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By Angie Valente, tbnewswatch.com/live

It isn’t often that one of our own lands the opportunity to open the show for a large scale sensational and professional act such as Goo Goo Dolls. But surprise guest Jean Paul De Roover did just that.

The one man show graced the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium with his contagious presence as the opening act on Tuesday, Feb. 22.

His 45 minute set consisted of eight songs, showcasing his live looping style of music. It's been called a “post-pop reinvention” with his style recently moving away from the realm of eccentricity to more of a pop sound.

The set list included songs from all three of De Roover's releases, as well as some new un-released material.

The Auditorium crowd was a solid one that was seemingly open to De Roover's style. Some were even familiar with it – no doubt from playing countless local shows – and called out requests for their favourite songs.

The mighty crowd didn't hesitate to participate in the steady build-up of noises either. During his last song of the night, De Roover succeeded in collecting hand-claps from everyone. He then requested the crowd bring the volume down by finger snapping, to which he sang over. Et voila, the snaps from a sea of people echoed throughout the theatre.

Nostalgia sifted through the air as Buffalo, New York's Goo Goo Dolls performed many of their popular songs and classic hits one after another. Truth is they've had so many that it’s easy to forget their catalogue.

They're on the road again, supporting Something for the Rest of Us, their ninth studio album.

A few things jumped out at me. The sound has never been better –  crisp, clear, vibrant. I could actually make out what vocalist/guitarist John Rzeznik said when he spoke.

After 25 years of making music, it's nice to see that the chops are still there. There was no doubt in my mind while watching bassist Robby Takac that he was happy to be up on stage, in the middle of nowhere, playing.

Rzeznik seemed appreciative that he gets to do what he loves. “Thank you for the last 15 years.” He even touched on that topic, as he introduced their ‘90s smash hit Name. It was the song that changed his life, and enabled him to make music for a living, instead of going to school to get “a real job.”

When so many bands simply go through the motions, the Dolls seemed genuine and honest.

Their show seemed to be about the adoring fans, more than anything else.

It's a relief to see that well-crafted songs and resonant lyrics can stand the test of time, accompanied by a voice that holds such poise and character. This is the kind of book that young artists should be taking a page from.

While I found the encore a bit shorter than most, it didn't really end with a boom as some encores tend to. And I can't even really fault the Dolls for that, as the climax had already been reached.

They've risen to the challenge of staying relevant throughout the decades. They're a class act, one I hope continues to make timeless music and stop off in Thunder Bay, if only every couple of years.
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