Matchbox Twenty at Pechanga – Review by Nadine Smith
If you were anywhere else other than at the Pechanga Casino & Resort’s new Summer Concert Series first show starring Matchbox Twenty on July 9, 2011, well then, you were most definitely in the wrong place! There were no stars visible in the night sky, because all the stars were on the stage. Under the pale moonlight on a warm summer night, the boys of Matchbox Twenty rocked my world! The crowd of 4,500 fans filled the sold out venue, and excitement filled the air.
With Ryan MacMillan pounding the hell out of the drums, HOW FAR WE’VE COME was the perfect opening song. When Paul, Kyle and Pookie came in with the guitars, shivers went up my spine. When Rob started to sing, the magic of Matchbox Twenty began. The band moved around on the stage, making sure everyone got a good view, and Rob even did a sexy little dance on my side of the stage. See the YouTube video posted by dialynboo below to see this absolutely fantastic opening number. The energy coming from the stage was contagious. Or maybe it was the energy from the crowd. Whatever it was, the air was filled with it!
They went right in to 3AM, which I wasn’t expecting until later in the show. Watching Rob sing that song is amazing, because his facial expressions make it seem like he is trying to tell you a story, not just sing a song. He has such expressive eyes, and he draws you right in to the story. The best word to describe this song is captivating. Although my eyes were mainly on Rob for this one, dialynboo posted a video that gives a more balanced view of the stage.
This song always stops me in my tracks, and I think of a young Rob and his mother when I hear it. He did not disappoint with this rendition.
The third song of the night was REAL WORLD, and I focused my attention on Kyle, Pookie, and Paul for this one. The guitar playing in this song is excellent. I loved watching them play, especially Pookie. Maybe because I have a crush on Pookie. Oh wait, I thought I had a crush on Rob. No, it’s Paul, definitely Paul. But Kyle is so cute, and he totally rocks that hair. Maybe he is the one? You will have to decide for yourself. Watch the video for this song below, again posted by dialynboo.
Paul destroyed guitar strings during the fourth song, DISEASE. He changed guitars several times during this song, probably because he is such an aggressive guitarist. He is truly gifted and it’s hard to take your eyes off of him. I think this a very sexy song, and Rob did some seductive hip shaking that made it even hotter. Although this video doesn’t cover the entire song, watch it and you will see what I mean about those hips. MichelleWritesSings posted this partial video.
There was a little confusion on stage before the fifth song, ALL I NEED, was played. Kyle didn’t think that was the next song, but Rob assured him it was. Their banter before the song was amusing. I just love this song, and I was so glad they played it. It has a Roy Orbison feel to it, but with the Matchbox Twenty signature style. Another posting by dialynboo captured the pre-song banter and the entire song.
Rob picked up a guitar and joined the rest of the band for the sixth song, THE DIFFERENCE. This beautiful ballad was voted as a fan pick weeks before the show, and since I voted for this one, I was happy that it made the list. Pookie had some sexy moves of his own during this song. The way he moved his shoulders and hips was just so…yum. Why couldn’t I get my eyes off of Pookie? Check out the video posted by mamak2002 to see if you agree with me.
The seventh song, I’LL BELIEVE YOU WHEN, was dedicated to the husbands and guys in long term relationships in the audience. Apparently we women sometimes have attitudes towards our guys when they fuck up- I mean, mess up. This is such a fun song, and everyone on stage seemed to be very familiar with the lyrics of the song, like they’ve lived it or something. Well, they are guys, so, yeah, they probably have been in this boat before. The video posted by MichelleWritesSings captured most of the song. The guys really looked like they had fun with this one.
Before playing the eighth song, Rob asked everyone in the audience to have a seat. He then asked where a particular fan was, one who had tweeted him several times. This fan was a soldier and when Rob said that, the soldier got standing ovation. That brought tears to my eyes. It was very touching to see Rob stop the concert and put the focus on an American hero. He dedicated IF YOU’RE GONE to the soldier and his wife. He then told he soldier that he was now sure with 99.99% certainty that his wife would sleep with him tonight. (The soldier’s wife would sleep with the soldier, not with Rob. You know what I mean.) Although this video doesn’t include the dedication, and it is a distant shot, it does have great audio. Thanks to mafairless for posting this on YouTube.
THESE HARD TIMES was next up, and the video by carlottap63 shows that this one was beautifully done. Rob’s heartfelt voice is what made me fall in love with Matchbox Twenty, and this song highlights that voice. I find this song almost hauntingly beautiful, and I was so happy to hear it live.
The tempo of the concert was changed when Rob described the next song as “a really, really happy song about someone you hate”. ALL YOUR REASONS is very upbeat and fun. Rob came to our side of the stage and climbed up on the metal support beam singing his heart out the whole time. That was a great moment! Then my eyes found Matt Beck, the keyboard player and guitarist. He is an amazingly talented musician, and all you had to do was look at him to see the proof. He was holding (wearing) not one, but two guitars. (Okay, one of them probably was not a guitar, but it had strings and was shaped like a guitar. I don’t play any instruments, so if it has strings on it and it’s shaped like a guitar, then it’s a guitar!) He switched instruments during the song. I never saw anyone do that before, so I was floored. Watch the first video by jaydudeyoshi below to see Matt with two guitars.
Watch the video posted by dialynboo below to see Rob hanging from the metal support.
Rob acknowledged the people sitting in the back of the venue before starting LONG DAY. I love it when artists say hello to the people in the back seats, as that is usually where I end up sitting! Nobody WANTS to sit there; sometimes it is just the luck of the draw. Although, I have to say that the back seats at Pechanga were pretty damn good seats! Kyle has a great solo during LONG DAY, and I was lucky to sit on his side of the stage so I got to watch him play all night long. He looked so cool in his sunglasses and pooffed hair, just like a rock star! Oh, wait…he is a rock star! He is another tremendously talented guy who is amazing to watch. Jaydudeyoshi posted this video:
Watch the video of BENT by barb613 to experience the excitement the crowd had when Rob climbed the metal support on the other side of the stage. He has so much charisma that it’s hard to contain yourself when he is close by. Listen to the ladies squeal with pleasure when he is near them. We were doing the same when he was on our side! Although the video is sideways for some of the recording, watch it. There are some great shots of Rob here! This is one of my favorite MB20 songs, so the fact that they sang it made me so happy!
BACK 2 GOOD was next on the list, and this is a melancholy song that makes me feel like Rob is trying to explain something to us. He had a wistful look on his face, like he was reliving something from his past. It is a beautiful, moody song. the video posted by MichelleWritesSings.
I was bummed that Rob didn’t have a real piano for BRIGHT LIGHTS. I so wanted to see Kyle jump on top of it and rock that guitar! Instead, Rob had a little keyboard. He commented that Vanesssa Carlton, the fabulous opening act, had a real piano. I do believe I detected a bit of piano envy! I could hear the strain in Rob’s voice during this song, but it didn’t affect the quality of the presentation at all. Kyle played as only Kyle can, cool and hot at the same time. Mmmm mmmm! Ryan was wailing away on the drums, his hands a virtual blur. Paul was thrashing his guitar, making me wish I was sitting closer to him so that I could watch him more closely. His technique fascinates me and I wish I could hear him play alone so I could hear exactly what sound comes out of that guitar when he plays it like that! Pookie was all smooth, dancing with his bass guitar, feeling every note. There was so much action on the stage! This is my favorite MB20 song of all time and they played the hell out of it. Thank you, thank you Matchbox Twenty! Watch the video posted by mafairlessto see the band in action.
After BRIGHT LIGHTS the boys left the stage for a few minutes to catch a break and have a quick drink before coming back for a four song encore. We fans didn’t stop clapping, shouting and woo-hooing until the band was back on stage. I hope they felt the love we were sending their way!
We didn’t have to wait long for the band to come back on stage. They began the encore set with the fifteenth song of the evening, UNWELL. Kyle played the opening notes that we all know so well, and Rob’s eyes were hard at work again, conveying the meaning of the song to the crowd.
When I heard Matt play the opening notes of the next song, I knew we were in for a real treat. An INXS hit was next on the list! Rob encouraged the audience to put their hands in the air as they began to play DON’T CHANGE. I was hoping they would play an INXS song! The guys really did a great job with that song! Let’s face it, they play everything well. The video posted by suzeloeffler shows how great their cover was.
Kyle was the featured player for SO SAD SO LONELY and he played some quite sexy notes during the song. Even Rob commented on how sexy that guitar sounded! Rob’s hips were moving in a pretty sexy way throughout the song, too. For a guy who thought the song was “lame, lame, lame” on the original CD, Pookie played his heart out.
Before the last song, Rob asked everyone if they had a good time and then mentioned how much the love from the audience meant to them. He said that the band was in the studio and they wondered “if anyone gave a shit.” That statement floored me! Of course we give a shit! People who weren’t there give a shit! “How could they even wonder that,” I wondered to myself! With that, Matchbox Twenty began the eighteenth and final song of the night, PUSH. As excited as I was to hear it, I was sad because I knew it would be that last song that they would play. I wouldn’t be able to hit the REPLAY button. I listened to every note of this extraordinary song and sang with the audience. I cried with happiness when it was over. I knew I had been part of a very special night, one that I was so happy to have traveled 2,500 miles to see and feel. Because that was not just a concert that I saw, it was an experience!
I tried to put the whole concert together for you in videos. There are many more videos available from that night on YouTube, so check them all out. Until their new album comes out, I will replay this concert on video and relive it over and over again.
If you ever are anywhere near where Matchbox Twenty will be performing (or within a 2,500 mile radius), I highly recommend getting tickets and going to see them play. They are so wonderful on stage, and worth every penny you will spend. The time will fly, but the memories will last for a lifetime!
I also had the opportunity to meet all the band members, except for Rob, as they were walking through the Pechanga hotel. But that’s a story for another article…