It was a hot and humid evening at The Tweeter Center in Tinley Park just outside of Chicago for this matchbox twenty show, and as I was escorted through the area where all of the busses for the band are kept, on my way to take the photo pit, it occurred to me that Iíll bet they arenít using Vince Gillís bus anymore. I also wondered if they still sang "Always and Forever" before each show like they did way back when. Back when was in 1997, right when "Push" started to hit the radio waves and matchbox twenty (then matchbox 20) played before about 200 people at a little bar called Schubaís in Chicago, and Adam had long hair. That was then. Now they have a fleet of busses, now they were on a stage where the band could actually move while they played, now they have sold millions of albums, and now they play in front of thousands. Some things have changed but one thing hasnít, matchbox twenty still puts on a great show, although this time with a few less surprises.
Opening with the trio of "Crutch," "Real World," and "Girl Like That," I also couldnít help but wonder if the band had gotten boring and would just kind of go through the motions. That was far from the case as everyone but Paul, stuck behind his drum kit, strolled the entire stage, slapping hands with the fans in the crowd, letting people sing along, and just seemed to be having fun like they always did. And what really helps at a show like this is that itís obvious the crowd were fans of their CDís and not just their singles. You could see people singing along to songs like "Last Beautiful Girl" and "Rest Stop", neither of which has had any radio play, as well as keeping pace with the matchbox twenty standards like "Push" and "Bent."
Keeping things fresh has usually been one of matchbox twentyís strong points, although this time they slipped just a tad, at least in my eyes. And why do I feel that way? One of the things I always looked forward to at a matchbox twenty show was them doing goofy covers, but this time goofy was not the call. Sure, they did a cover of "Remedy" where Rob forgot a verse, and there was a decent version of John Lennonís "Watching the Wheels" which I question being a sing-a-long as Rob pronounced it, but those were pretty tame compared to songs like "Mercy, Mercy Me",
"Eye of the Tiger", and "Mama, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" which Iíve heard them do before. Maybe itís just me.
In any case, Rob, Adam, Kyle, Brian, and Paul (at least Iím pretty sure it was Paul Ė he was almost in a disguise with a baseball cap and sunglasses on) still know how to put on a great show and the addition of horns and keyboards continues to add a little more spice to their show. Rob got to do some piano playing, made fun of The Tweeter Center being called The "Tweeter" Center, and dedicated "If Youíre Gone" to those people who had already left when the band came out for their encore.
And even though I was disappointed in their not doing goofy covers I still had a blast, but always more importantly the crowd had a blast and they didnít seem to miss covers like I did. Itís TWO "I Miss The Goofy Covers" THUMBS UP!!
In addition to matchbox twenty I also got to see another of my favorite bands in the likes of Train, even if it was only for three songs, but at least I got to listen to the rest of their set. Train was opening for the matchbox twenty boys, and as such their set was a little short, eight songs short in fact, and I still sometimes question their set list. They opened with "Something More" off of their latest CD, and kicked right into "Meet Virginia" so the crowd could get right into the show.
And continuing with "Sheís on Fire" seemed like a good call as well as their always-fabulous cover of Zeppelinís "Ramble On." But I still question using the mellow "Getaway" in a set list which, although a good song, seems like it can easily take a crowd unfamiliar with all of your music right out of the show (I canít be sure if that happened as I was within earshot but not eyeshot at this point of the show), but thatís my take on the song. It wouldnít take long for the crowd to get what they really wanted, though, as a couple of songs later "Drops of Jupiter" filled the air and the crowd sang along at full will.
Trainís set was short and I only got to see them for three songs, such is the life of a photographer/reviewer sometimes, but it was good seeing them on a big olí stage where they could spread their wings a little more. Still putting on a good show, even for only eight songs, and itís TWO "Good to See Them Again" THUMBS UP!!
Thatís it for this one! Iím The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!