Goo Goo Dolls dizzy up the Stampede Roundup

InterviewJuly 12, 2018Calgary Herald

You’d think that after playing thousands of shows throughout a storied three-decade-plus career, you’d be fairly comfortable with having people watch you perform.

Not so much in this case, says Goo Goo Dolls lead vocalist and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, after performing an acoustic show exclusively for Air Miles collectors as part of their summer-long Stage Pass contest.

“You can look right in their eyes and sing to them,” he says. “Being in a room of 12 people, I find it more intimidating than being in front of ten thousand people.”

The intimate experience began with the band talking with the lucky few and, of course, posing for photos. Then the 90’s alt-rockers, including Rzeznik and long-time bassist Robby Takac, grabbed their guitars and treated the group to a three-song set featuring the songs Come to Me, from the 2013 Magnetic album, So Alive from the 2016 Boxes album and the band’s first number one single, Name, from the multi-platinum album A Boy Named Goo.

In town to play the annual Stampede Roundup MusicFest, the Goo Goo Dolls were fully versed in what goes on in Calgary during the 10 days of Stampede. After all, the band was a headliner at the Oxford Stomp concert back in 2012.

“I almost bought a checkered shirt and a hat cause I felt out of place. I gotta fit in quick,” jokes Rzeznik.

But fitting in seemed no problem for the Buffalo band as they had the corporate crowd on their feet singing along from the moment they hit the (much) larger stage for their main show, just as the sun was beginning to set.

“These crowds are here to have fun,” said bassist Takac. “It makes our job a little bit easier because people are oiled up and ready to go.”

From where I was standing, the Goo Goo Dolls sure made it easy to have fun.