Matchbox Twenty, Manchester Apollo - Live Review

Matchbox Twenty
Manchester Apollo
Monday May 5, 2008
Live Review

Matchbox Twenty

Last year saw the return of Matchbox Twenty after a hiatus during which original guitarist Adam Gaynor quit and vocalist Rob Thomas made his debut as a solo artist. Their latest release was a combination of greatest hits and six new tracks, which they've been promoting on a world tour.

If you were asked to name a band whose last (and only) Top 40 single was a decade ago who could sell out theatre venues, the chances are you would struggle. But this is exactly the feat that has been achieved by M20, on multiple nights no less, which as much a testament to the quality of their music as it is the loyalty of their fans. Opening with new track 'How Far We've Come', they effortlessly work the crowd in a way that band's with over ten year's experience can, weaving the hits with cult favourites. Masters of their instruments, Thomas sings the likes of '3AM' and 'Back 2 Good' as if they were penned that morning, losing no passion for songs that were originally released in 1996.

During the 21 song set it becomes apparent that the band has more energy than is usually credited to bands of the 'MOR' style, 'Long Day' and 'If I Fall' having plenty of bounce and tempo which wouldn't go amiss on the festival circuit. A stripped down version of 'If You're Gone' is the only slight misdemeanour, losing out on the grandness which makes the studio version so enjoyable, but few complaints will be heard in a crowd which gets the predicable finale of the aforementioned 'hit' - 'Push'. As big a sing-a-long as you're likely to hear, you can't help but wonder how a band who have sold a reported 44 million records worldwide can have such a relatively low profile in the UK. Still, for those in the know about them, they've made a welcome return and are likely to be greeted with open arms should they return in future.

Alex Lai

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