Concert Review

Concert ReviewApril 13, 2010Real Nepa Music

by, Kelly Franks

As the Goo Goo Dolls finish reworking cuts to be released on their ninth studio album, "Something for the Rest of Us," the multi-platinum national recording artists have been performing a circuit of intimate venues. On Sunday, their appearance at the Kirby Center in Wilkes Barre, PA satisfied local Goo fans craving the band's greatest hits in an ideal testing ground for the new material.

Wasting no time getting to it, the Goo Goo Dolls opened the set with one of their upcoming singles, "The Sweetest Lie," a poppy guitar driven tune with a catchy four on the floor chorus, bringing the crowd to it's feet where they remained for the entire show.

"Big Machine" followed, lead singer John Reznik's disco inspired score based on his initial relocation to the Los Angelos area. With building momentum, the Buffalo based trio set the stage for their next selection, a sure fire crowd pleaser and one of the band's most popular songs.

At the start of "Slide's" signature acoustic riff, the room's energy trippled as the audience transformed into a sea of videography, brandishing their cells and cameras to capture the moment for posterity and probable internet usage. Reznik delivered a quality performance reminiscent of the band's best times, making it hard to believe it had been more than ten years since the song's release.

Following some brief commentary came "Everything You Are," off the band's most succesful album to date, "Dizzy Up the Girl," and "Here Is Gone," from "Gutterflower," a slightly darker work stemming from Reznik's post-divorce period. Goo Goo Dolls' co-founder and bass player, Robby Takac, helped the band switch things up with "Another Second Time Around," and "Smash," singing the vocal lead on both songs which received a tepid response despite his spot on performance.

As John Reznik reclaimed the spotlight, eminating undeniable cool, his suprisingly crass sense of humor kept the nearly sold out venue light and laughing during the band's brief stops. In his dry tone he thanked the crowd for "spending the evening with the Schmir Schmir Poo Poo," a reference to an earlier explanation of how the band's name is translated into German. Later in the show he pulled out a folded up piece of paper from his jean pocket and proceeded to make birthday announcements, harrassing a just turned 26 year old in the front row. Reznik explained to the girl that he's as "old as shit" and that "once you turn 25, dating is just a euphemism for fu ... well ... you know."

Reznik also broke into an unexpected question and answer period, calling randomly on raised hands. When asked if the Goo Goo Dolls would be touring again after completing this round, he answered wryly, "I hope so, but the economy is tough and you never know when your gonna lose your job," leaving appreciative fans chuckling at the star's down to earth connection with the common man's plight.

An additional highlight of the night was the Goo Goo Dolls' opening act, The Rocket Summer. The band's multi-talented lead singer, Bryce Avary, won the hearts of many as he showcased his abilities, playing drums, keys, bass, and guitar in a whirlwind perfomance that dazzled many. The band's energetic frontman also performed an acoustic cover of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' song "Maps" standing on the seats of the six row, undoubtedly shocking those lucky patrons sitting in the seventh.

The Goo Goo Dolls' nearly two hour set proved to be a satisfying mix of both greatest hits such as "Name," "Better Days," "Let Love In," and Stay With You," and new material such as "Home" and "One Night," which was received warmly by fans who had been patiently waiting for some new Goo.

The pinnacle of the evening was certainly the band's performance of "Iris," originally written for the 1998 "City of Angels" soundtrack before being added to "Dizzy Up the Girl." With eyes closed, one could have easily imagined the presence of a full orchestra, despite the fact that the band was backed by only one additional guitarist and a proficient utility player covering the keys. After a prolonged break quiet enough to hear a pin drop, the band stunned the audience as they exploded into the final chorus before making a quick exit in preparation for their final few songs.

The band's encore consisted of a solo performance by Reznik of "Sympathy," before the other members rejoined to produce "Flat Top," and finally "Broadway," another succesful single off "Dizzy Up the Girl."

Before the nights end, Reznik appeared as a humble talent who still values the opportunity for the Goo Goo Dolls to perform by a simple, yet telling remark.

"Thank you for keeping us alive."