Matchbox Twenty Knows How to Light up a Crowd

A Matchbox Twenty with Matt Nathanson concert review.


Words and photos by Ambar Ramirez


It was a stormy day in Jacksonville when concertgoers waited patiently in line at Daily’s Place with fingers crossed that the thunderstorm brewing outside wouldn’t affect the night ahead, especially since the show was rescheduled not once, not twice, but three times! Luckily for those with tickets (and really anybody driving out in the rain that day), the storm quickly cleared up, giving the venue the go-ahead to let people through its gates. And you can imagine just how electric the crowd was when they finally got to see Matchbox Twenty on stage for their Slow Dream tour. 


But before we get into the main show, we have to talk about their opener, Matt Nathanson, an American singer-songwriter who seamlessly blends folk and rock. Nathanson brought us the hit song “Come on Get Higher” and got the crowd pumped up with his unique voice accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, making it look oh, so easy. Much like Matchbox Twenty, Nathanson has been in the game since the ’90s at the height of MTV music videos. And in no way did he fail to bring the same exact energy he would have brought back in the day, often referring to the crowd as “rebels” and “wallflowers,” making sure everybody felt included. Originally, Ben Rector was set to open for the beloved band but due to scheduling conflicts, Nathanson took over for the first half of the tour. Still, I couldn’t have imagined a better opening act. 


Now for the main event and the main reason why the venue was filled to the brim with a sold-out show …Matchbox Twenty. 


The American rock band formed in 1995 in Orlando. They quickly rose to fame with their debut album “Yourself or Someone Like You” in 1996, and 27 years later the group is still famously releasing albums. “Where the Light Goes,” for example, was released this year after nearly a decade of not releasing anything new. And it was this album that brought us this iconic live performance. 


There’s not much I can say other than that I was starstruck for the entire performance. The band opened the show with one of their newer songs, “Friends,” which felt as if they were directly greeting the crowd. And the crowd was just as pumped to see their friends, to see the band they practically grew alongside (aside from a couple of younger faces that probably know the band from their parents, like me). 

The band kept up the energy for the entire show, fluctuating between newer songs and songs we know from the radio such as “She’s So Mean” and “How Far We’ve Come.” The guitarists, Brian Yale and Kyle Cook, truly stole the show never missing a beat, and keeping up with drummer Paul John Ducette. But the venue became silent when the stage lights turned cobalt blue and lead singer Rob Thomas took a seat alongside Cook front and center for a heartfelt performance of “If You’re Gone.” It was certainly a memorable moment but maybe not as memorable as when Thomas, distracted by all the lights on stage, forgot the lines to “These Hard Times.” (Happens to the best of us, Rob.) Before ending the show with “Rebels,” Thomas comically let the crowd know that they would be exiting the stage for a fake encore.


Of course, knowing that the show wasn’t actually over, the audience took it as a chance to grab some last-minute drinks before coming back to their seats to hear the band perform (personally my favorite songs) “3AM” followed by “Unwell.” They officially ended the show with “Bright Lights,” leaving the crowd just a little hesitant to leave one of the best nights of their lives. 

About Ambar Ramirez

Flipping through magazines for as long as she can remember, Ambar Ramirez has always known she wanted to be a journalist. Fast forward, Ambar is now a multimedia journalist and creative for Folio Weekly. As a recent graduate from the University of North Florida, she has written stories for the university’s newspaper as well as for personal blogs. Though mainly a writer, Ambar also designs and dabbles in photography. If not working on the latest story or design project, she is usually cozied up in bed with a good book or at a thrift store buying more clothes she doesn’t need.