Halloween (Dave Matthews Band song)

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Song by Dave Matthews Band
from the album Before These Crowded Streets
Released April 28, 1998
Recorded The Plant Studios, Sausalito, CA & Electric Lady Studios, New York, NY
Genre Rock
Length 5:07 (6:30 on Recently)
Label RCA
Songwriter(s) David J. Matthews
Producer(s) Steve Lillywhite
Before These Crowded Streets track listing
Stay (Wasting Time)
The Stone
Recently track listing
"All Along the Watchtower"
(Track 4)
(Track 5)
"End of Album"
(Expression error: Unrecognized word "track".)

"Halloween" is a song by Dave Matthews Band from the 1998 album Before These Crowded Streets. The song was originally released as a live track on their Recently EP in 1994. It debuted live on Halloween of 1992 and was originally titled "The Halloween Song." It opened the show, and included Kristen Asbury on vocals. The debut was different from newer versions of Halloween, and it is also the longest version of the song (12:07) to date.[1] "Halloween" was written by Dave Matthews about an ex-girlfriend, Julia Grey, who turned down his proposals of marriage three times.[citation needed] It is believed[by whom?] that Halloween is the second in a set of three songs written about said ex-girlfriend.[2] The first being "I'll Back You Up," and the third being "Grey Street."

"Halloween" is the only track on Before These Crowded Streets not to have lyrics included in the CD cover. Additionally, live versions of the song feature Matthews singing different and sometimes nonsensical lyrics that do not correspond with the studio version. Matthews claimed that he chose not to include the lyrics in the cover because he did not want his mother reading the offensive words.

The track on Before These Crowded Streets features orchestral arrangements by John D'earth, with D'earth on the trumpet and The Kronos Quartet on strings, and segues directly into the following track, "The Stone."

In concert[edit]

As stated above, the lyrics of Halloween vary from the "official" lyrics of the song when it is performed live. Also, the song frequently features a short drum intro by Carter Beauford. The end of the song also differs from the studio version in that it tends to lead into a drum solo by Beauford with the band playing a two note "melody" on top. Sometimes, at the end of the song, the tempo will increase greatly.

Among dedicated fans, it is one of the most sought-after songs at live shows. This is attributed not only to the impassioned performance of every band member involved, but its former status as an absolute rarity; from 2000 to 2007, it was only performed seven times. Nearly every performance since 2002 was saved for a "special" occasion pertaining to the concerts' placement in the tour; three performances took place near the end of a tour, and two occurred at Madison Square Garden.

This habit was seemingly broken on August 5, 2008, when the band launched into "Halloween" after repeated crowd chants at a concert in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band followed that performance up by including "Halloween" in the next two concerts. This marked the first time that "Halloween" had been played at three straight Dave Matthews Band concerts since November 1994. "Halloween" was performed five times in the Summer Tour 2008. The song reappeared on June 13, 2009 for its 2009 debut at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) on the second night of a two-night stand in Saratoga Springs, NY and was then performed at their next concert at Riverbend Music Center on June 16, 2009, followed up by it being the last song to be played on the North American leg of the tour at Post-Gazette Pavilion in Burgettstown, PA on June 20, 2009.

In the summer of 2011 Dave Matthews Band declared a year of hiatus from touring after 21 straight summer tours. Although, the band set the stage with just four multi night shows dubbed "The Dave Matthews Band Caravan" in Atlantic City, New York City, Chicago, and the Gorge. On June 26th, 2011, the band came out for their encore set, Matthews played a solo, "Some Devil", and the entire crowd began to chant "Halloween". After faking out the crowd with the "Ants Marching" intro snare by Carter Beauford, the band played "Halloween">"Ants Marching">"Thank You". The festival drew 72,000 fans to Atlantic City alone.

On May 26, 2013, SPAC received "Halloween" for the third time in four years. After the encore closer of Ants Marching, the Saratoga fans repeatedly chanted, "One more song," before the house lights could come up. After a few minutes, the band reemerged and obliged the crowd with the 2013 tour debut of the song. Not only was it the first Summer Tour double encore since July 24, 1994, but it was the first time "Halloween" was ever played as a double encore.

While "Halloween" is still a relatively rare song to get at a live show, it has become considerably more common in recent years.

With the exception of 12/10/05, every "Halloween" played between 2002 and 2008 has been officially released.

Live releases[edit]


  1. ^ Rob Bokon; Andy Bouwman; Matias Niño; Henry Hart. "dmbalmanac.com". Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  2. ^ Delancey, Morgan (2001). The Dave Matthews Band: Step Into The Light. E C W Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-443-6.