Live Review: Matchbox Twenty “Slow Dream” Tour

Posted: by The Editor

Photo by Matchbox Twenty/James Trocchio

Matchbox Twenty is embarking on their Slow Dream tour after three years of postponements. The wait was worth it as one thing is clear – Matchbox Twenty has never been as ready as they are now. Taking time off to recover from the scars of being on the road for over two decades allowed them to deliver what could be their strongest performance yet. Riding the tails of this long awaited tour and a recent hype from the new Barbie movie (more on that later) is their first album in eleven years, Where the Light Goes. Unlike similar acts from their early 2000’s era, they take their time between releases to deliver listeners an album they truly want. 

When we arrived at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA for doors, hundreds of eager fans were already lining the parking lot – many of which were wearing shirts from previous Matchbox Twenty tours. We all settled in our seats as opener Matt Nathenson took the stage. The Massachusetts native continually resounded his love for the venue and how grateful he was to play a stage he watched his favorite bands play growing up. Between songs, he shared a story about the first night of the tour. All the members of Matchbox Twenty showed up to his dressing room an hour before his set wearing speedos, requesting he follow them to their dressing room. Waiting for him was an inflatable pool filled with Jello that lead singer Rob Thomas insisted he had to wrestle them in. This gave the audience comedic relief before Matt performed his final song “Come on Get Higher” and exited the stage.

A swift changeover took place before Matchbox Twenty took the stage, walking on to “Panama” by Van Halen. They kicked off their set with “Friends” from their latest album and were accompanied by a marching drumline of quad players. Without hesitation, they jumped into back to back hits of “How Far We’ve Come”, “Real World”, and “Disease”. The mostly mom-filled audience voiced their love for the band before premiering another new song “Wild Dogs (Running in a Slow Dream)”.

About halfway through the night, Rob Thomas and Kyle Cook brought out stools to the center of the stage while the rest of the members stepped off so they could perform a stripped down version of “If You’re Gone”. It’s fair to say Matchbox Twenty perfectly encapsulates the “mom rock” sub genre bestowed upon them given their softer nature – and it’s why they continually sell out amphitheaters around the world – but a brief speech was given about how “Back 2 Good” and “Long Day” were written by “angrier, younger men”. Before performing their closing song “Rebels”, Rob Thomas informed the crowd that “if we walk off stage and pretend the show is over, we’ll definitely come back out. If you want to leave and beat the traffic, that’s your prerogative but you’re gonna miss out!”. 

While a few audience members did rush to their cars (it was a Sunday night), the majority stayed and were rewarded for our patience and commitment. The four song encore kicked off with “3 A.M” followed by “Unwell”. For those that participated in the Barbenheimer opening weekend, you would have seen an army of Ken’s playing a cover of “Push” at their Barbie counterparts. This prompted the band to dedicate the third song of their encore to Ryan Gosling before jumping into “Push”. With one final rush of energy, Matchbox Twenty closed out their encore with “Bright Lights” before thanking the crowd and exiting the stage. However, Massachusetts is notorious for being rowdy – after another round of cheering, the band came back out for a second encore, a cover of the eighties’ classic “Don’t You (Forget About Me).”

This tour and new album prove that twenty seven years after the release of their debut album, Matchbox Twenty aren’t stopping anytime soon. If you’ve held onto your tickets for three years, you are in for a night to remember. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, we encourage you to do so HERE (and go see Barbie before your show). We hope to see another tour soon and maybe with an audience of new fans.


Kyle Musser//@godvfwine