Goo Goo Dolls to get intimate in baby grand

InterviewApril 27, 2014delawareonline

It took 32 minutes for the Goo Goo Dolls to sell out Wednesday night's concert at the tiny, 300-person baby grand in Wilmington.

If the John Rzeznik-led rock band wanted to, they could have easily filled the 1,200-seat Grand next door.

"We could have probably sold out the bigger theater in another hour or two, but the plan is to do something special," says Goo Goo Dolls co-founder and bassist Robby Takac. "And it just doesn't play the same way in a larger room. It becomes a rock concert and less of what we intended it to be."

The idea for the tour is this: Rzeznik and Takac perform an acoustic collection of hits ("Iris," "Name," "Slide") and rarities with a "Storytellers" vibe.

The baby grand was selected as one of 13 venues to host the band's three-week sold-out tour of intimate venues, which kicked off April 7 in Syracuse, N.Y. (Wilmington will be the tour's finale.)

The tour, parts of which are being filmed for an upcoming documentary, was launched in connection to the April 8 release of the band's live EP, "Warner Sound Sessions."

The four-time Grammy-nominated band, now in its 28th year, has such a long history that Rzeznik and Takac had to re-learn some of the more obscure songs.

"It's been a strange trip. A lot of the songs have different arrangements, too," says Takac, also the head of Good Charamel Records, based in Buffalo, N.Y., where the Goo Goo Dolls were formed in 1986. "It's challenging in a weird sort of way, but it's fun."

Rzeznik explained his intentions for the tour to ABC News Radio: "I just think that the history of this band has never been really told and there's a lot going on there that a lot of people don't know about. People know us for 'Iris' or, you know, 'Slide' and those kind of things, and we sort of keep our mouths shut about a lot of things.

"But we just felt that it was time to tell our own story, and let people know who we really are, and what this whole sort of adventure that we've been on has really been like."

The 20-song show is opened by Run River North, a six-piece California-based indie folk-rock band. After Rzeznik plays a few songs solo, the rest of the Goo Goo Dolls join him for a few more. Later, Run River North come on stage to help fill out the acoustic performance. (Takac self-deprecatingly calls himself and Rzeznik "garage musicians at best.")

"They play violins, mandolins, guitars and sing," Takac says. "By the end of the show, we have 11 people on stage."

The Goo Goo Dolls were already nine years into their run as a band when the 1995 "A Boy Named Goo" album became a hit on the strength of its third single, "Name." The band's follow-up three years later, "Dizzy Up the Girl," was an even bigger success thanks to the band's biggest hit to date, "Iris."

With the Goo Goo Dolls' 30th anniversary on the horizon, it's not lost on Takac that he and Rzeznik have been together longer than many married couples.

"I've heard Johnny say I'm the brother he never wanted. Just like any relationship, there's days where it's not a good idea for him and I to talk, you know," he says. "But you have to want to make this happen if you want it to work. We have seen a lot of friends come and go. It's an amazing testament to the songs and the fans to go with us on this whole ride."

After playing in Delaware, the Goo Goo Dolls will team up with Daughtry, led by former "American Idol" singer Chris Daughtry, for a summer tour of amphitheaters. The double-bill rolls into Camden, N.J.'s Susquehanna Bank Center on Aug. 17 with Plain White T's opening.

Contact Ryan Cormier at (302) 324-2863 or rcormier@delaware Follow him on Twitter @ryancormier.


WHAT: Goo Goo Dolls with Run River North

WHEN: Wednesday, 8 p.m.

WHERE: The baby grand, 818 N. Market St., Wilmington

TICKETS: Sold out