the course of the band's touring career, having been fully played 1,105 times over the band's 22-year career. The live versions of "Ants Marching" are recognizable by the typical snare intro by the band's drummer, Carter Beauford, as can be heard on the band's most recent live release, Live at Wrigley Field. For some live versions however, the band will skip the snare intro, and go straight into the song, which is known as the "direct intro"; the version on Live Trax Vol. 13 has a unique guitar duet intro by Matthews and electric guitarist Tim Reynolds. The band's addition of trumpeter Rashawn Ross for the 2006 tour has had a positive effect on the band's horn section in live performances of "Ants Marching", as he introduced several new interpolations, including The Jacksons' "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)". When the song is performed live, Matthews stops singing during the fourth verse so that the crowd can sing the lines "People in every direction / No words exchanged, no time to exchange."
The song is centered on the idea that people get caught up in the monotony of their everyday lives and forget to focus on what is truly important. The metaphor used is that people are like marching ants in the line, "All the little ants are marching, red and black antennae waving, they all do it the same, they all do it the same way." The title of Under the Table and Dreaming is derived from the verse:
Goes to visit his mommy She feeds him well - his concerns, he forgets them And remembers being small Playing under the table and dreaming.
"Ants Marching" was featured on the two part Season 5 Community finale. "Ants Marching" was made available for download on November 6, 2012 for Rock Band 3 Basic and Rock Band 3 PRO mode for use with real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards.