Slow Dream Tour 2023

Live at Coastal Credit Union Music Park  
July 21, 2023 by M.B. Edwards    
If anyone is worth a three-year wait, it is Matchbox Twenty. To show their appreciation, they put on a two-hour, epic concert performance for their beloved fans in North Carolina. In anticipation, the Coastal Credit Union Music Park was jam packed; there was barely an empty seat or spot on the lawn to be found.  

Matchbox Twenty’s Slow Dream Tour continues into August, keeping Kyle Cook (lead guitar), Brian Yale (bass), Paul Doucette (drums), and front-man Rob Thomas on the road just a little bit longer. The group still appears to enjoy each other’s company and performing for fans, and for our show, Thomas changed his shirt more times than any Taylor Swift concert. I’m still waiting to see the sequin bustier he promised at the end.  
The stage was adorned with a large curtain with the name of opener Matt Nathanson, complete with a little, or larger-than-life rather, stick figure drawing. The band took the stage with the front-man telling everyone they were going to dive into their hit song, “One Headlight.” (Cue a screeching record sound.) Nope, that was just Nathanson doing one of his many antics of the night and trying to confuse the audience by pretending they were The Wallflowers before going into the song “Giants.”

At one point during his set, Nathanson asked a guy in the front row, who was on his phone at the time, if he was double-checking who was on stage, The Wallflowers or Nathanson. With Nathanson, you have to believe what you want at your own risk!  
Nathanson tried so hard to get the crowd revved up for Matchbox Twenty by playing “Headphones” and “Used to Be,” but the obscene heat seemed to weigh the audience down. Despite this, he put on a very good show and his voice is incredible. There was a point when he went into tPoison’ “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” that the crowd started to sing along and be more engaged, and then he joked that he should have chosen better songs for his set. Nathanson ended with “Come On Get Higher” played with a bit of “You’re The One That I Want” thrown into it.  

By the time Matchbox Twenty took the stage, the heat and humidity was still intense. I can’t imagine what the band had to endure onstage with all the lights and warmth from the equipment. However, that didn’t stop Matchbox Twenty and the show they put on definitely made up for the three-year wait. Front-man Rob Thomas said he was thankful everyone waited and he promised to play his heart out for two hours straight. He went on to say this is not just our night, this is their night too and in these two hours, we all celebrate being human with other people.  

They played “Friends” and “Don’t Get Me Wrong” from their new album, “Where the Light Goes.” The Coastal Credit Union stage gave the perfect setting for the intimate rendition of “If You’re Gone,” where Thomas and guitarist Kyle Cook were the only two onstage. It was a beautiful performance. “She’s So Mean” got the crowd excited and screams erupted; anyone sitting stood up, and people danced and sang along.  

It was during “Long Day” that Thomas introduced the band members, Cook, bassist Brian Yale, and drummer Paul Doucette, along with the touring musicians, keyboardist Matt Beck and drummer, bus driver Stacy Jones.  

“3 A.M.” was followed by my favorite song, “Unwell,” and then “Push” as part of the closing/first encore set. The final encore was very fitting; it was a cover of “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Oh, Matchbox Twenty… your fans could never forget about you!  
As I was leaving, I heard so many positive comments from fans and I couldn’t help but think everything they were saying was true: “He sounds just like he does on the radio still,” “His voice sounds amazing,” and “That was the best concert ever.” The people of Raleigh, NC, and those who traveled to see Matchbox Twenty live, all left blown away and happy they were given such a spectacular performance.

For me, I think it’s the sincerity of Thomas, the energy he brings to the stage, and the fact that he enjoys the experience as much as his fans. It’s not just another show to Matchbox Twenty. It is their passion, a chance to connect with others, share an experience in the moment, and bring people together with music. And they still put out great music. In closing, the band says it’s a blessing to be able to play music, but a pleasure to play it for their fans and you can tell by their energy and personas that they enjoy each show as much as their fans.  
The US portion of the tour will continue through August 6th, so if you have a chance to see them, I suggest you do it. It really is more than just a concert and you definitely won’t be disappointed.


by Jed Gammon Photography




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