Arts, Off Campus

Goo Goo Dolls Rock Out To Range of Songs for Multigenerational Crowd

Even if you were not alive in the ’90s, the Goo Goo Dolls probably ring a bell. “Iris” plays as the first dance song at countless weddings every year, and “Better Days,” though released in 2006, gave listeners hope for the future during the pandemic. 

Due to the timeless nature of their songs, the Goo Goo Dolls attracted generations of fans for the tour of their new album, Chaos In Bloom, at Boston’s Leader Bank Pavilion on Aug. 16.

The lights strobed as the Goo Goo Dolls, composed of singer and guitarist Johnny Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac, took the stage playing “Yeah, I Like You” from their most recent album. The band immediately segued into “Slide,” one of its older but more well-known songs, indicating to the audience that the show would be a mix of classic hits and new releases.

As the last notes of “Slide” hummed from Rzeznik’s guitar, he said that it was good to be out of the house again following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Chaos In Bloom tour is the band’s first full-length tour since 2019. Rzeznik joked that he was pretty sure the Goo Goo Dolls were supposed to play at the venue 15 years in a row if not for “f–king COVID.”

Rzeznik is a seasoned performer, as he naturally conversed with the crowd and goofily waved his arms around. He performed as if he was having fun with thousands of his friends instead of putting on a spectacle for an audience of strangers.

The monitors at the back of the stage showcased a different digital design with each song. For the band’s track “Sympathy,” the screens displayed trees against a stained-glass background. Rzeznik was alone on stage for the song, making his stage presence more impactful. 

Rzeznik’s voice was the star of the concert. His vocals, 20 years after he first recorded his music, still sound the same as they did on the original tapes. He sang every song with precision, only stumbling on the words for “Here is Gone” and “Come to Me” because he was laughing with the audience. 

Takac took the spotlight a couple of times, singing three songs while Rzeznik played guitar off to the side.

The audience was more familiar with the classics, screaming along to the band’s oldest hits. Rzeznik joked with the audience that they were about to play two new songs, so if anyone in the audience “needed to take a piss, now’s the time.”

Rzeznik became sentimental at times during the show as he shared stories about himself and the band. Before “Name,” the first hit the band had on the radio, he talked about how much the song’s success and the continued love from the fans changed his life.

“Thank you for helping me pay off my student loans,” Rzeznik said.

At the end of “Name,” Rzeznik again thanked the audience for keeping the band alive.

The most anticipated song of the night was “Iris,” which played following a touching rendition of “Better Days.” As the first notes of “Iris” played, the lighting backlit the performers, making them look like silhouettes. Everyone held up their phones’ flashlights and screamed the lyrics.

The Goo Goo Dolls returned for an encore of one of their new songs, “Tattered Edge,” and a cover of “Runnin’ Down a Dream,” by Tom Petty. 

August 30, 2022

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