Matchbox Has Risers Shaking In Fargodome

By Ashley Marek
The Forum

They’ve been described as "middle-of-the-road" for making records for people who think Eminem is a joke but can’t wait for the Backstreet Boys to get out of rehab. But judging by the crowd’s enthusiasm at Tuesday’s concert, Matchbox Twenty took up both lanes.

After a week of rehearsal in Fargo, Matchbox Twenty launched their U.S. summer tour at the Fargodome with Train and Old 97’s in tow.

The risers were shaking well into Train’s set during which the San Francisco-based quintet successfully put a new groove to a cover of Led Zepplin’s "Ramble On."

As the first few bars of "Drops of Jupiter" fell over the crowd, the group poured every last drop of energy they had into their finale.

The Van Halen classics played between bands were received less warmly.

All animosity for ‘80s rock was forgotten as Matchbox Twenty crept onstage to plenty of foot stomping and wild cheering on the crowd’s part.

They launched into "Real World," one of their eight million hit songs, and the audience was on its feet.

They were definitely the "head honchos" at the dome.

There was just one problem: It’s difficult to take seriously a band singing about wanting to push people around, when their stage presence is more, "I wanna hold your hand."

Thomas called the show, "a bunch of guys just playing some songs." That summed it up pretty well. Though bassist Brian Yale was the exception to this. He was jumping around even on the slow songs.

The stage setup, along with any sort of rock-star gyrations on the band’s part, was minimal, except for enough flashy lights to land a 747 in a dust storm.

But you can’t overlook the group’s obvious flair for writing and performing songs that sell. Their songs are, well, catchy.

And it was impossible to see the stage through the waving arms and swaying hips during "Bent," and "3 a.m.," not to mention during the slow, easy groove of "Mad Season."

Throw in a cover of The Black Crowes’ "Remedy," and you’ve got a solid show.

Tame, but solid.

But I guess not all rock concerts have to result in mosh-pit sweat and bruises.