/ Articles / Concert Review
One of my favorite times of music in my life was the mid to late '90s. It was the height of alternative rock at the time with bands like Everclear, Third Eye Blind, Matchbox 20 and Eve 6 among others releasing some of their best material. Since then a lot of the artists I enjoyed back in those days have kind of faded out or are releasing music I don’t really care for anymore with a few notable exceptions. One of those exceptions is the Goo Goo Dolls, whose recent output with the album Something for the Rest of Us still matching the quality of their mid-90’s output.

And their '90s output was amazing. Dizzy Up the Girl probably spent more time in my CD player than any other album, and I had all of the lyrics memorized within two weeks of purchase. In my opinion it was one of the best albums of the '90s, and a defining release of my teens. My fiancée Renee is even more of a fan though, considering them one of her favorite bands and putting them on her concert bucket list. So needless to say when she found out that they were going to be in town she jumped at the chance to finally see a band she’s wanted to see since her teens.

Opening up for the Goo was singer/songwriter Ryan Star. I have to confess that I hadn’t heard of him before the show, so when I found out he was opening I looked him up without listening to his music (sometimes I liked to be surprised by what I hear if at all possible). In case there are others of you out there unfamiliar with this musician he was a contestant on the second season of the show Rock Star where he was trying to land a spot in Tommy Lee’s band Supernova. While he didn’t win, the show’s producer set him up with an opportunity to record a live album. Since then you can find his music occasionally on promos and in movies as well as the theme song for Lie to Me.

With that being said Ryan Star is the best opening act for a concert I had never heard before. Listening to him and his band play “Breathe” I knew I would be seeking out more of his music (which I ended up buying 11:59 and Songs from the Eye of an Elephant and getting them signed during the intermission between Star and the Goo Goo Dolls). Star and his band had a lot of energy, and while the mix wasn’t nearly as good as it could have been (the drums overpowered everything) the music and the performances were still engaging. I’ll talk a little more about crowd engagement in a little bit though.

After autographs and pictures with Star we made it back to our seats just in time for the Goo to take the stage. For a band that has been together for 25 years with only one lineup change (replacing their original drummer in 1995 after recording A Boy Named Goo) they still gel very well and you can tell that they’re still having fun on stage. Even when playing a song like “Name” which you have to imagine they’ve played millions of times over the last 16 years, you can still tell they appreciate what the success of that track has brought them. For a couple of really fun moments in the show they dumped black balloons on the audience during “Black Balloon” and brought out the famous Klement’s Racing Sausages to the stage for show closer “Broadway”.

Johnny Rzeznick and Robby Takac (who didn’t have the mic nearly as much as Johnny) kept the crowd engaged adding anecdotes to songs and talking to specific members of the crowd keeping the sense that each individual member of the audience was important to them, at least in the first five rows. That was the one problem I had with both the Goo Goo Dolls and Ryan Star -- The Pabst has three levels so there’s a lot more people watching the show than just the ground floor. Johnny gave a little recognition during a couple songs to the upper two floors, but for the most part if you were in the balcony you would have felt a little disconnected.

Overall, though, it was a really fun show with great performances. It’s possible that in the balcony you would have felt that possibly you were watching TV rather than a live show because of the disconnect, but at least the show was still a lot of fun to watch. This definitely worth check out, I’d just recommend that you get a seat on the ground floor if you’re going to go.
Previous article
Goo Goo Dolls ‘Let Love In’ the MEC
Next article
Goo Goo Dolls Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN 10/17/11