MATCHBOX TWENTY CONCERT: Singer knows how to light women's fires

In the real world, men just aren't that sensitive


Attention single men of Las Vegas: You are all stupid for not going to the Matchbox Twenty concert Saturday night. There were 6,000 people there at the Thomas & Mack Center, and at least 5,500 were women over 16. It was like Lilith Fair, post soap.

Pity poor singer Rob Thomas. He couldn't know if all those women were screaming for his big pop-rock hits, or if they just thought he was hot. He can think about that question while he and his wife wallpaper mansions with $1,000 bills.

Actually, Thomas' lyrics seem to speak to volumes of women. In his cigarette-raspy voice, which bounces up and down like a real instrument, he sings about loving women, leaving women and begging for women to come back. To a man's ears, it sounds like he's had a lot of womanly love.

But he writes through a sensitive-guy filter. Most men would write a huffy line, like, "My crazy girlfriend wrote me this stupid note about how I take her for granted. Pfff." But Thomas sings in "Long Day": "It's sitting by the overcoat, the second shelf, the note she wrote, that I can't bring myself to throw away."

Exhibit A: Women write notes. Exhibit B: They want to think men never throw them away.

Manly secret: Typical guys don't keep notes. They barely read them.

In the new ballad, "If You're Gone," Thomas sings again in a sweet way meant for women's ears:

"If you're gone, baby, you need to come home, 'cuz there's a little bit of something me in everything in you. I bet you're hard to get over. I bet the room just won't shine."

There are guys all over, reading that line, and laughing or gagging. But this writing style allows Thomas to 1) make his case that she should stay with him because they share something special, and 2) express his love to keep her ears open.

Besides, how many women like the idea that if they stay away from Mr. Maybe, he will wilt into oblivion without her love? (Actually, with all the evil stalkers in the world, there might be more men than women who wish their former lovers would suffer from broken hearts.)

Few men in real life could get away with Thomas' lines. But he is a rock star, not a folk singer, plus he sings kind of gruffy, and he's inaccessible, so these three macho things keep him from seeming like a cloying loser simp.

Plus, I think he's genuine about it. He kept urging everyone in Friday's crowd to be nice people now and forever.

It seems that a lot of guys in the world are jealous of Thomas' reportedly good looks, but they probably don't dig his music, either. To generalize yet again, men like manly men songs about men shooting men, and stuff like that. Also, music sung by hot, naked chicks.

The five main band members who play behind Thomas are relegated to carrying the easy rhythm of Matchbox songs, even on the hits, "3am," "Push" and "Long Day." This is because Thomas is a singer-songwriter who has the job of moving most of the melodies up and down. If you pump a bunch of rock guitar leads over that, the music could die in the traffic.

But for a band, the players don't score much famous time. The guitarist didn't get many women's eyes trained on him, not even when he played guitar in their faces while Thomas had his back turned, way on the other side of the stage.

It's either commendable or uh-oh time when a bunch of guys in a band play uncomplicated wallpaper to the leading man's smiling mug. It makes you wonder what's next for the band, or how many years they can go on raking in cash before Thomas goes solo, not that there are any rumors to that effect.

Plus, in the meantime, band members get to check out all the lovely ladies in attendance. See. Thomas never would have written that horribly objectifying sentence.