LIVE: Goo Goo Dolls @ SPAC, 7/31/11

Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls

Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls

In the darkness of the SPAC amphitheater stage, the first spotlights started to slowly flicker and rotate building momentum in sync with a loud, ominous, organ-like drone heralding the impending appearance of Buffalo’s favorite musical sons, the Goo Goo Dolls.

Bounding on to the stage in silhouette, the bandmembers took their positions and to the count of the pounding drum beat the stage exploded in a frenzy of lights and pulsing sound as bassist Robby Takac and guitar-wielding frontman-vocalist Johnny Rzeznik launched into the oh-so-befitting-for-the-evening, “Last Hot Night.”

What a difference from their early punk-rock days playing at 288 Lark…

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The Goo Goo Dolls’ 80-minute set rocked with anthems, ballads and creaming lead guitar licks as the band performed a healthy dose of their timeless signature classics including “Black Balloon,” “Name” and “Iris.” Mixed into the throbbing, action-packed performance were songs from their latest album, 2010’s “Something For The Rest Of Us.” Closing the evening with “Give A Little,” it was clear that the Goo Goo Dolls gave a lot of themselves and got plenty of appreciative applause and whistles from the crowd in return.

Canada’s brilliant Barenaked Ladies were a late addition to the bill. Good thing, because they enlivened the quadruple-bill with their quirky brand of humor-laced rock songs and hook-laded refrains that proved to be big crowd-pleasers. Their handful of hits – “It’s All Been Done,” “If I Had A $1,000,000” and “One Week” – had the audience screaming their approval, especially on “Big Bang Theory Theme” from the universally popular award-winning CBS sit-com.

Pop singer Michelle Branch delivered a fine set sans her regular drummer, which left the audience with mixed feelings because, instead of bringing in a substitute behind the drum kit, the role of time-keeper was canned instead of live. Nevertheless, Branch and her two compatriots performed her best-known tunes including “Goodbye To You” and “Breath.”

Opener Parachute rocked out with a wild mix of sax and guitar solos embracing lead singer Will Anderson’s over-the-top energy.

Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

Michael Cignoli’s review at The Saratogian

Barenaked Ladies

Barenaked Ladies

Parachute and Michelle Branch

Parachute and Michelle Branch

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