Goo Goo Dolls please fans at SPAC / review
« on: Jul 26th, 2007, 11:31am »
Goo Goo Dolls please fans at SPAC
By TODD KEHOE
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2007
SARATOGA SPRINGS -- For a band mainly known for its softer radio hits, the Goo Goo Dolls brought plenty of high-energy rock to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center on Tuesday night.
Opening strongly with "Long Way Down," the hard-charging opener from 1995's breakthrough "A Boy Named Goo," the band members did their best to balance what they were -- a hard-rocking, hard-working rock-punk outfit from Buffalo -- with what they have become: a polished Top 40 hit machine that found success by putting acoustic guitars out front.
Lead singer Johnny Rzeznik, whose distinctive voice sounded scratchier than usual, seemed to be having a ball on stage, running from side to side, flipping guitar picks into the crowd and shaking front-row hands -- even laughing after getting trapped by one fan who seemed loath to let his hand go.
Mid-set, bass player Robby Takac took the lead vocals on several older songs, but unfortunately his voice was difficult to hear. But he showed a lot of energy, pumping his fist and shaking his tightly braided hair while holding down a sharp bass line.
Even when he was not singing, however, all eyes remained on Rzeznik, the band's one true rock star.
Once he took back the vocal reins, he gave most of the crowd the hits they wanted to hear.
The band churned out "Name," its first big breakthrough hit; "Black Balloon"; "Broadway"; "Iris"; and one of its latest songs, off the "Transformers" soundtrack, "Before It's Too Late."
Rzeznik said the band was not being paid to promote the movie and he would only say of the song that it was about "a boy who loved a girl and a bunch of killer robots from outer space."
The band sounded good, especially touring keyboardist and guitarist Korel Tunador, who juggled both instruments at times and even ran to the front of the stage playing a saxophone at one point. Mike Malinin, who has become the band's drummer, was strong without being flashy; and backup guitarist Brad Fernquist displayed some dexterity when he picked up a mandolin for "Iris."
With such a big gap between their early power days and their acoustic No. 1 phase today, the Goo Goo Dolls seemed to be trying to please everyone rather than worrying about the old fans or the new fans.
One complaint, however, was that the band did not stay long, playing less than a 90-minute set and finishing with an encore before 11 p.m.
Also disappointing was the first opener, Colbie Caillat. Her album dropped this week at No. 5 on the Billboard charts, but her 'tween-pleasing cotton candy sound did not hold up in comparison with the bands that followed her.
The second opening act, Lifehouse, was strong enough to convince the crowd that next year it will have top billing if it returns to SPAC.
The band's breakout hit, "Hanging by a Moment," got the crowd fired up quickly, and the band returned the favor with a fiery mix of old hits and new singles.