Dispatch From Wimpy
Over the weekend veteran jam-pop trio Dispatch reunited for three sold-out shows at New Yorks Madison Square Garden. The groups reunion shows marked Dispatchs first proper performances since 2004 and the groups first New York appearance since headlining New Yorks Central Park SummerStage in the summer of 2002 (which featured an upcoming set by a then unknown singer/songwriter named Jack Johnson). Growing out of the sense of activism the group championed while regularly selling out the Wetlands, Dispatch donated all of their profits to families in Zimbabwe, where guitarist Chad Urmston spent time before meeting his bandmates at Middlebury College.
After warming up with an intimate show at New Yorks Webster Hall Wednesday, Dispatch made its arena debut Friday at the Garden. The evening opened with a performance by American Idol stars the African Children’s Choir, who also sang with Dispatch on numbers like Elias and Bang Bang. Throughout the weekend the trio expanded its lineup at various points to include a full horn section and guest percussionists, also braking out rare numbers such as What Do You Wanna Be and Bulletholes. While all three nights featured unique setlists, certain segments remained constant throughout the weekend. Halfway through their show each night the group rolled its old van, Wimpy, into the center of the Gardens floor and played acoustically on its roof. In between songs Dispatch also showed custom made videos describing the current situation in Zimbabwe. Each night the group played a bit longer, culminating with a 28-song set Sunday that stretched over three hours. The gig ended with a three song encore consisting of War, which Bob Marley helped popularize, Outloud and The General, the song which brought Dispatch to fame during the Napster-era. For more on Dispatch, please read senior editor Mike Greenhaus feature in the June issue of Relix.