Photographs by Lee-Ann Wylie
The Goo Goo Dolls took the stage first, opening for Matchbox Twenty, with the lights going down and the intro music, Pink Floyd’s “Run like Hell” was cranked on at 7:55pm. This band, that has seen two decades and 10 albums, showed they were no stranger to live performances. Primary singer/songwriter and guitarist, John Rzeznik took center stage as they broke into “Last Hot Night” from their 2013 CD “Magnetic”. Tunes such as “Rebel Beat”, “Come to me” and “Bringing on the Light” followed. Rzeznik wrote “Come to me” for his then girlfriend, who is now his wife. This was a song written about two people growing old together, through life’s ups and downs. Lyrics flashed on the digital background top and bottom which allowed more people in the audience to sing along!
It was an interesting contrast from Rzeznik’s Keith Urban/Jon Bon Jovi-like-good looks to co-founder/bassist Robby Takac’s punk look. I’m not sure who was the most fun to watch! Robby Takac’s looked so happy to be on stage bouncing and rocking out to every tune. They traded off lead vocals as Takac sang tunes like “Smash” and “Second Time Around” to name a few . The band was rounded out by long time Drummer Mike Malinin, keyboardist/ vocalist/ saxophonist Korel Tunador and supplemental guitarist Brad Fernquist. They played a 15 song set list with hit tunes like “Slide”, “Naked”, “Here Is Gone”, and “Black Balloon” and “Better Days” that had crowd were on their feet and singing along.
The Goo Goo Dolls closed their set with “Iris” and “Broadway”. Iris was on the Billboard Top 100 airplay charts for 18 weeks! Not bad considering Rzeznik had writers block and was on the verge of quitting the band days before he was asked to write something for the “City of Angels” soundtrack and it ended getting nominated for 3 Grammys and shot the Buffalo based garage band up the charts!