Goo Goo Dolls – Darien Lake, NY – 07-29-2011

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Review/photos – Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.

Darien, NY –  The multi-platinum band, The Goo Goo Dolls returned home, to a warm welcome at Darien Lake P.A.C., located near Buffalo NY.  The band continues touring in support of their 8th studio release, “Something For the Rest of Us,” which was released a year ago.  The Goo Goo Dolls are three singles deep on this CD.  And although, the release has not been as successful as anticipated, the band refuses to give up on promoting it, in the hope that one of the well crafted songs on this CD will finally break out.  And on this evening, the band performed five tracks from this release.

Interestingly, unlike in previous Goo shows at this venue (in which the band played to a sold out crowds), there were quite a few empty seats throughout some sections.  Could this just be a sign of the economic hardship in area?  Or is it due to locals getting a bit burned out on the Goo’s.  It hard to tell for sure, but most likely it’s a combination of both.  But don’t get me wrong, Buffalo, NY still adores their hometown heroes and philanthropists, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac.  Hell, if either of them ever wanted to, they could run for mayor of Buffalo, and win by a landslide.

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Regardless of the less than expected turn-out, the band pleased the audience with a effective 21 song setlist, which consisted of many of the bands top 40 hits.  The band kicked off the evening with “Last Hot Day in America,” an impressive, new track that they just recorded on June 17th and 18th with producer John Fields.

The usually verbose frontman, Rzeznik, uncharacteristically did very little talking in between songs, however he did mention, before the band broke into their first mega hit “Name,” how amazing it was that, that one song turned his life around.  And he’s right. “Name,” was almost not released as a single back in 1995, and the band was on the verge of losing their deal with WB Records. But it’s been an amazing ride, and 20 million CDs sold worldwide since then.

Before playing the mega hit, “Better Days,” Rzeznik commented that he originally planned for that track to just be a Christmas song. But, it took off and become an unexpected big radio hit.

Although, all of the band’s mega hits feature Rzeznik on vocals, bassist Takac took center stage for four of his lead vocal tracks.  Where as Rzeznik vocals are velvety smooth, his co-partner has more of a raspy and grittier style.  This contrast works much better in a live setting than it does on their CDs.

Overall, this may have not been the Goo’s most inspired hometown show, but even on an off night, they still are one of the best live acts around. The band was tight, Rzeznik’s vocals were spot on, Takac still has tons of energy, and the stage lighting was very cool.

The next couple of years will be crucial for this band.  Do they bounce back and become bigger than ever (example: Bon Jovi), or will they continue on the long way down?  I’m betting on the former, as this band has way too much talent to fade away.


Setlist 07-29-2011

Last Hot Night in America
Here is Gone
Fallin’ Down
Still Your Song
Lucky Star
January Friend
Black Balloon
Cuz You’re Gone (1000 Words)
Something For the Rest of Us
Now I Hear
Tucked Away
All That You Are
Stay With You
Better Days
Big Machine

For more on the Goo Goo Dolls, please check out


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