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The Goo Goo Dolls
Darien Lake Amphitheater
Aug 26, 2003
Review by Thomas S. Orwat, Jr

Darien Lake, NY- The Goo Goo Dolls made their triumphant return to their hometown of Buffalo, NY (Darien Lake is about 20 miles east of Buffalo). The crowd of approximately 10,000 cheered loudly and wildly as their heroes hit the stage to commence their 90 minute hit-filled set. For many Buffalonians, seeing the Goo’s perform is as gratifying as watching the Buffalo Bills stomp all over the Miami Dolphins.

The evening began with an energetic and rather stunning version of “Naked.” Vocalist/guitarist/songwriter John Rzeznik, sporting one of his trademark black wife beaters, had a smile from ear to ear as he sang to his many friends and family in the crowd. Revved up versions of “Dizzy” and “Slide” followed before the barefoot and full of energy bassist Robby Takac took over the lead vocalist position for two raspy voiced songs including “Tucked Away” from the bands most recent ‘Gutterflower’ release. Rzeznik used this time to bounce around with a cigarette dangling from his mouth, playing some tight rhythm riffs alla Keith Richards. Rzeznik really is a fine guitarist and he doesn’t receive the recognition he so rightly deserves. He then returned to the mike for the mega-hit off the ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ release, “Black Balloon.” The overly enthusiastic audience passionately sang back ever word to him as the purple stage lights and rays from the disco ball added a cool effect.

Rzeznik then turned to the crowd and announced that Mark McGrath from the opening band Sugar Ray should be made an honorary citizen of Buffalo for a day, “because he drinks like us,” shouted Rzeznik. The crowed roared in approval. The marginally successful second single from Gutterflower “Big Machine” followed. The band then stopped and Rzeznik asked for a volunteer to come up and sing the next song with him, the song responsible for catapulting the band to superstardom, “Name.” After all 10,000 plus in the audience raised their hands, Rzeznik chose a female in the front few rows. After a few moments, the lucky lady was brought onto the stage. Although she wasn’t the greatest singer, hell she didn’t even know many of the words, she was rather entertaining as she gyrated around the stage, shaking her money maker. It was a tough act to follow, but Robby did an amiable job as he sang “You Never Know.”

The song that should have been released as a single from Gutterflower, “Think About Me,” followed. Then the Goo’s slammed into another crowd favorite, the smash single “Here Is Gone.” The band then dipped back to their ‘Superstar Carwash’ Cd for “Cuz Your Gone,” which featured an interesting additional improvisational interlude.

Robby announced the next song as a song about the coolest month “January Friend.”

After the song concluded, someone threw a wrapped tampon on the stage, Rzeznik perplexed as to why someone felt it necessary to do such an unusual thing, opened it up and gleefully tossed the female friend aside. Moments after the tampon hit the ground, Sugar Ray vocalist McGrath came out, pure coincidence I don’t think so, and told the crowd how much the Goo’s talk about their love of Buffalo. McGrath shouted ‘Buffalo is the Normal” and remained on stage while the Goo’s broke into the Paul Westerburg penned single from ‘Superstar Carwash’ release “We Are the Normal.”

Afterwards, Rzeznik took time to mention how much he missed Buffalo, he and Takac have been living in LA for the last seven years. He said what California needs is have half of the population of Buffalo to move out there and kick out all the lazy asses that live over there. The place erupted in approval.

The band then played a fired up and passionate version of the Tom Petty classic “American Girl.” The song about Rzeznik’s reflections of the east Buffalo bar scene, “Broadway,” followed. Rzeznik then strung on his acoustic as Takac and drummer Mike Malinin abandoned their instruments for maracas and tamborines for a stripped down version of their new single, the introspective “Sympathy,” which radio plays non-stop in town. The band concluded their set with another mega hit and VH1 favorite “Iris.” A two song encore featuring Takac’s “Burnin’ Up” ended this very memorable night.

It was a great evening and marked the near end to the Goo’s year and a half tour in support of their extremely underrated, but brilliant release “Gutterflower.” The band gives their fans everything they have, just like they've been doing in Buffalo for the last 17 years. It was great to see the most successful band ever from Buffalo return home, even if was just for one night. This show also reinstated the obvious fact that John Rzeznik is in a class of his own when it comes to singer/songwriters, there is none better.

In addition to Sugar Ray, several local bands helped open the show. This was to help promote the Cd ‘Music is Art’ which is a compilation put out by the Goo’s Takac’s Buffalo recording studio, Chameleonwest. More info on this CD can be found at www.chameleonwest.com

Source: http://www.glam-metal.com/goo_8_26_03.html
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