Matchbox Twenty bring Milwaukee back a decade

It’s been years since we’ve seen a peep out of one of the late 90’s most popular pop bands. Matchbox Twenty has been around here and there, releasing a greatest hits compilation in ’07, and also Rob Thomas’ solo endeavors, but nothing significant as a whole.

2012’s North marked a milestone for Matchbox Twenty. Having not released a new album in ten years, Matchbox Twenty fans were ecstatic, because a new album more often than not means a new tour.

Gracing Milwaukee with a sold out Riverside Theater show and other planned dates around the world, Matchbox Twenty is going all out for this one. They’re bringing along new pop sensation Phillip Phillips for some opening support, which couldn’t have worked out any better.

Phillips too had just released an album in late 2012, it being his debut fresh off Idol. He’s starting to be known as a very upbeat singer and guitar player. There were no issues getting the fans to dance around and sing along to his original, “Home” as well as a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”. Even without his band, Phillips could’ve accompanied himself and the crowd would have loved it just the same.

Matchbox Twenty started out new with “Parade” off North. Some bands have issues getting fans to dig new music after such a successful era in their career, but fortunately for Matchbox Twenty they aren’t one of them. It seems like fans love North just as much as the hits from earlier times, even if they did grow up in the late 90’s.

“We have you for the next couple of hours,” shouted Thomas, “we will give you the best tonight you could possibly have!”

The mostly middle aged crowd was having the most fun I’ve seen this demographic have in a while. There were also some younger faces of the teen generation who also grew up with this music being a big part of their lives. They’ve all grown up now, including the band, but luckily for Matchbox Twenty it’s for the better.

They’re still amazing together, which leaves me questioning where this kind of pop music went. After the early 2000’s it almost died out due to other styles of pop rolling in. I think Matchbox Twenty’s return is a signal that some would love to see it reignited.

Matchbox Twenty are still super energetic headed by Rob Thomas, a guy who really knows how to get the crowd moving. Thanks to such timeless music this is one of the best shows I’ve been to this year. There wasn’t a song that the crowd didn’t know or sing along to and that speaks a lot for this generation and the generation of radio.

Most of the earlier parts of the setlist were the huge smash hits from the late 90’s, songs that meant something to a lot of people there.

Thomas talked about the 90’s and “hovering over the radio waiting for the DJ to shut up so you could press record,” and growing up without the type of instant music that we’ve all grown accustomed to. Of course they had to play “Radio” to follow that up.

During one of Kyle Cook’s guitar solo’s Rob Thomas grabbed a fans cellphone, got up close to Cook, and recorded most of the blistering solo. I’m sure that fan was more than thrilled to have that kind of footage to show off to all his friends on Monday.

After 21 songs most bands would call it a night. Matchbox Twenty called that their encore point. Taking a few minutes to recoup after that long run, Matchbox Twenty came back for a four-song encore. “We’re going to do a cover, this is the song of our childhood right here,” Thomas explained, just before starting into R.E.M.’s “The One I Love”.

These guys were great, and if they keep this up they just might regain the steam they had 15 years ago. I have no complaints.

Matchbox Twenty

Parade – Bent – Disease – She’s So Mean – How Far We’ve Come – 3 AM – Real World – Girl Like That – If You’re Gone – Overjoyed – All Your Reasons – Long Day – I Will – Long Day – Unwell – Radio – Stay With Me (Faces cover) – So Sad So Lonely – English Town – The Way – Bright Lights – Sleeping At The Wheel – Put Your Hands Up – Back 2 Good – The One I Love (R.E.M. cover) – Push

Phillip Phillips

Hold On – Tell Me A Story – Thriller – Fool’s Dance – Home

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