Matchbox Twenty: A Brief History of Everything Tour — A Full Review

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My history with Matchbox Twenty dates back to their inception. They’re an Orlando-based band that sent tongues wagging in their hometown prior to their massive success. If you’re from Florida like me and ran in certain circles, you’d likely now brag about finding them first. To be fair, my brother found them first and I went along for the ride, but that’s neither here nor there.

The group currently consists of Rob Thomas (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, keyboards), Kyle Cook (lead guitar, backing vocals), Brian Yale (bass), and Paul Doucette (rhythm guitar, drums, backing vocals). They began as Tabitha’s secret, which included Matchbox Twenty members Rob Thomas, Brian Yale, and Paul Doucette (who replaced Chris Smith) in addition to Jay Stanley and bassist John Goff. Creative and personal conflicts caused the end of Tabitha’s Secret and the subsequent ousting of Stanley and Goff, who later filed suit. They were replaced with Kyle Cook and Adam Gaynor, and Matchbox Twenty emerged. It’s been said that Goff and Stanley did not want to sign a deal with the production company of Atlantic Records rep Matt Serletic. But shortly after Matchbox Twenty and Serletic joined forces, the band had a seven-year deal with Atlantic Records. Their debut studio album, ‘Yourself or Someone Like You’ put them on the map.

Kyle Cook had previously exited Matchbox Twenty last year, saying there was a “deterioration of communication, disagreements on when, where and how we tour and a general break down of democracy within the group.” Cook reunited with his band-mates for the 2017 “A Brief History of Everything Tour”, and though it’s unclear why he finally came around, his other band, Rivers and Rust, served as the opening act. As for rhythm guitarist Adam Gaynor, he left the band in 2005, saying “I will no longer be a member of the band. I know most of you were confused if not slightly angered by this news. I wish there was some bright rainbow of an answer here … but there is not.” At the time, a “source” told Billboard “The band has decided not to renew his services.”

Rob Thomas previously teamed with Counting Crows for a very successful 2016 summer co-headline tour. It’s no secret that Thomas can fly solo, and I was fortunate enough to see his tour at The Greek with Counting Crows. He was excellent. In fact, I attended that show to cover Counting Crows, and I was delightfully pleased with the bonus of Thomas. That being said, now that I’ve seen him with his band-mates at The Forum, the magic is greatly multiplied. There’s something about performing with the guys he grew up with that takes Thomas up a notch. He’s got this earnest energy that makes you feel as if you’re seeing a band about to make it big, yet they’re so polished and professional, they can carry an arena with ease. I’ve seen a lot of our greatest artists perform without the band with which they got their break, and it’s simply never the same. I’ve seen Crosby without Stills, Nash and Young, Jennifer Nettles without Kristian Bush (Sugarland), and Jon Bon Jovi without Richie Sambora. It can be done, but should it? In fact, I’m a firm believer that discontent can fuel creativity, and though I know nothing of Thomas’ band dynamics, what I know is this — seeing Matchbox Twenty live is a true privilege.


Counting Crows at The Greek — A Full Recap

It’s impossible to discuss one’s love of Counting Crows without enmeshing them into every life experience, because the band that has sold more than 20 million albums has also mastered the art of making you feel as if you’re part of some secret society of elevated taste mixed with emotional, lonesome musings. I was eleven years old for their August and Everything After debut, and around fourteen for their follow-up, Recovering the Satellites. That angst-driven period was met with the calming force that was Counting Crows, and I ached to learn more about the band. Much to my satisfaction, there was a fan club, which welcomed frequent visits from lead singer Adam Duritz, who, far ahead of his time, took down what’s now referred to as “twitter trolls” or “haters” with an ease and humor that suggested the man behind this sensitive, soul-searching music was also a shrewd, gruff guy who wouldn’t take any crap. He also gave the fans some personal insight into his life, along with tidbits of details about each song.

Adam Duritz has inserted names in almost Counting Crows every song, and he’s spent nearly all of his interviews answering questions as to their identity, as if each individual described is our personal friend, and we’d like to know who they are, whether they’re okay, and if they rode off into the distance with Duritz to live happily ever after. Who is the elusive “Maria,” for example? After all, Duritz himself says “There’s a piece of Maria in every song that I sing.” She has appeared in five Counting Crows songs, and his rabid fan base has always inquired as to her identity. Duritz once relented and explained that she is in fact Duritz himself, “through the eyes of a girl, but it’s someone very much like [him] struggling at the edge, not sure if she’s going to fall off on one side or the other.” And what about “Anna” from “Anna Begins?” According to Duritz, she actually exists. They met on vacation in Australia and sadly decided to go their separate ways at the end of the trip, but she’s “every girl you ever felt that way about, too.” The list goes on and on, but the questions represent something much bigger. We want to know the truth behind each song because we’re so connected to the lyrics.

After watching Counting Crows perform at The Greek, I scoured social media and noticed nearly every post was coupled with a sample of their song lyrics, because above all, that’s what speaks to us. They co-headlined with Rob Thomas, giving fans two for the price of one, with their style, talent, and energy easily complimenting one another. Of the coupling, Duritz said, “Twenty years ago Rob and I were like kids running around Italy in the middle of the night getting drunk and playing gigs. I still love nothing more than touring with my friends. This is going to be a great summer.” Their concert follows Counting Crows’ 2014 release, Something Under Wonderland, and Thomas’ third solo effort, 2015’s The Great Unknown. Counting Crows is largely known for changing the arrangements on their songs during their live performances, but this was the closest to their record that I’ve seen in some time. And while I was expecting the crowd to go crazy for their most-loved hits (i.e. Mr. Jones), I noticed something special. The crowd’s dedication was equally distributed, because true Counting Crows fans love every song with equal elation. They’re just happy to be there and support the band they’ve loved for decades. With a devoted fan base, unforgettable songs, and extremely talented musicians who clearly love to play together, this tour is not to be missed. There are a few dates left. Visit their website for tickets.

Wed Sep 14, San Diego, CA Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre at SDSU

Fri Sep 16, Indio, CA Fantasy Springs Resort Casino
Sat Sep 17, Las Vegas, NV Downtown Las Vegas Events Center
Mon Sep 19, Denver, CO Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Thu Sep 22, Albuquerque, NM Sands Casino Amphitheater
Sat Sep 24, Allen, TX Allen Event Center
Sun Sep 25, Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion presented by Huntsman
Tue Sep 27, Kansas City, MO Starlight Theatre
Wed Sep 28, St. Louis, MO, Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Fri Sep 30, Nashville, TN Ascend Amphitheater