Rob Thomas Concert Review

I have seen Matchbox twenty in concert about half a dozen times over the years. No wonder - they are my second favourite band. When it comes to Rob Thomas, their lead singer and principal songwriter, he is my second favourite singer so you can imagine the thill of watching him recently in concert and from the front row mind you.

I was a bit apprehensive tough. Of course I bought and listen to "Something To Be", Rob's solo effort, a multi-platinum No 1. record, but nowhere near as the rest of the Matchbox Twenty CD's. There are a few songs that I really like but quite a few times I go for the skip button. Something that never happens when I listen to Matchbox when every one of their 3 studio albums just flows.

So how was it going to be? Was I going to sit there in front row and wait for him to sing Matchbox songs? I was wondering how many of the 10.000 people that packed the Sydney Entertainment Centre had that feeling.

Well two and a half hours later - I can safely say that I wasn't disappointed. On the contrary.

But let's start from the beginning. No, let's skip the opening band, by far an large the most boring opening act I have seen, fronted by a girl-singer in a demure dress and even more demure voice. They sang the same song 6 times in that half hour, I swear. Maybe that's why when Rob hit the stage with "Something To Be" the crowd exploded.

After that it just flowed.

The set was almost all the songs from his solo album. The ones I love such as, "Lonely No More" for which Rob said "I just wanted to write a shake ass song". Or "I am an illusion" "Problem girl", "Falling to Pieces" and "Streetcorner Symphony". The ones I skip such as, "Ever the Same", "When the Heartache Ends" combined with a few songs that didn't make the cut, "You Know Me", "Not Just A Woman" (very Matchbox!), and "Dear Joan".

Matchbox Twenty was presented of course with acoustic rendition of "If You're Gone" and Hang as well as the jazz version of "3 am" and funky "The Difference". Push was there as well, performed in the best Matchbox arena fashion (not bad!) with the crowd singing every single verse.

The song that everyone expected was definitely the highlight of the show. "Smooth" of course, maybe the coolest song ever written. Rob lowered the tempo a few notches and extended it into 10 minutes fantastic sounding southern flavoured swing.

The covers didn't disappoint either: Wonderwall by Oasis, which Rob dedicated to a couple of Rob's fans that got engaged right there on stage (Rob and everyone else had a blast watching the guy proposing to his shocked girlfriend) and then "Let's Dance" by David Bowie which sounded really cool.

Rob was playing acoustic guitar for most of the set and piano was wheeled in for him to perform 3 am and a couple of other songs. The backup band ("My other band", as Rob put it) was 4 piece with virtuoso guitarist who to whom Rob threw a couple of Eddie Van Halen solos and virtuoso drummer who was accompanied Rob front stage during "If You're Gone" and a couple of other songs. There were 3 backup singers as well. The stage was impressive for me at least but not for some. "This looks like bathroom tile wall mom!" said my daughter but was forced to change her mind when the lighting started doing its magic.

Of course - in between the songs we got Rob's banter peppered with profanities but extremely funny and laid back. He had the audience in stitches several times.

The show had two encores (Sydney loves Rob and Matchbox, no wonder they come back so many times) and finished furiously with "This Is How The Heart Breaks"

All in all - Rob put on a pretty laid back show as opposed to the Matchbox thundering rock concert but still very good. I really enjoyed it but what I enjoyed the most was watching my 15-year-old starstruck son. That was his first adult concert. He loves Rob Thomas and he had the time of his life.