Appearing on a ledge up above the rest of the band, Rob Thomas surveyed the hometown crowd at the T.D. Waterhouse Center, which he jokingly insisted upon calling the Orlando Arena. Matchbox Twenty came to please their fans, new and old, and the crowd seemed pleased indeed.
A windfall must have befallen these Orlando guys since they "made it big"- their stage set is a phenomenal display. Six large light boxes hung overheard, changing color and lighting throughout the performance. Huge video screens stood behind the drum set. Though the screen originally showed relatively unoriginal graphics, they were later used to show appropriate video and ask thought-provoking questions. Whatever they showed, they were amazingly big and bright and definitely added an interesting element to the set.
Matchbox Twenty seemed to not notice the huge screens, but rather spent the vast majority of their evening catering to their fans. While I am quite certain that Rob Thomasí tight pinstripe pants made many of the girls in attendance happy, I am also just as certain that mentions of local spots where the band used to play and songs written in Winter Park helped create the "local boys hit it big" feeling.
As for the music, the band played all of their radio hits the crowd craved, but no one seemed at all disappointed to hear many other songs, both new and old. They played a new song, "Soul", from their new album "More Than You Think You Are," early into the set and the sound quality was crisp and clean.
Thomasí voice doesnít vary at all from the voice you might hear tomorrow through your car stereo speakers. His vocals were pure and strong throughout the evening, despite a rumored attack of laryngitis the evening before.
Despite a few technical sound problems in the show, the true shining quality of the evening was musicianship. The drummer, Paul Doucette, comes out from behind his set to play the piano. Thomas also plays the piano and credits Doucette for writing "Could I Be You?" on their new album. The guitar work from Kyle Cook begins to shine when the band gets into their feeling. His guitar solos are nothing short of excellent. In fact, his standing on a piano while Thomas played reminded me of Slash in an old Guns N Roses pose- and I mean that as a compliment!
The hit songs (Real World, 3 AM, If Youíre Gone, Bent) were all present in a set that was nothing short of a marathon 2 hours. The encore included a joking rendition in which Thomas sounded amazingly like Mark McGrath when they parodied Sugar Rayís "When Itís Over." Matchbox Twenty ended the evening with a powerful rendition of "Push", no doubt giving fans a little bit of just about everything they came to see.
By April Keiffer - Orlando Florida Guide - All Rights Reserved.