Goo Goo Dolls guitarist and singer John Rzeznik declared that Sunday night's show with modern rockers Tonic at the Allentown Fair was "like a regular rock concert," and indeed it was. But it was an equal rockertunity event, where boomers jammed with teens, who grooved with their parents and little brothers and sisters.
The Goo Goos offered something to please all ages: a tatooed lead singer (Rzeznik) who made both moms and daughters swoon, including one who apparently passed out, maybe from "one too many elephant ears," as Rzeznik joked; a crazy partner (bassist Robby Takac) who could pass for Meat Loaf's little brother; soul-searching Top 40 ballads; screaming guitar riffs; a cool light show; and cannons that shot colorful confetti.
The Buffalo-bred Goos made only a few sexual remarks and just one blatant swear. But they displayed a heap of bad boy behavior, inciting the crowd to scream and throwing their guitars and mikes across the stage at the end of their 75-minute show.
An impressive 9,738 people heard the Goos perform a mix of hits such as the haunting Grammy-nominated "Black Balloon," the catchy "Slide," the newest single, "Broadway," and older numbers such as "Fallin' Down" from 1993 and "Name" from their 1995 "A Boy Named Goo."
Rzeznik stepped back every few songs to let Takac go nuts with hard-rockers such as "January Friend." The Goos seemed most comfortable with their older and harder tunes, a genre they favored before shifting toward the pop songs that have made them famous.
Too many sing-alongs and screaming girls made it difficult to hear the band, which wasn't always a bad thing considering their voices seemed a bit worn -- the Allentown Fair was the band's sixth fair stop in six days.
Rzeznik didn't even try for the high notes during some ballads.
But the crowd called the Goos back for an encore of three tunes from the band 's earliest days, beginning with `Just the Way You Are` from 1990, during which there was a dazzling rainstorm of confetti, which was appropriate for the final and largest grandstand show of the fair's 2000 run.
The concert began with a nine-song set by Tonic, the Los Angeles band that is gaining fame with its power ballads about personal relationships, its revved-up guitar parts and sincere, nice guys attitude.
Lead singer Emerson Hart's natural and strong voice seemed in top form as the band performed numbers from its 1997 debut, `Lemon Parade,` and newest, `Sugar.` The band opened with one of its first releases, the catchy `Open Up Your Eyes.` It closed with its breakthrough hit, the mellow `If You Could Only See,` which the band turned into a sing-along, and `You Wanted More,` the first single off `Sugar,` which flourished as part of the `American Pie` soundtrack.
Goo Goo Dolls fans who arrived just in time for the headliner missed an impressive show.
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