The Goo Goo Dolls’ performance at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Sunday was an eclectic lineup that featured an older band many had almost forgotten but could still move us to the catchy rhythms of its sly, poppy rock ‘n’ roll hits and revisited an artist with new sounds before introducing a new band.
Prior to transporting us back to the time when they were more popular with many hits in the 90s after forming in 1986, Parachute – a young band many have not yet heard of – energized the growing crowd by performing its tender rock songs that hit close to heart with their deeply honest lyrics.
The band’s first CD, “Losing Sleep,” released in May 2009, and the song “Under Control” was later released as an iTunes free download of the week. But the band stuck to maybe what is the best-known song on their first album, “She is Love,” which stemmed several in the audience to sing along by heart or by the slightly repetitive nature of the ballad.
They then ventured to play a few songs from their new album released in May, “The Way it Was,” running through the stands and pumping up the heavy crowd that awaited Michelle Branch.
Just 10 years ago, on Aug. 14, 2001, Branch’s first album “The Spirit Room” released, a fact she was proud to point out to the lively crowd and expressed her joy for following through on an answer she gave a decade ago about where she wanted to be in 10 years: making music.
While the eager Virginians of Parachute gave an eager performance to a crowd who stumbled through their thoughtful lyrics to those who knew them, Branch offered up old classics such as “Everywhere,” “Breathe” and “Goodbye to You,” followed by some newer tunes of “Loud Music” and “Spark,” which will appear on her new album “West Coast Time” in October.
Closing her set by singing farewell with “Are You happy Now?,” Branch waved goodbye to an audience that was already up and out of their seats swaying to her soulful melodies, prompting a group of girls to dance the “sprinkler” – an act that made Branch call out to them and laughingly joke that they loved her so much to do the dance in public.
The Goo Goo Dolls then shined, with lead vocalist John Rzeznik dazzling the crowd with the opener “Last Hot Night.” While the band has sang to nearly three generations, it was clear with the momentum from the crowd and cheers when the classics like “Slide” and “Iris” were performed that the band will not see its last hot night for a while.
With the release in May 2010 of their ninth studio album, “Something For The Rest of Us,” the Goo Goo Dolls have maintained a steady stream of followers – as witnessed by the various age groups who belted out lyrics along with them.
Rzeznik donned the stage in sunglasses, completing his rocker look, which he pointed out was not intended to make his look like “something I’m not” when an audience member commented on them – he was just hung over, as he mater-of-factly told the crowd for the reasoning behind the eyewear.
Perhaps it is the lack of conforming to conventional rocker roles that has made this band continue to influence listeners, or maybe it’s because their music still speaks to audiences, something Rzeznik said he hoped some of their songs accomplished before playing “Better Days,” a song he said personally “means a lot to me.”
Following an exit that seemed too soon for the band’s performance of nearly 90 minutes, the pleading crowd drew them back for little more of the band’s love, shaking the audience one more time with “Give a Little Bit” before departing for a crowd that still screamed for more.
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