Who do you call when your pal Carlos Santana has plans on a Friday night?
If you’re Rob Thomas, you recruit another famous friend, rocker Sammy Hagar, who turned up to help the singer close out the latest show of his Chip Tooth Smile tour with a performance of “Smooth” at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, Calif., on Friday night (Sept. 20).
After leading a singalong of the Matchbox Twenty hit “Unwell” during his encore, Thomas paused to ask the crowd if they’d had a good night. “Is it wrong that I thought you’d have an even better night?” he teased, before declaring that Riverside should have had the kind of night that only the Red Rocker could elevate.
Hitting the stage looking oh so smooth in sunglasses, jeans and a black t shirt, Hagar, 71, drew gasps and cheers from the packed venue as he launched into the number one song’s iconic opening chords, with a chuckle.
Thomas, 47, couldn’t have looked more thrilled to have the musical legend on stage with him, grinning ear-to-ear, sharing “How cool is this?” looks with his band members and raising his arms in the air to worship the icon at one point.
“What the f– is that?” he beamed before giving Hagar a hug in the middle of the performance.
“This just happened! Sammy f–ing Hagar,” Thomas added at the end of the song, which recently marked its 20th anniversary.
Still on a high, Thomas treated fans to one more solo tune, “This Is How a Heart Breaks,” before concluding the gig and taking to Instagram to reiterate what a fanboy moment he had just experienced.
“So. Today I got to play with @sammyhagar,” he captioned a selfie with Hagar. “When I was a kid every damn day I would go home. Smoke weed. And watch LIVE WITHOUT A NET he is a legend. And every time I’ve seen him he has been a legend. Thank you for making this night so special.”
The surprise performance comes just days after Thomas reunited with Santana to perform “Smooth” at Bite of Las Vegas 2019, after the guitarist flew into Sin City a day early so that the pair could grab dinner, catch up and jam out together on their Grammy-winning hit.
Santana then recommenced his An Intimate Evening with Santana residency at House of Blues at Mandalay Bay, where he was performing as Thomas kicked off the final shows of his North American Chip Tooth Tour run in Riverside. The tour wraps up on Sept. 28 in Napa, California, and Thomas will then head Down Under for Australian concerts and winery gigs in November.
With several Matchbox Twenty hits, including “If You’re Gone” and “3AM” sprinkled throughout Friday’s setlist — in between his “Chip Tooth Smile” album’s singles and old solo favorites like “Lonely No More” — Thomas teased that his upcoming plans also include 2020 Matchbox Twenty fun, telling the audience they could expect to see him back with the “best pop-rock band” in the world next summer.