I went by myself to see Rob Thomas at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre for his September 28 show — I’d been anticipating the event for 2 months. Right after I bought my ticket in the seated area of the booth (Row M, Seat 19), I did something I don’t normally do: I went to Walmart and bought, “Cradlesong,” Rob’s (I’m going to call him Rob from now on — we’re the same age!) newest album. A few of the songs took me a while to really like, such as “Her Diamonds,” “Gasoline,” “Someday,””Wonderful,” and the title track, “Cradlesong.” But “Mockingbird” and “Real World 2009” caught me by the throat immediately. I got to the Booth around 7:30 after taking a wrong turn and waited in the rain with other concert goers. There were young teens behind me who later punctuated any silence with “We love you, Rob!”and “I love you!”, an eleven-year-old with his mom and dad, a gay couple in front of me and a straight one to my right. I stood up the entire time and so did almost everyone else. Our seats were too wet and the show was too good to sit down for.
Rob’s lead song was “Fire on the Mountain” — not one of my favorites but has a good bridge to it and I love the drums (stay tuned for another blog as I make the case for how similiar in styles Rob Thomas and Phil Collins are). He wore a salmon-colored woven button-down shirt with a T-shirt underneath of the same color with a print on the front. Rob’s hair looked really good — not too short and not too long and he wore jeans. Rob’s band consisted of his lead guitarist, drummer, bassist, keyboardist, and two backup singers. They were fabulous, as expected. Rob gave them props and they the keyboardist and lead guitarist had a chance to do a little solo work. “Do you know why tonight’s special?” Rob asked the crowd, “Because we get to play music! Our only goal at every show we do is give a great two hours.” Rob didn’t forget to thank Carolina Liar and One Republic, who were his opening bands.
I admire how Rob emphasizes all of his vowel sounds, both short and long, especially his “i’s and his “a”s. All that emphasis takes some jaw work and the man’s not lazy at all! So coming into the concert, I knew every single song (OK, except “Sunday Morning New York Blues” that was a wayward release) and even knew what kind of gestures he’d make with each song.
If he was singing about his soul, love, his heart or something along those lines, he would hit his chest three times quickly with his left hand while his right hand held the mic. The only exceptions were when he was playing the keyboards and guitar (both electric and accoustic). He also did tight spinning gestures (all in time with the music) with his finger, waves and flowing moves. At the beginning of the show, Rob twirled his mic stand over his head. You’re probably wondering if I have a crazy obsession for Rob Thomas at this point and you’re partially right…I’m obsessed with his performance and I want to learn from his techniques when I do my poetry performances.
He told us the back stories on several of the songs. “Little Wonders” from the movie “Meet the Robinsons” was inspired by his dog who was so excited about going on a walk with Rob in Phoenix, while Rob wanted to be somewhere else. Rob said he said “I’m a dick,” and decided to look around him and appreciate life “because life was happening all around me.” I love that song.
He also mentioned that “It’s Getting Late” is a “little ditty about death,” and “Sunday Morning New York Blues,” is about a married couple that go on a date. “Yes,” Rob said, “contrary to popular opinion married people still do it!”
Here’s the set list from tonight with the corresponding album:
**Note that the songs do mesh very well together and that Rob played almost every “Cradlesong” song except “Wonderful,” “Hard on You” and “Snow Blind”**
Fire on the Mountain (Cradlesong)
Give Me The Melt Down (Cradlesong)
Real World ’09 (Cradlesong)
Lonely No More (Something to Be)
Mockingbird (Cradlesong) included long keyboard intro!
Sunday Morning New York Blues – I got into it just hearing it for the first time! it includes strong details and movement
Streetcorner Symphony (Something to Be)
Natural (Cradlesong)
It’s Getting Late (Cradlesong) the happy little ditty about death. Included a cool dueling-banjo like performance, too!
When the Heartache Ends (Something to Be)
Ever the Same (Something to Be) — beautifully done! Rob;s voice shines during the slow songs
Cradlesong (Cradlesong) Rob played the keyboards
Someday (Cradlesong) with a long keyboard intro
Something to Be (Something to Be) lots of audience participation in this one!
Gasoline (Cradlesong) with Bond-like girls on the video in the background who turned into matches
Little Wonders (Disney’s Meet the Robinsons soundtrack) Rob on keyboards
Fallin’ to Pieces (Something to Be)
Her Diamonds (Cradlesong)
I Am an Illusion (Something to Be)
*** Break for Encore***
Bent (Matchbox Twenty’s Mad Season) Beautiful! I wasn’t sure what the song was at first, but I knew every word, “Can you help me I’m bent?” Just Rob and his accoustic guitar. Rob wrote the song but I guess he paid Matchbox Twenty for its use during his shows?
Still Ain’t Over You (Cradlesong)
Smooth — the crowd favorite! the guitars had a Santana-like quality. He performed the low-key version
This is How a Heart Breaks (Something to Be) — the last song! what a way to end the night!
Thanks so much, Rob, for sharing your talents with us! You rocked Cary out!