Rob Thomas made a stop on The Great Unknown Tour at the historic Brady Theater in Tulsa, OK, September 3, 2015. He was joined by The Plain White T’s and indie band Vinyl Station. It was an evening filled with lots of energy, fun crowd surprises and great music.
Vinyl Station opened the show. They had great stage presence, sounded fine and the audience seemed to really enjoy them. I liked them a lot and will be checking out more of their music.
The Plain White T’s were a lot of fun to watch. Tom Higgenson and Tim Lopez took turns at lead vocals for the band. I liked the song “Pause” off their new album American Nights. It’s very catchy and they had the crowd singing along with them. The band as a whole sounded fantastic and the harmonies on the song “Heavy Rotation” were spot on.
They had fun crowd interaction and they knew everyone was there ultimately to hear them play “Hey There Delilah.” Of course, they did not disappoint. They started the song and the whole place sang right along with them from the first word. Then, the cutest thing happened. Higgenson noticed a little girl around 8 years old dancing in the aisles. He stopped the song, invited her on stage and asked her to dance while they played. We found out her name was Anastasia and she proceeded to do her ballet moves on stage as he sang “hey Anastasia, here’s to you.” As they were finishing, she got bumped in the head by Lopez’s guitar and started to cry so they paused the song again and Lopez gave her the guitar to play. When she said she didn’t know how to play it, Higgenson responded with “yeah, I don’t either.” By this time the whole crowd was on their feet cheering her on. Higgenson asked the crowd to sing the chorus one last time for Anastasia and when it was done she got hugs and a little kiss on the cheek from Higgenson. They finished their set with “Rhythm of Love” and the crowd danced and sang along.
Rob Thomas came out and blew me away. I expected this to be a good show but I did not expect it to be one of the best shows I’d seen all year. His band and backup singers were quite entertaining to watch and the drummer got extra love being in his hometown of Tulsa. Thomas was a ball of energy. Early on in the show he asked everyone to take the next two hours to forget about work and life’s problems and use the music to escape with him, celebrate life and just have a good time. He promised to work hard for us if we would be there with him. He definitely did just that as he bounced around and sang for a solid two hours. He would dance, jump, twirl his microphone like a baton and use every part of the stage, including standing on the speakers, to keep us following his every move all night long.
Thomas definitely gets pop rock music right. He opened the show with “Give Me the Meltdown” and through the night sang his more popular songs like “Lonely No More” and “Streetcorner Symphony,” but even with the lesser known songs he had the crowd out of their seats dancing. I particularly liked “One Shot” from his current album The Great Unknown. “Fire on the Mountain” was quite intense and had Thomas jumping up and down with his knees to his chest as the music played. He even covered David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and it was perfect for his voice.
Not only could Thomas get you up dancing but he could also captivate you with his acoustic ballads. He dedicated “Ever the Same” to a couple in the audience for their anniversary and I had tears in my eyes with how beautiful he sang it. He also did a stripped down version of Matchbox Twenty’s “3 AM” while he played the piano and then mixed it with an excerpt of Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.” The crowd went wild and sang as loud as they could. I don’t usually like it when artists rearrange a popular song to play it live but this one worked. And when he sang “Her Diamonds” the crowd held up “Team Mari” signs in support of Thomas’ wife who is undergoing treatment for a lesion on her brain.
For his encore it was just him with his guitar singing Cindy Lauper’s “Time After Time” and Matchbox Twenty’s “Bent.” Then the band returned and he hyped the crowd up again with “Smooth” in honor of “Uncle Carlos (Santana)” and ended the show with “This is How a Heart Breaks.”
Rob Thomas sounded just as good on song one as he did on song 24 – even after bouncing around for two hours. He definitely gave us his all up on stage and the love for what he does was quite evident. I walked away from that show with a whole new respect and admiration for him and will definitely be seeing his show again next time he comes to town.
What’s your favorite Rob Thomas song? Tweet me @shanherrold
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Rob Thomas – The Great Unknown