The boys from Buffalo rolled into "The Hammer", as bassist Robby Takac amusingly referred to Hamilton a couple times during the evening, as part of their Canadian tour in support of their latest album, Something For The Rest Of Us. The threesome, John Rzeznik, Robby Takac and Mike Malinin (drums) were joined on stage by touring members Brad Fernquist (rhythm guitar/mandolin) and Korel Tunador (keyboards/sax).
The stage backdrop had the look of a rock wall, which made the stage look like the inside of a cave. The band opened with Sweetest Lie, the first song on their latest album, which falls in line with their previous recipe for a catchy pop rock song. From there the band marched on through “Big Machine” and fan favourite “Slide”. John then addressed the crowd, stating how much fun they have been having on this tour so far. He also stated that it was nice to be so close to home (Buffalo is less than an hour south of Hamilton), and then asked how many in the audience had made the trip from Buffalo. There seemed to be quite a few who had made the journey, so he quickly thanked them, but also pointed out that their money was worth shit here now.
The band then jumped into “Dizzy” followed by “Here Is Gone”, from their 2002 CD Gutterflower. Bassist Rob Takac then jumped on the mic and said it was good to be so close to Buffalo, "I can almost smell the Cheerios burning!" he laughed. The next couple of songs, “Smash” and “Second Time Around” were sung by Takac, and while his enthusiasm was great, I couldn't understand a word he was singing.
One of the highlights of the night was “Black Balloon”, where a bunch of black balloons started making their way through the crowd as the band played one of its biggest hits. Fans were happily singing along, taking cues from singer Rzeznik. The warm and fuzzy feelings seemed to be contagious, as a quick scan around the near-capacity venue revealed a good mix of young and older fans, spanning the band’s 25-year career; dancing and singing along with grins on their faces. The band sounded tight and was definitely enjoying themselves, as their wide smiles were evident throughout the show.
Rzeznik introduced the next song as the one his career hinged on, stating, "This song was my last chance to write songs for a living, if this one didn't work out, I was ready to pack it in." Thankfully things worked out and the band started into “Name”, there breakthrough single from 1995's album A Boy Named Goo.
The singing and dancing continued until an inspiring, reworked version of 1998's smash hit “Iris”, complete with Brad on mandolin, closed out the main set.
After a very short break, John returned to thank everyone for playing along with the same charade at every show....we leave, pretend we aren't coming back, the crowd cheers for us to return...and magically we reappear!!
The band closed out the show with an encore that included the new tracks “Notbroken” and “Broadway”. Surely, fans got what they came for - a good mix of hits and new tracks, delivered efficiently and effectively, with a smile on their faces.