How long have I waited for today? Weeks? Month? Years? Let me tell you its has been a long long time. First I knew of these guys coming to the UK was when the iTunes Festival announced that Matchbox Twenty were playing on the 19th Matchbox TwentySeptember. I remember being in the car with a friend, checking my Facebook, as you do when you’re addicted, I MB20 set listscreamed, my friend thought something was wrong…lol….!
Anyway, I applied to win tickets as often as possible, there are 3-4 ways to be able to win, searched the internet, roped all my friends in(only if they agreed to take me of course), there wasn’t much more I could do but wait for luck to shine on me. Soon after the Shepherds Bush gig was announced, I was ready to buy, and yes, I managed to bag a couple of tickets…result.
This was the one time I didn’t solely rely on my luck, but somebody up there loves me, because soon after I won iTunes tickets too….wooohooo, I’m going to see these guys two days running.
Anyway, today was the first date, as soon as possible we made our way to Shepherds Bush, parked in Ealing, hopped on the train, arriving at about 6:30. The queues were already very very long, luckily I had O2 priority and that queue wasn’t too bad. John, one of the security guards is there too, hopefully that means a set list for me. Behind us is a father and son, the boy wanted to know a lot of things but I don’t think Dad had the answers, I turned round and explained to him how it works and which queue they are in. Funnily enough the next time I turned around they had vanished, wrong queue I guess. We also got chatting to the couple in front, die hard Matchsticks, they travelled 3 hours to be here and have seen them a few times before, last time they were supporting Bon Jovi in Milton Keynes, 2001 I think.
We didn’t have to wait too long until the doors opened, but its so slow…..arrrgghhh, a couple of people are in the wrong queue and are arguing about it, come on, move over and let us through….hehehhehe.
Finally we are able to go inside, we manage to get a space in the second row, stage left behind a couple of girls, yeah, that will do nicely. Bring it on, I can’t wait!!

Today’s support is ‘Rams Pocket Radio’, I do really like them , I have been lucky enough to see them a few times! Oh I Rams Pocket Radiocan’t wait for it too start! 🙂
I was a bit surprised to see Peter McCauley appearing on stage on his own. He explains that due to a double booking the rest of the band is at the Barfly in Camden sound checking, where he will rush off to straight after his set. Respect Peter, you could have just cancelled one of the gigs. It must have been nerve racking for you to sit all alone on the stage by your keyboard facing an impatient crowd that are eager to see Matchbox Twenty. In my eyes he is doing a fantastic set, IRams Pocket Radio love his slight shyness mixed with bursts of confidence, I also love the way he performed his songs without the backingof the band. Shame not everybody could appreciate what he was trying to do, basically entertain us with a different slant on Rams Pocket Radio music, I especially liked the song (sorry I don’t know the name) which was laced with classical elements. Peter I apologise here for my fellow gig goers, some of them were ignorant and rude, talking and laughing all the way through your set. I don’t know how it must sound to an artist on the stage but I guess you have to shut yourself off to it, I wish I could!! Rant over!!!! I can’t wait to catch you soon head lining a show. Thank you for all the effort you went to today, hope the Barfly gig was a success.

“She’s a hardcore, candy-store, gimme-some-more girl” at last Rob and his band are ready to rock, the stage is set, Matchbox Twentyripples of excitement making us fans push in that little bit closer and stand that little bit higher on our tiptoes. I have been waiting so long to see these guys and its love at first sight, I was worried that I may have build these guys up too much in my imagination, but no, not a trace of disappointment, just pure joy to be able to stand here and soak it all up, especially here at Shepherds Bush, my favourite small BIG venue…hehehhe. And to top it all I get to do it again tomorrow at the Roundhouse, as I have indeed won tickets for the iTunes Festival! Life is good!
But back to what is happening  right now in front of me! Starting the concert with “Parade”, straight into the second track “Bent”, “…are you ready?..” Rob shouts, and by God we are!! Deafening screams and Matchbox Twentyarms in the air, ….”♫♪..I’m so scared that I’ll never…get put back together… ♫♪..”, simply amazing! It doesn’t take a genius to work out that Shepherds Bush is packed with fans, the energy coming from crowd to band and visa versa is amazing, there was no need for a “get into the gig” period, these guys nailed it from tune one! By the time their new song “She is so Mean” played voices were getting hoarse and most people had that lovely sweaty glow! Rob asking the crowd “..can you feel what we are feeling?” announcing that tonight is the first official show and telling everybody that this show is just for you, he wants us to “relax, have a drink, shake your arse, whatever you want to do……for the next two hours let’s just forget about everything and celebrate life!” Everybody who was at this concert Matchbox Twentyknows that this is exactly what happened, it felt like nothing else existed! They are playing so many favourite songs, I always thought “3AM” is my all time favourite, but seeing them live it changes from song to song, maybe it should be “If You’re Gone” when the whole of Shepherds Bush seems to be singing..”…♫♫ it’s time to come home…♪♫…”, Kyle’s voice sounded Matchbox Twentyamazing right at the end. Or should it be “I’ll Believe you When”, “Long Day” “Unwell” “Our Song”. ” How far We’ve Come” maybe? ….arrrghhh, I can’t decide, I just love this band. Matchbox Twenty have to be second to Snow Patrol on my list, I think if they were playing a series of concerts in the UK and Europe and I had the money I would see a few of their shows!!
The way Rob and his fellow band members play together, the way they respond to the crowd, making sure everybody is included shows skill and the love of performing! There are many cries of “I love you Rob”, I don’t think there is a great need to ask if we are having a good time…lol! Kyle stepping  forward Matchbox Twentyto the stage to play the intro to “Overjoyed” with an acoustic guitar for instance, stepping back in perfect timing to let Rob take the limelight again. Every movement on that stage is well thought out and rehearsed, but at the same time seems to be completely natural as if a bunch of friends turned up to play some songs. He calls “Back 2 Good” a nice cheesy song for us, that is fine, we love your cheesy songs too!! Poor Rob is soaking wet, his hair must be dripping pearls of sweat and his blue shirt is WET, still he doesn’t lose any of his appeal, and the way he stood at the end of this song, looking in awe at the crowd screaming, you just want to run on stage shake his hand and hug him to say Matchbox Twentythank you. I can’t believe that this is it, 20 songs passed in a flash 😦
Still, I’m sure there is an encore to come!! And yes, of course there is, the band is coming back on stage to a noise that I can’t actually describe, screams, clapping and feet stamping….amazing!
” A Girl Like That” and “The Way” were the first two songs, followed by “Bright Lights”  for which Rob places himself at the keyboards, singing this beautiful song accompanied by the Shepherds Bush Fan Choir, and then it’s “thank you and good night, noooo, not yet, please!”
YESSS, they’re back, one last song, “Push”…..I don’t want this to end! ” Thank you so much for coming Matchbox Twentytonight” Rob says, “we’ll see you next year when we come for a proper tour”! You’d better believe it, I’ll be there!!!
This was one of the best gigs I have been lucky to attend recently, 24 songs and 2 plus hours later I feel drained and quite emotional but so happy to have been here! I got my hands on a setlist too…. 🙂 I loved the whole evening, and I say it again, “Thank you for the Music!!!”
PS: As I’m so behind writing my blogs, the 2013 tour has been announced meanwhile, and yes, I do have my ticket for the 16th April at the Hammersmith Apollo. But first roll on tomorrow, iTunes Festival!!

About FrontRowStef

Following months of putting in the necessary hours of research, I have been bullied into writing a blog about my gig experiences! I can’t claim in-depth technical musical knowledge, or a massive CD collection, but, I know what I like and what doesn’t sound good in a live setting. I’m not intending to write great reviews about bands, but more of stuff that happen to me while out and about. Like when a dear friend of mine pointed out that it looks like I’m putting my towel down when I hit the barriers at the front and claim my spot with my jacket draped over the railings. What does he mean? Is it because I’m German? Enough introductions, you will get to know me sooner or later! Oh and apparently I’m going to be referred to as Front Row Stef, simply because that is my rightful place!

2 responses »

  1. Mal says:

    Just a brilliant account of a very special concert, Matchbox 20. I couldnt help but well up with tears as you brought back my memories of the concert I went to here in Australia. Sooooo perfect, you descibed it so well. Thankyou Mal

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