Matchbox Twenty // Toledo, OH // 08.04.2023

Matchbox Twenty w/Matt Nathanson
Toledo Zoo
Toledo, OH
August 04, 2023

For Matchbox Twenty fans who had waited more than 3 years to see the band perform, Friday night at the Toledo Zoo was a dream come true. The original tour, scheduled for 2020, was delayed three times but was ultimately worth the wait.

Frontman Rob Thomas, who at 51 still looks and sounds like he did years ago in the band’s heyday, kept the crowd entertained and engaged for a two-hour show packed with hits from Matchbox Twenty’s 27-year career. He moved all around the stage taking advantage of the lower stage and intimate venue setting to interact with fans in the first several rows. At one point he even climbed the pole at the side of the stage, clearly enjoying himself as much as the crowd was enjoying the show.

Photo by Jim Trocchio

The other members of Matchbox Twenty, Kyle Cook on lead guitar and vocals, Paul Doucette on guitar and keyboards, and Brian “Pookie” Yale on Bass were all fantastic as well. They all had a blast performing and seemed very happy to be together again making music for the enthusiastic crowd. Long-time supporting musicians, Matt Beck on guitar, keyboards, and vocals, and Stacy Jones, on drums, rounded out the band and helped bring the energy to the show.

Photo by Jim Trocchio

For the setlist, the band opened with a song off their latest record, Where the Light Goes, called “Friends”. The hook of the song “All My Friends are Here” was clearly meant to convey the joy of finally being back on stage with everyone in the crowd in attendance. The show built from there with songs from all their albums including “How Far We’ve Come”, “Real World”, “Disease” and more.

There were a few quieter moments when the band came together around Paul on the piano with Rob singing “Hand Me Down”. This was followed by just Rob and Kyle together on stools at the front of the stage doing a stripped-down acoustic version of “If You’re Gone”. Kyle had a chance to perform his song “The Way” off the “North” album which the crowd really enjoyed.

Photo by Jim Trocchio

The main set ended with “Rebels”, another song from their new album. The band had said in an interview before the tour that “Rebels” was the song they were most excited to play live and it lived up to that excitement. The encore contained probably the band’s biggest hits with “3AM”, “Unwell”, “Push”, and “Bright Lights”. “Push” was recently featured in the Barbie Movie and has given the band new recognition as it has put them back on the Billboard Charts for the first time in many years.

As the final song of the night, Matchbox Twenty had the excited crowd sing along with “Don’t You Forget About Me”, a Simple Minds cover. Everyone went nuts and lived up to the moment earlier in the show when Rob quipped, “It is a Zoo out there”.

When the show finally ended and the band took their bows, everyone in attendance left with a smile on their face and a sincere wish the band would come back again soon. 

Opening the night was Matt Nathanson who had the crowd up on their feet dancing and singing along to his songs immediately.

Photo by Steffi Wegewitz


How Far We’ve Come
Real World
Wild Dogs (Running in a Slow Dream)
She’s So Mean
All I Need
Queen of New York City
Hand Me Down
If You’re Gone
Mad Season
Don’t Get Me Wrong
The Way
Downfall / Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
Back 2 Good
Long Day

3 A.M.
Bright Lights
Ply Video
Don’t You (Forget About Me) (Simple Minds cover)


Words by Cathy Stemmler

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