Goo Goo Dolls deliver lively show at the Pavilion

A review of the Goo Goo Dolls, Michelle Branch at the Bank of America Pavilion on July 19, 2011

, Contributing Writer

To the Goo Goo Dolls, Boston is more than one of their favorite places to play. The band has gone on record to say that many of times and on Tuesday night at the Bank of America Pavilion, they proved it once again. On a steamy summer night in the Hub, the 90s favorites delivered a hot show that kept the entire crowd alive and animated from start to finish.

The Goo Goo Dolls rolled out their big guns early, jumping right into “Slide” and “Here Is Gone” after opening with the appropriately chosen “Last Hot Night In America” on the stifling hot night. Recognizing the lively melody emanating from Rzeznik’s guitar, the crowd exploded with delight for “Slide”. When Rzeznik lifted the mic up to prompt the audience to sing the chorus from the 1998 smash hit, the result nearly drowned out the entire band.

Even at 45-years old, lead vocalist Johnny Rzeznik was the main attraction for the predominantly female crowd. He still boasts a tremendous vocal range that fills the entire venue, whether it’s supplemented by a simple keyboard melody or the clamor of his entire band. His longtime sidekick remains barefoot bassist Robby Takac, who injected the show with his signature antics. Dashing around the stage, making goofy expressions and silly exaggerated dance moves, he’s the band’s comic relief as well as their heart and soul. When watching him onstage, the concept that he loves anything more than performing live seems simply ridiculous. Besides playing bass, he took the spotlight away from Rzeznik to sing a few of the band’s oldest tunes including “Lucky Star” and “January Friend”.

The veteran pop-rockers spent a good portion of the night promoting their latest album, Something for the Rest of Us. Halfway through the set, the band slowed things down for Rzeznik to sing the title track, a power ballad with a strong keyboard melody from touring member Korel Tunador. The song functioned as a respite between the faster paced “Cuz You’re Gone” and “Tucked Away”, and Rzeznik took advantage of the calmer atmosphere to prove that his vocals aren’t dependent on the backing of a full band. Other new songs that made their way into Tuesday’s show were “Home”, “Now I Hear” and “Still Your Song”, all of which balanced out a set that featured hits including “Name”, “Iris” and “Better Days”.

The overwhelming highlight of the night was “Broadway”. Rzeznik opened the song by singing the first verse a cappella before the rest of the band joined him in a thunderous fashion, a dynamic that made for a spectacular intro. Midway through the song, touring guitarist Brad Fernquist stepped into the spotlight to deliver his best solo of the night and out of nowhere Tunador appeared, saxophone in hand, to deliver his own ripping solo to the delight of the crowd. Powered by Tunador’s horn, the new twist on the old favorite was a welcome and memorable change. The song concluded to a deafening crowd reaction, perfectly setting up the band for their encore of “Big Machine” and “Let Love In”.

Opening act Michelle Branch warmed the crowd up nicely, earning well-deserved ovations for her big hits “Are You Happy Now?”, “Goodbye to You” and “All You Wanted”. The pop-rock and country favorite seemed at ease onstage, moving and playing with a grace that seemed effortless. Indeed, it appeared that the most difficult thing she had to do all night was slip the guitar strap over her wide-brimmed hat. When a pair of adoring admirers hoisted a handmade sign, Branch couldn’t help but grin and acknowledge, saying with a laugh, “Actually, I paid them to make those signs.” Along with the solo hits, she delivered “Leave The Pieces” from her days in The Wreckers as well as a preview of her forthcoming album West Coast Time with the lively country-rock hybrid “Loud Music”.

Early arrivals were treated to a set from up-and-comers Parachute.

Goo Goo Dolls – Setlist:

Last Hot Night in America
Slide
Here is Gone
Fallin’ Down
Still Your Song
Lucky Star
January Friend
Home
Black Balloon
Cuz You’re Gone
Something for the Rest of Us
Name
Now I Hear
Tucked Away
All That You Are
Stay with You
Better Days
Iris
Broadway
Encore:
Big Machine
Let Love In

Michelle Branch – Setlist:

Everywhere
Breathe
Loud Music
Goodbye to You
Crazy Ride
Leave the Pieces
For Dear Life
Are You Happy Now
Spark
All You Wanted

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