-By Dariya Salmin
“The thing about Wednesday night is it doesn’t have a lot of sex appeal, no one says lets party like a Wednesday night” is exactly what Rob Thomas said at his Kings Park concert last night, before he managed to prove everyone wrong. Accompanied by the great Pete Murray and local band From the Dunes, Rob Thomas managed to put on a classic rock show that captivated the audience for an exciting two hours.
Wanting to guarantee a good picnic spot for the night, the early birds starting flying in, as From the Dunes blissfully played their pop rock tunes. Enjoyable listening, this local band set the mood for the evening to a disinterested crowd who were there for one man only. This remained evident as Pete Murray launched into a faultless set, fighting for the crowds attention and directing his songs to the small dance section, whom he kept acknowledging as his favourite, “cmon Perth lets warm up here, there is alcohol out there isn’t there?”
With an ageless rock, blues and acoustic style, Pete Murray really shined through, together with his classic husky vocals and the extremely talented support band. The keyboard player and the lead guitarist, created a quirky and soulful dynamic, which was demonstrated in songs such as; Fall Your Way and Sugar as the two would solo back and forth, playing off each other. As Murray struggled to hype up the audience it was his well-known songs, Seen Better Days, Opportunity and So Beautiful that saw a peak in the crowd’s response, as well as Rob Thomas walking on stage mid set. “We got a new roadie that’s working for us tonight, get out here and polish this guitar for us” is what Murray said to the crowd before he let everyone know that it was actually Rob Thomas. As the sun finally set, the atmosphere of the botanical gardens changed, as the colourful picnic goers buzzed with excitement and anticipation. Murray finished off by thanking and introducing himself to all the husbands that had come with their wives and allowed their ladies to look at him. With a funky guitar riff, melodic singing and a groovy bass line, he played his last song Always a Winner, which had everyone up and dancing ready for Rob Thomas.
As soon as he’s seen on stage, it’s clear the artist, performer and lead singer from Matchbox Twenty is at home. Bringing about such a great amount of energy, Thomas and his band kicked the night off with his song Give Me the Melt Down. Bouncing and dancing around on stage, his confidence and ease was contagious, as the audience effortlessly danced along with him. Fallin’ to Pieces was next and then Lonely No More. Thomas gave this song such authenticity it would be hard to guess he’s probably played it a million times. Heaven Help Me is a song off the new record Great Unknown. “This song is about how no matter how many times you try you’ll never be 21 again and it is about that realisation. Hopefully we have it before we kill ourselves” joked Thomas as the majority of the crowd laughed and cheered, giving a general idea of the age group in attendance. Heaven Help Me is a more playful pop rock song, than a lot of his older music, however everyone showed an enthusiastic response, with one couple even getting engaged. Rob Thomas congratulated the pair and then dedicated his love ballad Ever The Same to them. Definitely a few tears shed for the emotional types during this simplistic performance as Thomas demonstrated his vocal ability playing with only a spotlight and an acoustic guitar. The next three songs; Someday, One Shot and Fire On The Mountain got everyone grooving again, however it was his cover of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance that really got everyone out of their seats and dancing. The atmosphere in Kings Park was amazing as Thomas and the band covered Bowie’s song with such funk and originality. The perfect transition for a “little rock band shenanigans” Pieces was next, as everyone was asked to get out their lite up phones and sway them in the air. Just when the sea of starry phones couldn’t have made it more of a rock concert, Thomas sang the lyrics “now and then there’s a light in the darkness.” Throughout the rest of the evening, Rob Thomas and his band continued to give their performance 110 percent. His energy, talent and effort never seemed to fade as he closed the set with his four main anthems; 3AM, Bent, Smooth and This Is How a Heart Breaks. The crowd sang each song word for word and it was clear the performance was coming to an end when Thomas jumped into the audience and sang his heart out. An admirable and exceptional performance, it’s safe to say every one left feeling a little bit more youthful.
Photo Credit: Matthew Picken