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Published: Thursday, April 22, 2010

Updated: Friday, April 23, 2010

The Goo Goo Dolls rocked the stage at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom last Thursday, kicking off the venue’s summer concert series.

The Casino Ballroom is an often overlooked local concert venue, half-hidden off the beachside Ocean Boulevard and with under 3,000 tickets to sell per show. The ballroom boasts an impressive venue history, having hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment, from U2 to Ray Charles, The Cranberries to American Idol competitors. This year, its eight-month season, running from April to November, began Thursday night with the Goo Goo Dolls.

This summer, the Goo Goo Dolls, the 90’s garage band turned pop-rock sensation, is touring to promote their upcoming ninth album, titled “Something for the Rest Us.” The album was first set to be released in February, but the band pushed back the release date to improve on the record. Now, with recording sessions completed and mixing done, the band is ready to showcase some of their new tracks live.

The Goo Goo Dolls took the crowd by surprise by bursting onto the stage with an upbeat rendition of “Ain’t That Unusual.”

“Strap on your helmets,” Takac said into the microphone. “You are our rock and roll crash dummies!”

Johnny Rzeznik and the boys commandeered the stage with their fun antics and potent pop-rock music. Rzeznik on vocals joked with the crowd while drummer Mike Malinin smiled behind his drum set at center stage, showcasing his skillful range from heavy heart-pounding rhythm to crisp staccato solos. Bassist Robby Takac with his tongue-waggling and infectious grin, harmonized with Rzeznik’s soulful crooning with his signature scratchy, higher-pitched vocals.

“We had to stop by the Hampton Beach Casino this year, right?” Takac said to the roaring crowd. “You’re going to have yourselves an unbelievably rocking summer full of music up here, as you always do. One of the classic rock and roll venues of the United States.”
The concert featured a two-hour lineup of the Goo Goo Dolls’ best with sing-a-long crowd-pleasers like “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and “Can’t Let it Go,” as well as unreleased tracks “Home,” “As I Am” and “One Night.”

“We wrote this new album for you guys, you know?” Rzeznik said to the crowd of fans. Rzeznik’s musical prowess is in his seemingly natural ease to sing simple, accessible lyrics with heartfelt power.

The Goo Goo Dolls did not disappoint with Takac’s dizzying guitar riffs, Malinin’s drumming and Rzeznik’s heartfelt vocals.

The band topped off the show with Rzeznik on an acoustic guitar solo for their intimate ballad “Acoustic #3” before leading into a climactic six-minute rendition of “Iris” that left the crowd stomping the floorboards and chanting for an encore. The boys promptly jumped back onto the stage for a 10 minute triple-feature encore of “Sympathy,” “Flat Top” and “Broadway.”

Rzeznik and the Goo Goo Dolls have always used the emotion of their music to relate the story of the everyman. They command the stage with their power, their vulnerability, and their rock star swagger. The Goo Goo Dolls may be a ‘90s band, but they perform their decade-old songs with timeless rock and roll heart.

Source: http://www.tnhonline.com/arts/goo-goo-dolls-were-a-fitting-kickoff-for-casino-ballroom-s-summer-season-1.1390641
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