Goo Goo Dolls exceed expectations

Concert ReviewApril 27, 2014The Observer

In spite of this department’s pre-concert hesitancy, the Goo Goo Dolls rocked the Stepan Center on Saturday. The crowd was excited, the stage set and the band did not disappoint.

The concert was part of the Goo Goo Dolls’ promotional tour for the recently released album “Magnetic” and features a new drummer, after the recent resignation of Mike Malinin after almost ten years with the band.

When I first heard that the Goo Goo Dolls would head the SUB concert this year, I was ambivalent to say the least. “The Goo Goo Dolls are a dad band, why would SUB choose them?” After going to the concert, however, it is safe to say that this was an excellent choice.

The show opened up with Run River North, an indie-oriental-folk band based out of Los Angeles. The young six-member band was incredibly talented, rocking a great harmony and a wide diversity of instruments ranging from violins to melodicas. Their set was solid, and ended with a fun, laid-back cover of The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”

After a relatively short intermission, the Goo Goo Dolls burst onto stage with a thundering bang and an explosion of lights. The audience went wild and lead singer John Rzeznik won everyone over with his awesome voice. Rzeznik still has all the power and swagger in his singing that he had back when the band started in 1987. More impressively, however, he played the entire concert with gum in his mouth.

It became apparent almost immediately that the Goo Goo Dolls know how to entertain, and that they could back it up with superior arena rock music, even in a relatively small setting like the Stepan Center. Rzeznik and the rest of the band dominated the site and the crowd. The atmosphere was intense and positive, and the Goo Goo Dolls made sure everyone had a great time.

The lack of dads in the concert venue may not have been optimal, but that young and hip crowd still buzzed with excitement during all of the band’s biggest hits (except for that kid with the Mohawk, what were you doing there?). The group played everything from the classic “Slide” to newer hits from “Magnetic” such as “Come to Me” and “Rebel Beats.” The hour and a half show went by incredibly quickly, as the band was fired up with energy and only stopped between songs to switch out instruments. The group dynamics were outstanding, as every member gave off the same positive vibes, from drummer Chris McIntyre, whose joyful facial expressions were an unanticipated feature, to keyboardist Korel Tunador, who whipped out a saxophone in the middle of the show for an E-Street Band-esque solo.

After they finished their set, the horde of ecstatic students roared for an encore, and the Goo Goo Dolls delivered with “Name,” their first big radio hit. As with all the other big songs, the whole crowd was singing, dancing and fist pumping through the whole track.

The highlight of the evening was definitely “Iris.” Every single member of the audience was singing along (except for that couple viciously making out), and it was a fantastic, emotional experience. The Goo Goo Dolls have probably played that song a thousand times, but Rzeznik and the group treated it like it was the first time. They gave Notre Dame a version of the song filled with a passionate energy, of which everyone’s dads would have been jealous. The Goo Goo Dolls provided a wonderfully entertaining night filled with an energy that the crowd excitedly reciprocated and showed Notre Dame that they have perfected the art of arena rock.