Matchbox Twenty back in Manchester 2013
April 20th 2013, Manchester Apollo, England.
No support act? Then just played for longer. And they did. In your face.
Beautiful spring evening and the O2 Apollo is sold out. Swarming with young, old, and folks like me stuck right in the middle, the place was abuzz with anticipation of a great show. Five years is too long. Manchester has normally been the penultimate night for Matchbox when they hit the UK and tonight was no different.
By 20:00 the place was packed. By 20:30 everyone just wanted the show to start. The lights went out and through the whispers of smoke that filled the air, the silhouettes of Rob, Kyle, Brian and Paul entered stage right.
Kyle, flooded in spotlight, opened the show and the opening guitar of ‘Parade’ rang out. Needless to say, the crowd went wild. Through the rapturous applause, ‘Bent’ smashed through the amps. But as Paul seamlessly hammered on the strings for ‘Disease’, all we heard was ‘Wait, wait…I’m bleeding!’ Although the guys tried to play on, Rocky went down. After some gentle triage, a plaster on the nose and a little ‘count me in’ from the lead singer, Disease got under way.
‘She’s So Mean’ sounded unsurprisingly great, and who doesn’t want to hear ‘How Far We’ve Come’ and see Paul beating up his floor toms? The plaster was done. Then the guys took it back to 1996. I always thought that ‘3 A.M.’ live lost a bit of its spark after Adam left but this time the world was right and they smashed out a blinder. ‘Real World’: Arms in the air, screams of ‘Yeah’ from the crowd and Rob doing a superman on the monitor. Enough said. Before the iTunes Festival, the last time I heard ‘Girl Like That’ live was on the Live from Australia show. I would swear here, cuz it was just a little too good hearing in tonight!
I’ve never heard the album version of ‘If You’re Gone’ live before so this was nice. ‘Overjoyed’ and a great rockier version of ‘All Your Reasons’ filled the gap until ‘Long Day’, a song I never get sick of, live, or on the album. With fun being the theme of the night , ‘You’re So Real’ rocked out as did the story about the song being about someone who thinks they’re great but is actually a shit human – Rainmaker exists stage left.
Bringing it down a notch for a quiet and understated ‘I Will’ was a nice change of pace before Paul and Kyle strapped on twin Telecaster (and Rob strapped on his Gibson ES ) and a really cool intro kept us all guessing before ‘Unwell’ did its thing.
Then shit got real serious. I’ve never been a massive fan of ‘Radio’ it always reminds me of Tiger Feet by Mud, but hearing it live won me over. It morphed into and awesome cover of ‘Stay With Me’ by The Faces, which Kyle took the lead on. A few doo wops and ass shakes later…’So Sad So Lonely’. I’m a musician and a guitar player to boot, so there’s nothing greater than live solo’s and all that jazz that goes along with it. Kyle kills it for a solid five minutes. Pants tightened, faces melted, a few secretaries peeled off the back wall. Bosh.
After ‘English Town’ and Paul beating the shit out of the toms again, I got the best surprise as a fan; ‘Rest Stop’. When Mad Season came out I was 17 and I had very similar experience with this bitch…I mean, girl I knew back then, so I’ve always loved this song but I’ve never heard it live. Stood next to my oldest friend, who used to drive around with me drinking and smoking listening to that record back then, it was, as we say in Manchester, mint.
With Rocky still on the piano, ‘Bright Lights’ was met with love from the crowd, who showed no signs of slowing down, nor did the band. By this point I was pretty hazy but I’m pretty sure Paul hopped on the piano for the last song before the encore, ‘Sleeping at the Wheel’. And there was a point too where Pookie hammered on the bass synth but can’t remember when. If any of you know, tweet me at @NickRainmaker cuz it’s starting to piss me off.
‘We love you Manchester! Goodnight!’ and they left to have a quick booze, take a picture of Robs bloody nose and wait for Manchester to prove how bad we wanted them back on stage
‘Our Song’ sounded great, full of life and a great way to kick off the final set of songs. Paul replaced Stacy on the drums and Stacy took on acoustic guitar for ‘Back 2 Good’. At this point, it’s important to say what a killer drummer Stacey is! Kyle took up lead singer duties one last time for ‘The Way’. After it was done, Rob picked up the tambourine and they guys started up a dark country ditty that evolved into a cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Jumping Jack Flash’. Epic is not the word, well, it actually is.
The night was over. After two and a half hours 25 songs and the best matchbox twenty show I have ever seen, there was only one thing left to do. ‘Push’.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Matchbox are seasoned pro’s but tonight was something else; not a note out of place; sound mixed to perfection; a dedicated crew; Matt Beck and Stacy Jones killing it; and a Matchbox Twenty better than ever, MCR couldn’t have asked for anything more. The UK never gets the same This was a well-oiled machine from start to finish, front to back, and inside out. This is one show I’ll be getting on USB.
She’s So Mean
How Far We’ve Come
Girl Like That
If you’re gone
All Your Reasons
Radio/Stay With Me (The Faces cover)
So Sad, So Lonely
Sleeping at the Wheel
Back 2 Good
Jumping Jack Flash (Rolling Stones cover)