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Tonight the Commodore Ballroom was packed with people, many of whom were chatting about how excited they were to be at the Goo Goo Dolls Canadian Tour 2011. Stephen Page and his band did a good job as the opening act, leaving the audience wanting more. He truly is delightful to watch, as he is as much a stand-up comedian as he is a musician. At every interval he would never fail to catch the crowd off guard with his humorous comments. Acoustically, his band did an excellent job. Unique instrumental parts including the cello, the xylophone, and even an accordion made his music almost unforgettable! One thing that was evident from this show is that Page will be just fine on his own, away from the Barenaked Ladies.

Finally the time came for the Goo Goo Dolls to make their live performance. Designed in such a way that it was possible to bring black shades down to cover windows all over the place, the Commodore Ballroom was the perfect place to hold the Goo Goo Dolls concert. Pitch dark, with the atmosphere already filled with excitement, and the lights bouncing off the themed rock-like walls in the background, Goo Goo Dolls finally entered. John Rzeznik stole the spotlight once he made his entrance on that stage. He mesmerized his fans with his deep, mellow voice, causing them to sway along to songs like “Let Love In”, “Name”, recently released single “Home”, and of course the all-time favourite, “Iris”. Of all the renditions, Goo Goo Dolls really captivated the audience with their song “Slide”. Of course, it is a biased statement from my point of view because I love that song.

Rzeznik is definitely a crowd-pleaser. Even while Takac was doing a number, Rzeznik continues to charm the audience and amuse as well as entertain the fans. Rzeznik even accepts a bouquet from the crowd and proceeds to fiddle with the flowers and goes so far as to playfully pin one on Fernquist’s shirt: a failed attempt since it falls, almost immediately, to the ground. Nevertheless, it was a good attempt at showing the fans his appreciation.

On a less positive note, Takac’s solo renditions did nothing to add to the performance. He is an excellent bass guitarist with commendable musical skills but he should leave the singing to Rzeznik. Perhaps I’m doing him an injustice, because I’m sure that his singing appeals to certain people… just not me. Having said that, he brings a spunky attitude to the stage that compels the crowd to watch him as he “whips” his guitar with his trademark strumming (a style that Fernquist tries to imitate but fails and has to stop trying before he bursts out laughing uncontrollably).

In conclusion, I came out from the Goo Goo Doll concert, feeling less than satisfied. The opening act provided just a taste of the potential that the main act could have brought and because of the expectations that I had, I was slightly disappointed. It was after all, the last night of their Canadian Tour: it could have ended with a bigger BANG. The performance overall however was mediocre and it could even be likened to a night in a club with live music. Goo Goo Dolls is great band with great heartfelt music, and they should be way more awesome live.

Rzeznik's voice was without a doubt, the one thing that saved the night for me: his soothing, mellow voice that has the power to lull me to sleep, even on the most sleepless of nights.

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