Goo Goo Dolls slay house

Concert ReviewApril 14, 2010Unknown source

Rock band delivers during show in Hershey

Intelligencer Journal
Lancaster New Era
Apr 14, 2010 23:49 EST

By JON FERGUSON, Staff Writer


Twenty-five years into a career that no one could have predicted, the Goo Goo Dolls have become consummate professionals.

The rock band, which kept an enthusiastic, adoring crowd on its feet for almost two hours, barreled through an almost flawless show Tuesday night at the Hershey Theatre.

The sound (plenty loud but not painful) was clean and crisp, the lighting was dramatic without being over the top, the musicians were engaged and energetic, and the playing was top-notch.

The Goo Goo Dolls — a trio comprised of singer/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist/singer Robbie Takac and drummer Mike Malinin — were supplemented by another guitarist (who Rzeznk said played all the "hard" parts) and a keyboardist/guitarist (who also picked up a saxophone during "Broadway").

The band — led by Rzeznik, who has a ramshackle, rock-star charm as he shook the blond hair from his face and leaned hard into his power chords, and Takac, who was visually arresting as he stomped across the stage slapping at his bass — raced through its repertoire.

The songs came fast and furious as the band barely paused between tunes during its set, which lasted for almost two hours.

The band did take a couple of breaks when Rzeznik slowed things down to engage in obscenity-laced conversations with the audience. Takac also briefly spoke to the crowd and described the streetlights that look like giant Hershey Kisses as "badass," which has to be a first.

The Goo Goo Dolls played all of its huge hits, minor singles and near-misses, including "Dizzy," "Slide," "Better Days," "Name," "Let Love In" and "Sympathy."

Not surprisingly, the band saved "Iris", the monster hit that turned Rzeznik into a superstar, for the last song of its regular set.

What was surprising was the effectiveness of the two-song encore. Rzeznik, who screwed up the beginning of the tender tune, first performed a moving solo version of "Sympathy" and the band then rejoined him for a raucous rendition of "Broadway."

The encore summed up well the appeal of the Goo Goo Dolls, a band based in Buffalo, N.Y., that started with modest ambitions and appeared stuck in the club circuit until it embraced the power ballad and became consistent hit-makers.

The band, however, can still rock like crazy, especially when Takac takes the mic, and the contrast between the straight-ahead rockers and the more emotional, though dynamic, ballads proved irresistible in concert.

To its credit, the band played a clutch of songs from its upcoming album, "Something for the Rest of Us." They all sounded good, especially "The Sweetest Lie," which led off the concert in fine fashion and will be the album's first single.

The Rocket Summer opened the show with forgettable 45-minute set. Try as he might, frontman Stephen Bryce Avary could never excite the crowd with his batch of ho-hum songs.