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
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
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
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.