Headlining a triple bill at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center last Thursday night, the Goo Goo Dolls seemed surprisingly youthful and dynamic for a group that has been playing together consistently for more than a quarter century.
Back in their early years, the critics often took shots at the Dolls for being little more than ersatz clones of the Replacements. However, with the release of their brilliant third album “Superstar Car Wash” in 1993, the comparison was a moot point.
Buffalo natives Johnny Rzeznik (guitar, vocals), Robby Takec (bass, vocals) and George Tutuska (drums) had found their own unique musical voice: a little soulful pop, a lot of high-energy rock and stacks of huge anthemic choruses.
On the strength of a few hugely successful radio hits from their fourth album, “A Boy Named Goo,” the Goo Goo Dolls exploded on the national rock scene and became certified arena-rockers, attracting large crowds of loyal fans to their concerts year after year.
On Thursday, they unreeled one big anthem after another, beginning with the opening blast of “The Sweetest Lie.” And the crowd was on its feet, fists pumping in the air as they sang along
And while the Dolls unfurled their pop-polished sound in its full glory at SPAC, every once in a while – most notably on the sneering “All Eyes on Me” – the band would peel back the layers of polish to reveal some of those punk roots that they used to pound out back in the days when they would play at Albany’s infamous 288 Lark.
South Dakota pop-punk rockers the Spill Canvas opened the show with a batch of loud ‘n’ crunchy tunes, followed by San Diego’s harder and heavier up-and-coming rockers Switchfoot.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
An excerpt from Brian McElhiney’s review in The Daily Gazette: “Highlights included ‘Black Balloon,’ during which the crowd began tossing around — you guessed it — black balloons, and ‘Better Days,’ which slowed things down a bit. In between, the group road-tested the new single ‘Home’ on this more than receptive crowd, turning in one of their most nuanced performances. And of course, ‘Iris,’ which closed out the main set, was the emotional high point of the evening.”
GOO GOO DOLLS SET LIST
Here Is Gone
Another Second Time Around
Can’t Let It Go
Stay With You
Now I Hear
Let Love In
As I Am
All Eyes On Me