Matchbox twenty rocks the Save Mart Center

By Jami Gordillo-Kerby, The Fresno Bee

The Save Mart Center recently was the setting of an electrifying performance by matchbox twenty.

Fountains of Wayne, matchbox twenty's opening band, showed why it is making a mark on the music industry. The New York City-based band is anchored by the singer/songwriter duo Chris Collingwood and Adam Schlesinger. Schlesinger wrote the song from Tom Hanks' rock 'n' roll movie, "That Thing You Do." Schlesinger said the band was named Fountains of Wayne in honor of a New Jersey gift shop.

The Fountains of Wayne leaders sounded as if they were having a great time and they shared their sense of fun with the audience.

At one point, Schlesinger said, "We are so happy to be the first band to play at the new Save Mart Center."

They sang unpretentious, smart and funny songs such as "Mexican Wine," "Bright Future In Sales" and of course, the hit "Stacy's Mom." Fountains of Wayne also shined on such softer ballads as "Valley Winter Song" and "Hackensack." It will be interesting to see how Fountains of Wayne's career continues to evolve.

As for matchbox twenty, words can not describe how amazing the concert was from start to finish. Lead singer Rob Thomas is known for his overwhelming sex appeal thanks to his single "Smooth" with Santana. Maybe it's the way his voice wraps around those heartfelt lyrics. Whatever it is, when Thomas says, "Forget about everything about your job and school, it's just you and me and the music in this room for the next two hours," you listen. It was no surprise that I jumped at the chance to hear matchbox twenty while they were in town.

I really didn't know what to expect, but the band gave more than those two promised hours. If I had any doubts whether the band could entertain the crowd, they were quickly corrected. I love when a band looks like it is having a great time. Thomas seemed a bit shy and a bit surprised by the wild reactions. He kept saying, "I love you beautiful people of Fresno."

This is one of the best, most crowd-pleasing concerts I have seen, thanks in part to the intensity with which Thomas performs. He played it casual, then swayed sexily as he gave into his musical passion. He certainly knows his audience, his voice brimming with passion to the breaking point on "Disease." Backed by guitarists Kyle Cook and Adam Gaynor, bassist Brian Yale, drummer Paul Doucette and a new member on keyboard, the band worked like seasoned pros on tight-knit arrangements of "Mad Season," their current hit "Unwell" and an encore set that included "Real World," "Long Day" and "Push."

matchbox twenty did not disappoint. The audience was blown away by the intensity of the concert at the Save Mart Center. Finally there is a sound system in Fresno that doesn't leave you deaf at the end of a concert. The seats also are great. You have a fantastic view no matter where you sit and you are totally comfortable. I had wonderful experiences with the staff as well, as I was escorted from the moment I arrived until I was seated for the concert. The Save Mart Center at Fresno State has elevated class and culture in Fresno to a higher level. It was great to spend an evening at the Save Mart Center instead of having to travel to San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Las Vegas to see a big-name act.