It’s one thing for a band to look like they are having fun on a concert stage; it’s something else when they actually are. And that is exactly what happened when The Goo Goo Dolls burst onto the stage at the Hard Rock in Biloxi. With smiles and guitars blazing, you knew immediately that a fun show was heading your way. “Come on everybody”, coaxed vocalist Johnny Rzeznik. “This is our night together”.
Playing to a packed house, the band came alive and brought their fans along with them. Beginning with an upbeat tune called “Sweetest Lie” from their recently released album, SOMETHING FOR THE REST OF US, they spun into “Big Machine”, “Slide”, “Dizzy” and “Here Is Gone” before bassist Robby Takac took over the vocals for a few energetic songs of his own.
Another plus going for The Dolls this night was their relationship with their fans. Still going strong for over 20 years, this Buffalo, New York, trio have a solid fan base who sang along to all the songs, even the new ones. “Home” received an enthusiastic reaction and John thanked everyone for making the new record “debut at number seven on the charts … a bunch of old bastards still making records that people still buy”. “Sweetest Lie”, “Now I Hear”, “As I Am” and “Notbroken” were also well-received.
Musically speaking, this is a very decent band. Robby, of course, was all over the place, pounding away at his bass like there was no tomorrow. Mike Malinin was keeping the backbone, especially on “Stay With You”. And John, switching from acoustic to electric then back to acoustic guitar, was in great voice. Amidst the many “I love you” shout outs, he was able to smile, wave and keep the songs from spiraling into out-of-focus karaoke versions of their biggest hits.
Introducing “Name” as “the first song that we ever had that was a hit”, then pointing to a young fan, “you’re not old enough to remember it”, the joviality was real and the audience ate every bit of it up. Following “All Eyes On Me”, where they really tore it up and a definite highlight of the night, John exclaimed, “You guys are fucking awesome! … I know, I used the F-word … What? You’re looking at me like I owe you money or something”, he joked with another happy fan.
But it was the music that ultimately made this Goo Goo Dolls performance one to remember, as fans told me after the show. From “Slide” to “Black Balloon” to “Iris”; from “Name” to “Smash” to the climatic “Broadway”, The Dolls brought it and slammed it.
Sweetest Lie, Big Machine, Slide, Dizzy, Here Is Gone, Another Second Time Around, Smash, Can’t Let It Go, Black Balloon, Home, Better Days, Stay With You, Now I Hear, Tucked Away, Name, Let Love In, As I Am, All Eyes On Me, Acoustic #3, Iris.
ENCORE: Notbroken, Broadway.