Matchbox 20

THANK GOD FOR ROB THOMAS --- Matchbox 20’s front man Rob Thomas has pretty much saved pop music as far as I’m concerned. In the last ten years or so, his work with Carlos Santana, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson, Mick Jagger, Marc Anthony, Pat Green, Taylor Hicks, Travis Tritt and Daughtry, has essentially made him the #1 go-to-guy in the biz. His success with his band Matchbox 20 has been rather unparalleled as well; their singles “Push,” “3 A.M.,” “Real World,” “Bent,” “Unwell,” “How Far We’ve Come,” and “She’s So Mean,” are all great works.

Besides all that talent (and, I particularly loved his work with Jagger) he’s a great guy; terrifically knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor. I've bumped into him at events like the Tribeca Film Festival and various movie premieres around town. His savvy manager Michael Lippman (who’s managed almost everybody … including David Bowie in the 80’s) has established him as a first rate artist; singing, writing …. He seemingly does it all. 

I caught him with the band last week in Saratoga Springs, of all places, with the Goo Goo Dolls, for the sure-fire-bet of the summer (sorry Monkees!) at the Saratoga Performing Arts venue … a shed with sumptuous acoustics. First a word about the Dolls (who have a brand new album, Magnetic, released last week) … phenomenal. Johnny Rzeznik and crew are another terrific band; very atmospheric and marvelously dramatic. Remember their “Iris” song from 1998’s City of Angels film?

Just a terrific band, formed in Buffalo in 1986. Several tracks from the new album were previewed, including a great track, their current single, “Rebel Beat.” Bassist Robby Takac was terrific; securely anchoring each track and their drummer, Mike Malinin, just spot-on terrific. 

The sold out crowd loved them. As Matchox 20 took to the stage (amid an array of green lighting, the crowd went ecstatic.

The band, which was originally formed in Orlando, Florida, in 1995, comprises Thomas, drummer Paul Doucette; guitarists Kyle Cook and Brian Yale and drummer Ryan MacMillan and Matt Beck, are collectively one formidable unit. 

I've seen them many, many times in the past, but with some time off; and, having releasing their most recent album North, they've seemingly been recharged, as they sounded stronger than ever. Beginning with “Parade,” “Bent,” “3 A.M.,” and “How Far We’ve Come,” they were just outstanding. 

“So Sad, So Lonely” and “Unwell” were undoubtedly the highlights of the show as Thomas sounded stronger than ever and the band perfectly in sync. Thomas commented several times on the fact that their fans’ support was the reason they kept on doing what they do; I can tell you firsthand that he does applaud and appreciate the support from his fans. When he says that … he really does mean it. 

“Push” was the perfect encore to a stellar show. Outstanding show; outstanding bands!