Last week my friend Melissa called me up at work screaming that she had
won tickets to a Goo Goo Dolls concert for the Oxygen Network, and she (of
course) was taking me! Monday, July 21st, came and we were both so excited. I
left work an hour early so we could take the 4:49 train into the city. We got
to New York around 5:15 and made our way to the Manhattan Center. It only
took us about 10 minutes to walk from Penn Station. We saw several different
lines and asked the security guard where the WPLJ winners were supposed to go.
He sent us over to a woman where we checked in and got our hands stamped (a
little red star). Then she showed us where the PLJ line was. We were standing
there for nearly a half hour, so I tried to pass the time by playing games with
Melissa. For some reason she didn't really care about what number between 1
and 1,000,000, color, city, band, movie, clothing item, and book I was
thinking about. But I was amusing the people behind us. Finally at 6:00 they
started letting the PLJ winners in. Only twelve people would go in at a time, so I
figured out that we would be in the third group of people to get in. However,
as the third group was going, the security guard let in four people ahead of
everyone else. This pushed us back to the fourth group. We were not very
pleased about that. It worked out fine though, because they let us in almost
immediately after the third group.
When we went inside we got to go up in the elevator. Melissa and I stayed near the front and I was the first person in the elevator to get out, and also the first person to walk in the ballroom where the concert was being held. When I saw it I screamed out, "Holy Shit!!". It seemed too good to be true as we walked right up to the front of the stage where we knew Johnny Rzeznik would later be standing directly in front of us. Our elbows were literally right on the stage, and we even read the play list (I also touched Johnny's water bottle that was sitting next to the microphone stand).
Right after we claimed our spots, the other people who had climbed up the seven flights of stairs came in. This woman (probably around 20-22 years old) came and stood to the right of me. Her mother asked me how I got these tickets so I told her that we had won them. She was very pissed off because, apparently, they had been waiting outside since 1:30a.m. and the security guard promised them that they would be the first ones to go inside. I'm sure that the security guard told her that just to shut her up (also, she may have been "guaranteed" to be first in, but they can't guarantee her place on the floor in a general admission standing room only concert). I wasn't sure what to say to her, so all I said was, "Well I don't know." Then I had to listen to her bitch and complain about how I had enough room and should just move over so she could be in the front row too. I was just so sick of hearing her that I actually did move over, which turned out to be a big mistake. I like to think of myself as, generally, a nice person. I say "please" and "thank you", "God bless you" and "excuse me", and "I'm sorry". I thought for a minute that if I was in her position, I would want someone to make room for me too (but then I realized I would never have the nerve to put someone in that position in the first place); I also figured that by moving over she would shut up. Was I wrong. She never even said thank you, and after I moved she seemed to bitch and moan even more (not to mention that her fat ass was protruding into my personal space). Melissa and everyone (including myself) agreed that I should never have moved over for her. But old blacked-rooted fat-ass wasn't going to spoil our good time. After that, Melissa and I kept on making fun of her. Melissa would scream out, "Cry me a fucking river!", and I would stroke my index finger over my thumb and shout out, "Oh look it's the world's smallest violin playing you the saddest song!" That kept our spirits high and cracked Melissa up. At least the woman next to Melissa was very nice, and so were the girls behind us. After a while, the security guards came out and told us to move back about a foot and a half, because cameramen would be filming and needed room to move around. They also told us not to touch the stage and grab for the band or whatever they throw out, but to just ask them to get something for us. The cameramen came out and started setting up to shoot the concert. Melissa got angry because the cameraman and this woman were standing right in front of her, and she couldn't see over her.
Finally, this woman named Jen came out and said that the band would be out in a half hour. Around 7:45 this guy came out (he must have been with Oxygen Network) and told us that they were going to shoot some audience cutaways for when the concert goes to commercial on television. We were instructed to scream as if the band was on stage. The cameraman was right in front of us when we were doing it too which was kind of funny. After three different shots, that guy said he felt good about himself and promised us that the band would be out soon. When we finished I tried to get the crowd to do the wave, but no one was interested and the security guards saw and started laughing. Close to 8:10, Jen came back out to finally announce the band!
They looked so cute! Robbie had no shoes on, and I didn't blame him. If he's more comfortable without shoes, then more power to him. Johnny took his place directly in front of Melissa and I, looking rather handsome. He was wearing a pair of black Sketchers sneakers, green army colored pants with grommet holes in them (near the *ahem* upper inside thighs), and a black sleeveless shirt [showing off his tattoos including that Picasso painting on his upper right arm]. He was also chewing a small piece of white gum. I tried to figure out what kind it was; I was guessing plain Trident, Juicy Fruit, or Orbit. As for the drum player, sorry I really didn't pay too much attention to him. The first song they played was Dizzy. They sounded so amazing. The cameraman's blonde friend and I seemed to be the only ones who didn't know the words, so the two of us just clapped along. We had fun hanging out with her all night. The cameraman kept on getting shots of the three of us which was funny. Next up was Slide, which was great because I actually knew the words to the song. The security guard near us must have been a big fan of GGD too because he was facing us, but also singing along with every song they sang. He was really nice too. All throughout the concert, the cameraman would come in front of me to get an angle of Johnny singing. Finally, his friend told me that when he comes just push back, because they girls behind me because they "just weren't getting it". That seemed to work pretty well.
They seemed to be rushing through the songs, playing one right after another without stopping to talk. I guess that was because they could only play for so long, so they could edit the concert properly for tv. Black Balloon was the song they did next. Another song I wasn't too familiar with, but still sounded great. While they played I just kept on looking up at Johnny; he has this unbelievable stage presence. Here is Gone was after that, and I at least knew the chorus to that one. Following Here is Gone, they did Big Machine. When they finished Big Machine, Johnny finally started talking to the audience. He thanked us all for coming out and the usual appreciate the fans ki nd of stuff. A girl had thrown a Curious George doll/backpack thing on stage and Johnny picked it up. He started talking to it and then put it on and said, "I have a monkey on my back!" which was quite funny. These people a few rows back had this sign that said something along the lines of, "We drove 800 miles to see you play NAKED!!". Johnny saw it and asked to see the sign (promising to give it back), so they threw it up so he could show everyone. He tossed the sign on stage somewhere and guess what song they played next? Little did I realize that Naked was the name of a song, so I expected Johnny to take his shirt off or something. When they finished playing Naked (Johnny messed up and had forgotten how the solo went), Johnny threw his guitar pick off to the side and I asked the security guard to get it for me (we weren't allowed to reach for the stage). I was so excited that I got his guitar pick and Melissa and our friend were like, "You got it!!!".
They played Think About Me and then Smash. Johnny took a few sips of his water, then bent down and handed it to Melissa!! Of course everyone went for it (myself included), but when I realized that Melissa was the one who had I was so completely excited! Melissa and our new friend were a little wet from the water spillage, but it was okay. Later that night I was like, "You were the ONLY person who got their water!"
I was glad when they started to play Broadway, because I actually knew that one! Name was next, which was also captivating. They did the cover, American Girl, and then Sympathy. The last one they did was Iris which was my favorite song. During the chorus, Johnny would lift up the microphone stand and put it out in the audience so we could sing along. Around 9:25 they left the stage, but before they left, Johnny grabbed this girls hand and kissed her cheek. I think someone said that she was a friend of his, or she knew him somehow.
That Oxygen guy came out again and told us that the band would be out to redo some songs (at that point Johnny had come back out smoking his cigarette) because we rocked the place so hard the cameras were shaking and the shots were messed up. He asked us to not jump around and move so much. Johnny started showing us how we were "supposed to be" and was making fun. Then he commented on his cigarette saying how he could smoke in there and none of us could (laws in NY are stupid). They played Slide, and then Here is Gone. When they left the stage for the second time, I figured they weren't coming back, because by that point they had turned on all of the lights. Then Melissa grabbed Johnny's set list. The people who had the Naked sign from before asked one of the crew guys to get it for them (it was on stage near the drum set). They told us that it was the second sign Johnny didn't return to them! Melissa and I said goodbye to our new friend and the cameraman. It was his second time filming and I told him he did a good job. We told our friend that we'll see her on tv and then we left. By the time we got outside it was only about 9:35, so we headed back to Penn Station. When you watch the concert on tv (September 7th at 10:00p.m. on the Oxygen network) and you see a shot of Johnny directly in front or a little on the right side of him, know that the cameraman was stepping on my foot to get that image.