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As always, even in 100 degree heat, it’s a pleasurable experience to see a show at The Filene Center at Wolf Trap! I got to rock out with the Goo Goo Dolls, Parachute, and Michelle Branch the other night.

Parachute is a band of young, twenty-somethings who were very entertaining. Even though the sun was still up and the sweat was pouring, lead singer Will Anderson bolted off of the stage a few times to please his fans throughout the audience and on the lawn. They are best known for the hit single, She Is Love which was featured in Nivea commercials starting in 2008.

Michelle Branch was a great opener too. At 28 she is a seasoned vet of the music biz. She performed all of her chart toppers, as well as some new songs off of her upcoming September release West Coast Time. She was great to see live and even had daughter, Owen (6 years old) in tow. My only complaint was that her diction wasn’t so hot. If you knew the lyrics, you could understand, but my guest didn’t know her at all and didn’t understand a lot of the lyrics. Actually, it was my major complaint of the night…it was hard to understand any of the singers. The most clear was John Rzeznik. A second issue with Michelle was that even though I was a fan when she debuted in 2000 and since, hearing all of her songs together, along with the new ones, they all sound the same. It seemed like she was going for more of a sound, then worrying about how clear the lyrics were. But, overall, she was good.

I am always up for a concert, even if the headlining band is not on my “can’t live without on a deserted island” list. The Goo Goo Dolls are a terrific band to see live. They really did perform one good song after another, and even left a few favorites out because there just wasn’t even enough time to cover their entire 20+ years and counting! I have such an appreciation for seeing bands live, where the leads are actually singing and the entire concert did not disappoint! Both of the opening acts, Parachute and Michelle Branch sang live as well. The reason I make this note is because there are a lot of bands and singers today that do not sing live, nor are they capable. This frustrates me to no end; paying all kinds of money to hear an auto-tuned recording, is not my cup of tea. John Rzeznik not only delivers in the live vocals, but also as the sexy, brooding guitarist. He and bassist and original bandmate, Robby Takac traded leads throughout the concert singing songs such as Name, Slide, Broadway, and January Friend, just to name a few.

A favorite part of seeing a live concert is the biplay that takes place; the audience members bouncing black balloons around the venue during Rzeznik’s throaty rendition of the song of the same name. Rzeznik took us into his conscience before romancing us with, Iris, explaining how since the wild success of the ballad, he gets phone calls from studio execs demanding “the same exact song, but different for [their] upcoming movie”. He apparently thought better of what he was saying and went back to singing and didn’t talk to us much after that, although he is typically a shy lead. He looks and sounds like he did in 1986, when the band first came out. It was definitely a treat to see them perform. They are an excellent example of how a band can stand on their own, without all of the hoopla at a concert. There were a couple of light shows, but other than that, it was all talent, all night! If you are a fan, you will love this show and if you’re not, go anyway because they are real pros! Their next stop is Bethel, New York on August 3rd and then onto Saratoga Springs, New York, then points south. For all of their upcoming concerts go to www.googoodolls.com and for more shows at my favorite, summer venue go to www.wolftrap.org

Overall Concert: B+ I would definitely see the Goo Goo Dolls again.

Parachute: C+  I’m not a fan of theirs, but they are definitely instrumentally talented and the singing was good, along with the exuberance of Will Anderson.

Michelle Branch: B- She was overall enjoyable, but lacked a little spunk and diction. But, she’s still as cute as ever and comes across very mature, which is something I have always admired about her.

Goo Goo Dolls: A- John is known to be a shy person, but I wish he would have talked to the audience more. I loved the trading off of songs and the different styles of vocals between John and Robby. I actually didn’t love the light show at the beginning of their set. It was very strobe-y and mostly blinded us.

TRR Concert Revue by Denise A. Levien
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