Yesterday on my lunch hour, I found out that I was cleared to cover last night’s Matchbox Twenty show at the Palace. For the rest of the day, I was so excited I could barely contain it. It’s hard to review a band you’ve loved since TGIF was still on the air, but I will try to be as fair as I can.
Matchbox Twenty sang every song you would expect them to play and would want them to play. From “3am” to “Bent” to "If You're Gone" and everything in between, they kept the radio hits flowing. They even played one of my personal favorites, “Long Day.” Since it wasn’t as popular as “Real World” or “Unwell,” I wasn’t sure if “Long Day” would make the set list. Thankfully, it did! They sang newer hits like “How Far We’ve Come” and “She’s So Mean,” and debuted new songs “Overjoyed” and “Radio.” When nearly every song was announced or first chord strummed, it was met by a resounding “yes” from the audience, including me. It was easy to be excited about hearing the songs that played in the background of my childhood, and I could tell everyone else was excited too. The Palace was completely packed with people on their feet, singing along.
I was impressed by the musicianship of the band. Nearly every person switched instruments at some point, many times during one song. There were 3 different drum set ups, 2 keyboards and 1 piano, and even what appeared to be a dulcimer. The diversity and effects the band was able to provide through the use of these instruments was astounding. Even with all these instruments onstage, a banjo was nowhere to be found, which provided my one and only disappointment of the night. Before the concert, I was excited about the banjo on “Unwell,” and hearing the part played on guitar simply wasn’t the same.
Phillip Phillips, winner of the eleventh season of American Idol, opened for Matchbox Twenty. I haven’t religiously watched American Idol since season seven; therefore, I had no prior knowledge of Phillips. Because of this, I feel I can give a review that isn’t subjective – unlike my review of Matchbox Twenty! His band had four members, which included 2 people (including Phillips) on acoustic guitar, 1 cellist, and 1 person on auxiliary percussion. It was apparent that all band members were talented musicians, especially the cellist who sometimes played the cello like an electric bass. His music and steady vocals were easy on the ears, and his lyrics were creative. He reminded me of Mumford and Sons with pop vibe. As soon as he started playing “Home,” I realized I knew and loved it. To be entirely honest, I thought it was a Mumford and Sons song, but I mean that in the highest of regards. After hearing his music last night, I know I will be purchasing his album soon.
I had a great night seeing one of my favorite bands (and experiencing what’s sure to be a new favorite) at one of my favorite Louisville venues. The Palace is gorgeous, well kept, and clean. Plus, their staff is very friendly and helpful. I could’ve used more banjo, though!
Side note: Can you believe "Real World" came out in 1996? I died a little inside when Rob Thomas announced that before playing the song.
Below: Check out photos from the show taken by Max Sharp.