A Brief History of the 90’s at Camden Waterfront With MatchBox Twenty

Matchbox Twenty & Counting Crows
August 26, 2017
BB&T Pavilion – Camden, NJ

     Counting Crows and Matchbox Twenty are co-headlining their “A Brief History of Everything” Tour and brought 90’s grunge back to the Camden waterfront, Saturday night.

Counting Crows opened – frontman Adam Duritz took the stage the way most people approach their couch for a Netflix binge; with familiarity and a little bit of relief. He was comfortable and at home under the stage lights with a microphone in hand and a grin on his face. They opened their set for an anxious crowd with Catapult, fans cheering them on and drowning out the band with their own voices.

While the band’s comfort and familiarity with the stage set a mellow tone for most of their set, Duritz reminded the crowd that they were in for a special treat. Not only did they have a great show lined up for them, but Duritz’ father was in the audience. “My dad’s here,” he said with a chuckle. “So you better all fucking behave.”

He then went on to wish lead guitarist, Dan Vickrey, a happy birthday before jumping right back into the music. Fans were on their feet in a heartbeat on the first note of classics such as Mr Jones and Round Here off their 1993 debut album.

Members of the band interacted as if they weren’t in an arena of 17,000 people but rather in a studio jam session; they goofed off as friends and played together with an ease that only comes with being well seasoned.

Matchbox Twenty-14They wrapped up their set with a crowd favorite, Rain King, before taking their final bow and promising the audience that their night was just getting started and they were in for “one hell of a show” with Matchbox Twenty to follow.

Matchbox Twenty came out and immediately jumped into Real World, a 90’s staple. Though the band is currently celebrating their 20th anniversary, the energy they brought to the stage made them seem like they hadn’t aged since their days of shaggy hair and “guy-liner”.

Lead singer, Rob Thomas, gave it his all vocally, and was all over the stage, ensuring the entire crowd had a good view. Though the band has had more than their fair share of hiatus’, the most recent looked like the end of Matchbox Twenty with lead guitarist Kyle Cook’s departure.

Now Cook is back, and they’re better than ever. Perhaps their hiatus was a refresh for them, because the entire band was solid. Thomas was an incredible performer and engaged the crowd all night. It was clear these guys are living the dream.

After enough dancing to exhaust even the most youthful and energetic, Thomas had a seat. “I’m sitting because I want to, not because I’m old,” he laughed. “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.” The years have been kind to the band, though. They slowed things down with hauntingly beautiful rendition of Hang, while fans lit the arena with their cell phones creating a vision that rivaled the Philly skyline just across the river – a request Thomas made for “no other reason other than it’s really fucking pretty”.

They did a couple of covers that could have been originals with the enthusiasm the crowd embraced them with. When the stage went dark the crowd demanded an encore, and members of the band walked back out and covered Simple Minds’ Don’t You (Forget About Me) followed by their own staples 3 AM, Long Day, and finally Bright Lights.

The band was still out waving to and thanking fans, hesitant to leave, while the back rows and the lawn section cleared out when lights in the pavilion went up. The concert was over, but one thing was for sure – Matchbox Twenty is not.

Review by: Heather Massey

Matchbox Twenty

Counting Crows