Originally, Typical Situation was one of the few core songs from Dave Matthews' early solo repertoire, inspired from by the poem "Prayer in the Pentagon", by Robert
Dederick (see lyrics). When the full band formed, the song served as one of their first developments of musical collaboration and quickly became a feature performance at shows.
During its early period (1992-1993), the song featured an instrumental improv intro, a stop-time breakdown, and frequently slotted as opener, closer, and encore. The song was also a versatile candidate for segues, especially in the famous early triple segue of Minarets > Blue Water > Typical Situation. Eventually replacing Blue Water in the segue, Minarets > Typical Situation became one of the great 1-2 combos of the early years.
In early 1994, Dave regularly began evolving an optional short vocal intro. While the exact words occasionally alternated, the theme eventually solidified into:
"She stands/stares alone,
And a tear fall from her chin...
She wonders, after all these years.
All this time, all this work to find it...
All comes down to nothing..."
In 1997, with Bela Fleck guesting on the song, the stop time intro was extended into an elaborate alternate riff that became a crowd favorite.
During the 99 Dave and Tim tour, Dave mentions how someone had pointed out to him that there are indeed four oceans, not seven. Dave went on to explain that what he meant was the seven seas of the ancient world, but "oceans" sounded better. A couple of years later, he would go on to alternate this line into "Seven seas pummel, the shores of you and me", and eventually settled on "Seven days it took to make the world, if you believe".
It was confirmed by Stefan to be the opener of the first ever full band show on 3.14.91
Tim Reynolds - acoustic guitar
Steve Forman - percussion