Central Florida native Rob Thomas returns for a show at Hard Rock Live

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ROB THOMAS PHOTO BY RANDALL SLAVIN
  • Rob Thomas photo by Randall Slavin
Around the time that Orlando was known for cranking out manufactured boy bands like *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys (and O-Town, and 98 Degrees, etc.), Central Florida native Rob Thomas got a taste of superstardom with his band Matchbox 20.

Their 1996 debut album Yourself or Someone Like You went platinum 12 times, making it one of the RIAA’s comparatively few “Diamond” albums. Anthems like “Push” and “3AM” still inspire sing-alongs in the car when they pop up on the radio. But Thomas’ biggest success by far was his 1999 collaboration with Carlos Santana, “Smooth,” on Santana’s comeback album, Supernatural. The song was nothing less than a monster, and was played practically everywhere. We were only half-joking when we suggested on April Fool’s Day a few years ago that the speakers at Lake Eola Park should just play “Smooth” on a loop.



The fact that Thomas has never had a hit that rose to that level isn’t a black spot on his record, because most artists never have a hit that big in their life. The Lake Brantley High School grad stops into Hard Rock Live this week to promote his newest solo album, Chip Tooth Smile, but to be honest, we’re hoping he sneaks a Tabitha’s Secret (his old Orlando-area band) song or two into the setlist.

with Abby Anderson | 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 3 | Hard Rock Live, 6050 Universal Blvd. | 407-351-7625 | hardrock.com | $67.50-$125.50

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