Venue: Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore
Date: 10th November 2013
Promoter: Live Nation Lushington Singapore
Review by: Joanne L.
Special Thanks: Lushington Entertainments
A decade ago in Singapore, a low-key band called Matchbox Twenty played one song at the MTV Asia Awards. Little did anyone know, the band was just at the brink of gaining widespread international fame, thanks to their critically acclaimed albums ‘Mad Season’ and ‘More Than You Think You Are’.
Fast-forward to 2013 and two successful albums later, I stood before the stage, a little ambivalent towards the performance I was about to witness. I love the band but inwardly, I thought this looked a lot like a dire attempt to rekindle the lost sparks of stardom the band had experienced in the early nineties; why else had it taken so long to put up a performance in this forgotten part of the world?
But all is forgiven! From the opening number “Parade” till the final bow, the band had clearly slaked the decade-long thirst of the crowd, who sang and danced along feverishly to each number. It was a no frills affair; a barely embellished stage, no opening band to rack up anticipation, just good ol’ music that could hold its own.
The band kicked off the performance in fifth gear, belting out high powered numbers like “Bent” and “Disease”, and mellowing gradually into the tinkling piano rendition of “Bright Lights” at the deft hands of lead singer, Rob Thomas. The set list focussed on the early chart-topping hits; a smart move as the demographics clearly comprised hardcore fans in their late 20s to early 30s who grew up to the sounds of Matchbox Twenty in their teenage years. However, fresher hits like “How Far We’ve Come” and “English Town” were equally well received.
A clear favourite with the ladies, Rob Thomas delivered with spot on earnest vocals throughout the performance while pausing strategically to let the crowd sing their hearts out. Not falling short – in part thanks to his rockabilly hairstyle – Kyle Cook commanded some serious star power as he worked the crowd with the lead guitar. Paul Doucette, Brian Yale and Matt Beck received equal airtime displaying their musical prowess on the bass and rhythm guitars as well as other percussion instruments. Lastly, there is no denying that Stacy Jones anchored the performance in the background, one sure drumbeat at a time.
Together, the band makes a deadly combination, sending the crowd awe-inspired paralysis with a heady set of 21 songs. Every note was perfect but effortless and every song ran through like a well-oiled machine, not methodically but in a delightfully unstructured manner.
After the curtains have come down, it felt like Matchbox Twenty has paid its dues to its Singapore fans threefolds over. In short, Matchbox Twenty is a Disease; one that is certainly worth waiting a decade for (but please, it’s inhumane to make us wait so long again!).