I remember the exact time I heard Matchbox Twenty for the first time. I was at Garrett’s house in the fourth grade. We were playing video games and listening to music, when Garrett looked at me and said, “This is my dad’s favorite band. I think you’ll like them.” He was playing “Push” off their debut album, Yourself or Someone Like You.
Fast forward yay round ten years. I drive up to Fayetteville to meet Garrett so we can see Matchbox Twenty in concert with the Counting Crows. Our expectations were the highest they’d ever been, yet they were still exceeded. The Wal-Mart Amphitheatre was at full capacity; all seats were filled and there was not a speck of green visible from the grass hill in the back.
The entire show, Garrett and I belted out the words to every song played. We weren’t singing at all, but screaming the words at the top of our lungs out of sheer excitement. This band was the first where every word, every note, every chord of every song were all engrained in our hearts and minds. We were off key and we didn’t care, and the band acknowledged us a few times and pointed to us from the stage. It was pure elation.
We didn’t think much else of it until the encore. The rhythm guitarist, Paul, leans down to a security guard and points at Garrett and me. I was turned around in awe of how many people there were and how thousands of phone flashlights can resemble fireflies in an Arkansas night sky. Garrett pulled at my shoulder as the security guard opened the gate. They helped both of us on stage and we hugged Rob Thomas and talked with Paul for a while. Garrett got to play guitar, and even ended the song. It would just so happen to be perfectly poetic that the song they called us up to be apart of was our favorite song, Long Day. We played a quarter of a song on stage with our favorite band in the world in front of thousands of people.
The experience itself is something out of a dream. The phrase continues to ring true that “Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.” Sometimes you just can’t make this shit up. But that’s not where this story ends.
Before the show ever started; before the stage was set, before the sun went down and the lights came out, before the bands had made it to Rogers, AR, Garrett had an epiphany. He didn’t let me in on it until we drove to the show.
“Jacks, I’m really wanting to take music more seriously. I’ve had this music in my head that’s unlike anything that’s being played right now and I want to get it out.”
That same night we were brought up on stage and Garrett became a rock star for a night. He gave Long Day a true rockstar ending, jumping in time and landing perfectly on the last note. Rob and Paul and the rest of the band couldn’t believe it on stage.
After such a life-changing experience, especially with the kind of mindset Garrett had going into it, his new dream was reaffirmed and set in stone. And because I’m his best friend, I’ll be right beside him making music. I’m a writer and he’s a musician. We might as well get together and make beautiful babies out of our two passions. And that’s exactly what we intend to do.
Way back in middle school we were in a band together, and now thanks to Matchbox Twenty, our passion for music has been rejuvenated, and that is something you can never put a price on, nor is it something we could ever thank you guys enough for. Thank you so incredibly much.