Monday, September 10, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 13


Matchbox's energetic set captivates audience

By Ed De La Garza
Daily Cougar Staff

Matchbox twenty is a guilty pleasure.

Considering his band's success, it would have been easy for Rob Thomas and company to turn in a less-than-inspired performance Saturday at the
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion. But following an energetic 18-song set, there's no denying matchbox twenty is a rock band above all else.

From the opening strains of "Crutch" to the closing notes of "Push," the audience, which surprisingly included entire families (a testament to
matchbox twenty's widespread appeal), showed its appreciation by singing along to nearly every song -- even the covers the band chose to perform.

Using a "less-is-more" attitude, the band's sole rock star moment came in during "Mad Season," itself a comment on commercial excess. Leaving
Kyle Cook, Adam Gaynor, Brian Yale and Paul Doucette to play alone, Thomas spent the opening moments singing the song backstage, popping
back out mid-song. It could have been Thomas' attempt to emphasize the band first.

Walter Coreas/The Daily Cougar

Train lead singer Pat Monahan plays percussion during the band's live performance Saturday. Train's opening set threatened to steal the show from
headliners matchbox twenty.

But that attempt was shattered during the encore. Thomas went on stage first, accompanied only by an acoustic guitar, and performed a sterling
rendition of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time." Cook eventually joined him to sing backup, but there was no mistaking Thomas was the star.

Though its hits "3 am," "Bent" and "Push" received the loudest responses, it was the unexpected covers and a significantly altered version of "Angry"
that brought the crowd to their feet. The Black Crowes' "Remedy" and Bob Dylan's "All Along The Watchtower" (really a cover of Jimi Hendrix'
version) were performed with all the care of a band that had studied its heroes.

Despite its critics, matchbox twenty shouldn't have to make any apologies. The multi-platinum <I>Yourself Or Someone Like You<P> and <I>Mad
Season<P> are successful because the band writes and performs music people identify with. Even its harshest detractors may have a different
perception of the band after seeing it live.

While matchbox twenty has a built-in audience, opening band Train needs to show "Drops of Jupiter" and "Meet Virginia" are signs of things to come
and not just its 15 minutes of fame.

With a simple painted banner featuring its logo, Train took the stage and proceeded to give notice that matchbox twenty had better perform a
lights-out show if it wanted to reclaim its concert.

Starting with "She's On Fire," the band's mix of soulful melodies and eclectic rhythms had the crowd pumped for the rest of the night. Lead singer Pat
Monahan was part Robert Plant and part Mick Jagger, displaying just the right mix of swagger and warmth.

"Something More" accomplished the daunting task of being as intimate as a pavilion setting will allow a song to be. If it's possible to serenade
thousands of people at once, then Monahan did a great job.

The band's cover of Led Zeppelin's "Ramble On" was timeless, just like its music.

Texas native David Garza started the evening with most of the crowd barely filing in. His short set did a good job of introducing the crowd to his mix
of blues and folk.

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