Orlando Goes Goo Goo for the Goo Goo Dolls

By on September 5, 2016

 

JOHN RZEZNIK, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

JOHN RZEZNIK, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

When the Goo Goo Dolls came to the Hard Rock Live on Tuesday, they brought all the elements of a great rock show. They had Johnny Rzeznik, an electric front man who has become a legend in the genre. They had “Iris,” one of the best songs to see live, as well as many other singles that you find yourself singing the next day. They also had a great supporting cast, while keeping the show relatively short.

Tribe Society, the opener, was quirky and fun. Their flutist, Seth Hachen, was a ball of energy. He bounded around the stage, nailing high notes on his flute and rocking with frontman Gavin Merlot.

SETH HACHEN AND GAVIN MERLOT, TRIBE SOCIETY (photo WILL OGBURN)

SETH HACHEN AND GAVIN MERLOT, TRIBE SOCIETY (photo WILL OGBURN)

Collective Soul put on a show. The brothers Roland have been at this since 1992, and their stage presence is very underrated.

Ed, the vocalist, looks like some kind of steampunk pastor that leads his congregation with vehement hand gestures, impassioned vocals, and wild dance moves. Dean, the rhythm guitarist, has an outlaw presence that makes him fun to watch. Couple that with Jesse Triplett, the solo-shredding lead guitarist, and the band is a force.

ED ROLAND, COLLECTIVE SOUL (photo WILL OGBURN)

ED ROLAND, COLLECTIVE SOUL (photo WILL OGBURN)

Collective Soul’s setlist was perfect, opening with the electric “Heavy”, to show the crowd what they were in for. Their lead single is “Shine”, and they had the crowd mesmerized by bathing them in light as they sing along. “Shine” wasn’t the encore, however, it was slipped in midway through. They closed out with “December”, and “The World I Know”, two softer tracks reminiscent of the genre’s heyday.

Overall, I can say confidently after seeing Collective Soul several times, you will never be disappointed by the energy and passion they bring to Music.

DEAN ROLAND, COLLECTIVE SOUL (photo WILL OGBURN)

DEAN ROLAND, COLLECTIVE SOUL (photo WILL OGBURN)

 

JOHN RZEZNIK, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

JOHN RZEZNIK, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

The Goo Goo Dolls have a special place in American pop culture, as their songs have been featured in everything from movies, to commercials, to covers by other well-known artists. The emotional subtext of their songs brings people together, and the crowd was everything from day one fans to college kids that were barely born when the band formed in 1997.

I talked to a pair of wide-eyed blonde girls in the front row who had just graduated high school. “The Goo Goo Dolls are my favorite band,” said one, “my dad used to play their songs for me on the guitar.”

The Goo Goo Dolls’ setlist is impressive, mainly because it’s littered with hits. The heavy-hitters are obviously “Iris” and “Slide”, but there are plenty of other songs that’ll have a casual fan going “Ohh, that was them!” – chief among them being “Name”, and “Long Way Down.”

JOHN RZEZNIK AND ROBBY TAKAC, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

Original Members: JOHN RZEZNIK AND ROBBY TAKAC, GOO GOO DOLLS  (photo WILL OGBURN)

“Name,” as frontman Johnny Rzeznik explained, was the first song the band ever wrote. That was 21 years ago, and they’ve been going strong ever since.

Their stage presence is so natural, which is only to be expected given that they’ve been entertaining fans since the Clinton administration. Despite Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac being the only two remaining founders, their chemistry is rare.

ROBBY TAKAC, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

ROBBY TAKAC, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

It’s always a treat to be in the presence of a rock legend like Rzeznik, who was honored by the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008. Couple that with the notoriety of the band, and “Iris”, and there’s nearly everything a rock fan could want.

I’ve never seen fan participation quite like I did during “Iris,” with crowd and being moving as one. Rzeznik would often let fans take over and sing while he strummed. It was one of those classic arms locked, lighter (or cell phone) waving performances that many bands dream of, and The Goo Goo Dolls get to bring that to people every time they take the stage.

ROBBY TAKAC, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

ROBBY TAKAC, GOO GOO DOLLS (photo WILL OGBURN)

Overall, the Goo Goo Dolls are rock legends, and their performance did not disappoint. If they come through your town, you can be assured that nearly anyone you bring will enjoy something about the show.

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