CAMDEN, NJ—On a perfect summer’s eve, fans piled into the Susquehanna Bank Center to see Matchbox Twenty and the Goo Goo Dolls. Both bands have huge followings, numerous hit songs, and exceptional lead singers. It was the perfect pairing for a blockbuster concert.
The Goo Goo Dolls opened the show up with “Last Hot Night” off their latest release, Magnetic, their 10th studio album. It’s a gutsy move to open up with something new, but the crowd loved it along with the blood red lights and television sets that beamed on one of the five well-placed video screens on stage. The energy was high and it continued with “Slide,” featuring some heavy drums from Mike Malinin.
During “Here Is Gone,” lead singer John Rzeznik announced, “We are free tonight. The weather is perfect.” The band continued on with “Rebel Beat” and “Black Balloon” before Robby Takac took over with an inspired version of “January Friend” and “Another Second Time Around.”
Rzeznik then went acoustic for “Come To Me.” They then played their classic hit, “Name,” which created a serene feeling in the outdoor venue.
By the time the Goo Goo Dolls played “Iris,” the crowd was standing. Their final song, “Broadway,” had vintage Broadway video clips playing as a backdrop, blue lights, and no drums to start. The guitar sound was haunting.
There was never a lull and the band never took a break. And then there was Matchbox Twenty.
The stage was a bit further back, the lights multiplied, and the stage had three huge cubes rotating in the sky. They rotated colors, but the purple was stunning.
Lead singer Rob Thomas set the tone with their first selection, “Parade.” The drums said “20,” and there were a lot of them. Not just in the traditional spot either, as there was a stand up near the front of the stage as well.
The band then belted out “Bent,” “Disease” and “She’s So Mean,” the latter getting the biggest response. During this time, the stage was bathed in red and white lights, making this one of the best light shows in the business.
Before the next song, Thomas proclaimed, “This is our time and we are celebrating life!”
The show was being filmed for an upcoming DVD, so there was a huge 360 camera moving around. The video that played during “How Far We’ve Come” was outstanding.
During “I Will,” Thomas had the entire crowd singing along. Lead guitarist Kyle Cook stood out for the entire performance, including playing the kettledrum. Drummer Paul Doucette was perfectly synced with bassist Brian Yale, who also plays an upright piano!
At one point in the show, Thomas grabbed an audience member’s cell phone and videotaped the band as they were playing. It was a fun moment.
The group played three encores. The first was the INXS hit, “Don’t Change,” and Matchbox Twenty paid homage to the great Aussie band. (INXS opened for them last year before announcing their retirement.) It’s a high-energy song and Cook really played it to perfection.
“Back 2 Good” and the smash hit “Push” ended the night for the band that continues to excel from their roots in 1995 to the present.