Goo Goo Dolls rock Charter One Pavilion once again

Concert ReviewJuly 21, 2011Daily Northwestern

The Goo Goo Dolls proved they are anything but old and nostalgic Saturday night at Charter One Pavilion.

In front of a nearly sold-out crowd, the band played hits from all of their albums including "Iris" from "Dizzy Up the Girl" and "Stay With You" from "Let Love In."

Parachute and Michelle Branch opened for the Goo Goo Dolls, who played Charter One Pavilion for a second year in a row. Parachute, a band from Charlottesville, Va., brought a high-energy alternative sound to the stage that featured Kit French's wailing saxophone and dueling keyboards between him and Will Anderson, the band's lead singer. Their upbeat performance was accentuated by Anderson's run through the crowd, where he gave high fives to anyone he passed while singing one of their few notable songs. After Parachute's quick set ended, the band left the stage to sign autographs and take photos with almost every teenage girl from the audience.

Parachute was followed by a disappointing performance from Michelle Branch, who decided to cut costs by leaving the drummer behind. Instead, she chose to use pre-recorded drum tracks to accompany her set, which was full of cover-ups. In one instance during her song "Goodbye to You," Branch leaned back from the microphone to take a quick break from singing as her overly-amplified backup vocals continued to play. In addition to the drums and vocals, Branch's bass-playing husband and her effect-heavy lead guitarist played loud enough to cut out Branch's guitar almost entirely. The only life during her set came from groups of girls and middle-aged women singing along to every faux song she performed.

After Branch's set and a light show that lasted too long, the Goo Goo Dolls appeared. Their set began on a high note with a strong opening song and "Slide," one of their biggest hits. From there on out, the group performed "Falling Down," "Home" and "Name" with bass player Robby Takac and frontman John Rzeznik alternating on vocals. Takac was the highlight of the evening, rocking hard during every song, slapping the bass like it was his last concert and singing his heart out on some of the Goo Goo Dolls' earlier punk songs. Rzeznik's voice was on point throughout the show, and he was accompanied on guitar by Brad Fernquist, whose solos were one of the highlights of the evening.

In addition to an impressive performance by the Goo Goo Dolls, the stage show provided a nice addition to the band's performance through the use of an LED background. During the hit single "Broadway," the background lit up to display the winding streets of New York City at night, giving audience members the experience of flying through the skyline.

After their performance of "Broadway," the band left the stage for only a minute before coming out to play "Big Machine" and "Let Love In" for their encore. Based on Saturday's show, there is no reason why the Goo Goo Dolls shouldn't come back again to fill the seats at Charter One Pavilion.