What can I say about Rob Thomas... I could write so much, and yet it's taken me over a month to get my words together to write about this show. I have idolized Rob since I was 16. I dressed like him, painted my nails black like him (this was the nineties, guys!), and wore leather pants like him. (Ahem.) The first time I heard "Push," I knew that music and writing would never be the same for me again. His words felt like my words, as if he had plucked them from my core or ripped a page from my book. Every song felt like it was mine, as if he knew me in another life. His words took up residence in my soul and they changed my life. I really wouldn't be who I am today without Rob Thomas. 18 years later, I still idolize him for his poetry, and also for what an amazing person he is. I talk more about his foundation, Sidewalk Angels, on one of my Fandom Friday posts.
I hadn't seen Rob Thomas or Matchbox Twenty since 2008. Rob's tour didn't come through Salt Lake City after Cradlesong was released in 2009, and Matchbox's tour didn't come through after North was released in 2012. Yes, I do travel if I need to so I can see my favorite bands, but the stars just weren't aligning for me to see him. I'd seen him eight times before--and met him once. The hubby and I went to Denver in 2006 to see him after Something to Be was released and were able to get backstage passes. Meeting him was surreal, but he was just as kind and gracious as I hoped.
I'm digressing because a lot of my paths share space with my Rob Thomas moments. But anyway--June 25, 2015 came nearly nine years after I had met him, and seven years after I had last seen him. A lot had changed for me--two kids, my MA, and the ending of one career and the beginning of another. Yet, the moment he walked onstage it was as if no time had passed and his voice and words brought my heart home.
The SLC crowd was really lucky to hear him--only the night before, he had been forced to cancel his Denver show due to him falling ill. He said he saw a doctor and his voice had come back, but it wasn't in top shape. He sang his heart out, and the crowd loved him for it. There were times where I could hear the strain in his voice, but it didn't matter. Because he was there.
I had a fantastic time singing along to every song. Some of the songs I'd never seen live before because they were on his Cradlesong album, which was released after I had last seen him. The show was amazing and time was going by so fast and I didn't want it to end--but then time actually did stop when Rob's crew pushed out a gorgeous white piano and Rob sat down to it and played "3 AM." He said he didn't normally play Matchbox songs on his solo tours, but some songs just meant too much. If you've never heard him play this song on the piano, this gorgeous, stripped down acoustic version of the song, you should go to You Tube right now. During this song, I put down the phone and stopped taking pictures. I just lived in those few moments, where it was 3 AM and I was 17 again or 22 or 30.
Tears were streaming down my face because of the 18 years this man has made an impact on who I am, because I was remembering my first Rob concert and it was my mom who took me, because "3 AM" was written about Rob's mother's fight with cancer, because my dad who loves Rob almost as much as I do is currently fighting cancer, and because I was there with my husband and our beautiful miracle daughter. It wasn't a full circle of my life, but it was flashes of moments of life that danced across my heart as I listened to him sing those words that had been engraved in my bones all those years ago.
To top the night off, the drummer gave my daughter his drumstick. She was ecstatic and so was I. That's my girl!
Only a couple weeks later, Rob had to cancel some shows due to his wife's health. He's back on the road, and I saw on Facebook that she is with him again. You can read updates about their situation on his Facebook page. #TeamMari
Thank you, Rob Thomas, for sharing your talent because it helped me discover mine. You said to write my soul down word for word, and I am.