Matchbox 20/20. No, 20/21. No, 20/23.

My husband and I are currently sitting under the roof at the Virginia Beach amphitheater awaiting word on whether a pop-up storm will cause an abrupt end to our plans. 

The plans?

Just a lovely night with a favorite performer, Rob Thomas, and his amazing band, Matchbox 20.

Rain delays at a concert? 

Not unheard of in this season of Concerts Al Fresco.

But good grief, this concert long ago made us paranoid that maybe the universe was directing us to just stay home. A struggle to get to? Understatement. As noted by nearly everyone in attendance (and also the band) this show’s start time was delayed by three years. The audience? Much more engaged with each other than is typical as the official icebreaker was “Can you believe we’re finally here?

No. We could not believe it. So why not throw in a mid-show thunderstorm? 

Mother Nature, am I right? She’s so mean. Yes, that was a Matchbox 20 reference. I currently have a lot of time to think.

Here we sit surrounded by thunder, lightning, and sideways rain. The chatter has turned to whether or not this concert, while finally started, will actually ever finish. This concert was to be our final stamp of completion on the pandemic (yes, that pandemic). It’s been three years since we enthusiastically pushed “Add to Cart” for the sweetest seats ever because, as my husband says, life’s too short for bad seats. 

The original concert date was July 31, 2020. Even as we purchased the seats, there was a rumbling of events being cancelled due to the coming social guidelines but, really, this show was months out so, probably fine, right? 

When the concert was indeed canceled it was with a note to stay tuned for a rescheduled date the following summer and, so, we kept our July 2021 clear, as suggested. 

As that date approached so did another note with word of further postponement, this time to July 26, 2023. 


Wait now, what? What happened to 2022? Wasn’t that in the middle? Were we just skipping that year altogether? I had a hard time planning more than three months ahead, let alone three years. 

Still, we remained strong, hopeful that Rob Thomas would remember us.

As we dove into 2023, my husband and I both traded reminders for months to “add that concert to the calendar” lest we schedule anything over it. As concert season began to peak around the corner … wait, now what? … a news alert was delivered to my phone referencing a fire. At a local concert venue. In Virginia.

Yes, obviously. That venue. The Virginia Beach Amphitheater. Oh,COME ON!!!

And so, we waited for another note of cancellation. It never came. 

And so, today, on a work night no less, we drove east to finally spend an evening with one of our favorite bands. We sort of expected a low-attendance situation what with all the delays and Wednesday-ness of the show but, no. It turns out that we weren’t the only ones who hung onto those tickets for three years.

Matchbox 20 delivered from the first chord drawing an eruption of glee that was 36 months in the making. And then, just as those slower, adult skate songs were set to begin (thank goodness, my dancing legs were ready for a break), welp, foiled again as the band was escorted off the stage and much of the audience was evacuated to safety.

The wind gusts and rain may have been ideal for driving away the 97-degree/732-percent sauna, but they came with the very real potential of ending this long-awaited concert early. 

The show did go on and it was fabulous. 

With a delay that pushed the show’s timing past the city’s noise ordinance demands, the band went top speed in playing all those hits typically reserved for the second half of a show. 

We were even rewarded with the removal of the encore tease as Rob Thomas noted that 

Typically, this is where we’d run off the stage and you all would sit here wondering … hoping that we were going to come back even though we would all really know that would come back. We’re not going to do that today. Today, we’re just going to pretend we left and now … *Surprise!* we’re here for an encore!”

Words delivered to a crowd becoming more and more excited to finally reach a finish line three years in the making.

An audience that knew they were about to hear the best of the best songs.

An audience filled with people who would finally be able to check off that final box in pandemic delays. 

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