The Dave Mathews Band is playing weekend shows at The Gorge without its drummer and bass player out of COVID-19 concerns.

Hours before Friday night's show, the band announced on twitter that it would perform in an alternate format because of potential exposure to the virus.

Matthews appeared on stage ahead of opening act Dumpstaphunk and announced that bassist Stefan Lessard and drummer Carter Beauford would not play the weekend shows. Both are founding members of the group.

The Dave Matthews Band has a longstanding tradition of performing Labor Day shows at the Gorge. It released an album and DVD titled The Gorge, which was recorded during its 2002 shows at the outdoor concert venue.

The announcement that this year's shows would be in an 'alternate format' came as a sudden surprise for fans as well as the venue's owner and event promotor Live Nation.

“I hope you’ll bear with us tonight because due to COVID-19, Carter Beauford and Stefan Lessard are not able to be here,” said Matthews while introducing the opening act. “And so we are gonna do our best with our friends to make tonight a beautiful experience for all of you, and I only hope that it can be. But thank you, and I hope that you understand.”

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