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SUNY Oswego, deep in the heart of Upstate New York, was the unlikely setting for a Goo Goo Dolls concert on a Saturday night in April. Although the crowd consisted of mostly college students, midway through the night, Robby Takac asked if everyone was from Oswego, knowing full well die-hard & long-time fans made the trip from Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. Personally, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Goo Goo Dolls back on tour since a release date for their upcoming full length CD “Something for the Rest of Us” has yet to be announced.

Charged with warming up the crowd on this chilly spring evening was The Rocket Summer. Unfamiliar with their music, both my tweenie daughter and I enjoyed their set. We picked up a copy of their latest CD “Of Men and Angels” which I was told contained most of the songs from this evening’s performance. Frontman Bryce Avary’s passion and enthusiasm were infectious and before long the reluctant crowd was on their feet screaming for more. I look forward to learning more about The Rocket Summer and giving this CD the proper listen through that it deserves. Check back here at hotzoneonline.com for a complete review.

Finally, its time for the Goo Goo Dolls to take the stage. Surprisingly, the crowd around me is at least half male and they’re cheering just as loud as the ladies! In shows past, females have dominated the crowd with dutiful husbands and boyfriends in tow. And on a night just full of surprises, as the lights went down I wondered if we’d be treated to any of the new songs. Thankfully I didn’t have to wait long as the Goo Goo Dolls played a new song right off the bat – about living the sweetest life – I really enjoyed this new tune and the night was off to a great start. The setlist was a great mix of brand spanking new tunes, old & wildly popular, old & kinda sorta unknown and everything in between; definitely something for everyone – new fan or old.

Following the new song, the Goos kicked it up a notch with Big Machine. Dizzy and Slide back to back worked the crowd into a frenzy and then bass player Robby Takac took center stage and sang lead vocals for a couple songs while frontman John Rzeznik ran from one side of the stage to the other. Mike Malinin worked his magic on the drums – making it look oh-so easy. Later when Takac returned to the mic, he sang another new song with “Tucked Away.”

Rzeznik introduced the song “Let it Go” by asking the crowd if they’ve ever been in an “obsessive relationship” and thankfully there were black balloons floating in the crowd at just the right moment. Something about hearing “Black Balloon” live brings a tear to my eye every time. “Name” remains not only a crowd favorite but a personal one as well. Over the years, that songs hasn’t lost the thrill that pulled me in and made a lifetime fan out of me. Rzeznik thanked the crowd for “remembering” as they sang along.

“Broadway” is always a fan favorite and the sax solo at the end is a great addition and really gives this tune a unique live vibe. I was thankful for “Acoustic #3″ and of course the set came to a close with “Iris.” The arena lit up with cell phones during the opening chords and remained firmly in place until the band left the stage. Everyone was on their feet and the band was barely audible as the crowd sang loudly to every word of the Goo Goo D0lls’ biggest hit.

Of course the night wasn’t really over – what would a show be without an encore? Rzeznik returned to the stage with just an acoustic guitar for “Sympathy” before he was joined by the rest of the band.

All in all, a great night! The Goo Goo Dolls were on fire and clearly the this crowd in rural NY was very happy to see them back on stage. Fans are anxiously awaiting the release of the new CD and I’m anxiously awaiting another live show!

Setlist went something like this:
Big Machine
Here is Gone
Another Second Time Around
Let It Go
2 new songs
Better Days
Stay with You
New Song featuring Robby on lead vocals
Tucked Away
Yet another new song
All Eyes on Me
Acoustic #3
Flat Top
Let Love In

Source: http://www.hotzoneonline.com/archives/4533
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