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Goo Goo Dolls
May 23, 2002
Verizon Wireless Theater - Houston, TX

Samuel Barker
Senior Editor
John Rzeznik and Robby Takac (picture by Samuel Barker)

Even after 15 years of existence, it takes a band some time to get their tour together. This was the case on this, the opening night of the Goo Goo Dolls’ tour supporting their new record, Gutterflower.

The band came out with some early spark, opening the set in a storm of flashing lights and mirrored balls ascending and descending from the ceiling while playing “Big Machine.” This was the first of few eye catching, energetic moments on the night from lead singer/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, who spend most of the night in place at his microphone feeling out the band’s song choices for the tour.

Bassist/vocalist Robby Takac was the person to watch for the fans who were there for more than gazing up at Rzeznik’s muscular frame. Takac never lost the smile from his face, giving everyone who noticed the impression that he was still happy to be playing music after all these years.

Rzeznik’s silence was also accented by a pleasant smirk, which led to quite a few ladies swooning. One female fan even went as far as to throw her bra on stage. To which Rzeznik stated, “We have box full of these on the bus, it’s crazy.”

Then, after further inspection, Rzeznik stated, “Whoever threw this is a cheater, this bra is padded. My girlfriend has a water filled one, I put it in the freezer once, you should have seen her face.”

A moment of comic relief like this was just enough to keep Rzeznik in good graces with the rock fan, while still appeasing the females looking for a bit of eye candy.

The addition of the newer tracks from the band helped illustrate their progression from thrash garage band to skilled rock stylists. Rzeznik’s songwriting is moving up to the level of such a notable as Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20.

Drummer Mike Malinin was lost in the background, with behind a plexi-glass screen and flashing lights, with the other supporting musicians adding to the tandem of Rzeznik and Takac.

A welcome addition to the set were the pre-Name songs, “Lucky Star” and “Cuz’ You’re Gone” the latter of which being sang by Takac. These songs brilliantly displayed the band’s pre-fame edge, while giving the fans a wake up call from the newer, more mellow efforts from the band.

Takac’s vocals add an edgier, more eclectic feel, which plays well off of the melodic voice of Rzeznik. These two extremes compliment each other well and leave people wondering why Takac does not take a more active vocal role on some newer tracks.

Those who made it to the show were rewarded with some rarities as well as the hits. Renditions of “Naked,” “Iris,” and the aforementioned “Name” made it all worthwhile for those who love the radio, just as the older songs pleased the older fans. When the band closed with a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” the band added the final summation to its journey from garage rockers to rock icons, all around a good journey to cover in 15 years time.


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