Matchbox 20's Thomas flawless behind the mic

by Corey Moss
Daily Staff Writer

A flawless performance by singer Rob Thomas Saturday night at Stephens Auditorium turned the alternative rock cabin that is Matchbox 20 into a mansion of musical emotion.

Thomas's voice, which perfectly blended the comfort and intimacy of a club show with the power and prowess of an arena concert, was undoubtedly the story of the nigh, as it treated fans to such gems as "3 a.m." and "Real World."

Matchbox 20 took the stage to the beat of "Busted," one of the darker tracks on the band's debut, "Yourself Or Someone Like You."

Thomas proved he came to play from the start as he distorted his voice by singing through a CB handset for most of the song.

The effect was perfect for "Busted" and matched the alterna-atmosphere set by the artsy video played prior to the band's entrance.

Matchbox 20 continued into "Girl Like That," which was sparked by a catchy guitar hook and the chorus, "But it's better than nothing."

"The weather outside is frightful, but inside it's not so bad," Thomas said before breaking into "Real World," the next single from "Yourself Or Someone Like You."

As his Eddie Vedder eyes grazed the auditorium, Thomas entered into the beautiful ballad,"Shame," perhaps the most well-timed song of the night.

He managed to ruin any heartwarming moments, however, by announcing that the next song was about "something very special, something very dear to us -- it's about trying to get laid."

Matchbox 20 then entered into "Damn," which featured an amazing guitar solo by Kyle Cook.

Thomas followed "Damn" with a short solo that led into "3 a.m." Matchbox 20 easily captured the feel of the song on the record and then some.

Bassist Brian Yale finished the tune on a funky bass line that Thomas used as the backing of a cover of the classic Temptations song "Mercy Mercy Me."

The band continued to jam through "Yourself Or Someone Like You" tracks, throwing in a few new tunes, both of which were heavier on the guitars and laced with danceable rhythms.

The summer anthem "Push" ended Matchbox 20's first set in amazing grace and style.

With the crowd on their knees, Thomas returned to the stage with a guitar in hand and played through the first verse of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time."

He was then joined by Cool For August singer Gordon Vaughn for a dynamic duo of melody and harmony, which made "Time After Time" the most powerful song of the night.

The band returned for another new song and the closing "Long Day," in which Thomas remarkably opened yet another door into his heart.

As the song came to an end, Thomas ad libbed the words "It's snowing here in Iowa. I bet it's snowing all over the world."

With a singer of Thomas's caliber behind the mic, Matchbox 20 will be standing tall for years to come.