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Matchbox Twenty Proved Worthy of the Wait in Saint Louis Tuesday

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

–by Sean Derrick

 

When tickets for Matchbox Twenty’s Saint Louis date first went on sale January 17, 2020 no one thought they would have to wait 3.5 years to see the band live. Well, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic wait is exactly what they had to do. Fast forward 1267 days, after a 2nd rescheduling, to Tuesday night at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre where fans were finally rewarded for their patience with a two-hour, 24 song treat for their audio and visual senses.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Somewhere along the way in pre-Covid world Matchbox Twenty had resigned themselves to just touring without releasing any more albums, just a new song here and there. After the 2nd rescheduling the band decided, at the behest of guitarist Kyle Cook, to record a new album to help make up for the multiple postponements. The result is Where the Light Goes, their first album of new material since 2012’s North. And they wasted no time in presenting it to their faithful fans.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Matchbox Twenty kicked off their set with the lead track from Where the Light Goes in “Friends”, a perfect live song with shouted melodies and an electric vibe that dares fans not to get involved. It was the first of five songs played off the new album.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Along the way vocalist Rob Thomas set the tone with his deep emotional portrayal of each and every song, there is no “phoning it in” with Thomas. From making jokes about the weather (It was so hot the last time they played here that Thomas literally wrung out his sweat drenched shirt creating a puddle onstage, seems to be a theme, unfortunately.), to making rockstar poses (twirling his mic stand over his head, and doing the Superman pose) Thomas is ever the showman.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

The set was very visual with themes set throughout the evening. A half-globe display right behind drummer Stacy Jones provided a backdrop that displayed fuzzy images as if displayed under clouds from the large screen behind the band. It also served as a cool Earthly display when during “These Hard Times” a golden curtain of lights emanating from above gave a very cool replication of the Northern Lights shimmering above the globe in vivid red/yellow/green lights.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Large visuals weren’t the only key optical moment. During an intimate setting of “Hand Me Down” the band huddled around guitarist Paul Doucette, who was perched behind a piano near stage left, while a very cool light bar chandelier was all the light needed to fulfill this intimate club-like experience.

Another cool moment found Thomas and Cook alone performing a soothing even slower and more intimate rendition of “If Your Gone”, or as Cook called it- the “couples skate”.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Cook let his soulfulness shine on lead guitar, piercing emotions with each note he struck.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Bassist Brian Yale is still battling an illness and they had a replacement bassist who Thomas referred to as “Y-Not”. Sure. I get the joke. I just hope that Brian has a speedy recovery.

Matchbox Twenty threw in some gems of covers, as well. At the end of “All I Need” they finished with the ending chorus from The Beatles’ “She Loves You”, which is pretty awesome since Thomas is a huge fan of The Beatles and that bit was so effortlessly placed it sounded like it belonged there.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

They also surprised the fans at the very end of the show. After the encore, as fans started to file out the band came back for a surprise 2nd encore and performed a great cover of the Simple Minds classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me)”. The fans went nuts and it was a fitting and surprising end to a show that was worth the wait.

Matchbox Twenty performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Matt Nathanson opened the show proclaiming that his band was The Wallflowers and they were there to perform “One Headlight”, a joke referencing the original opening act from the ill-fated 2020 tour mentioned above.

Matt Nathanson performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

He jammed through with a 45 minute set that included “Come On Get Higher”, “Headphones” and “Giants” along with a cover of Whitesnake’s “Here I Go Again”. This paired nicely with his demeanor and comedic rips engaging with members of the audience.

Matt Nathanson performing Tuesday at Hollywood Casino Ampitheatre in Saint Louis. Photo by Sean Derrick/ Thyrd Eye Photography.

Be sure to check out the gallery of images after the setlist below.

Matchbox Twenty Setlist:

Friends

How Far We’ve Comoe

Real World

Disease

Wild Dogs (Running in a Slow Dream)

She’s So Mean

All I Need (With ending chorus from “She Loves You” by The Beatles)

Queen of New York City

Hand Me Down

If You’re Gone (Acoustic)

Mad Season

Don’t Get Me Wrong

These Hard Times

The Way

Parade

Bent

Back 2 Good

Long Day

Rebels

Encore: 

3 A.M.

Unwell

Push

Bright Lights

Encore 2:

Don’t You (Forget About Me) – Simple Minds cover

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