~ The Goo Goo Dolls in Manila: 30 Years in the Making

The bright and sunny disposition the weather displayed all day served as a premonition of sorts for what was to happen later on that evening; after all, boys and girls of all ages waited all their lives to be able to see the venerable John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, more popularly known as the Goo Goo Dolls, take the stage in Manila.

And that’s exactly what happened on the evening of February 11 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, thanks to Random Minds Productions.

Rzeznik and Takac set foot onstage at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in front of a jam-packed crowd: all fans of the music that has, at one point, become the soundtrack of their lives. The crowd was given a nostalgia trip as early as the show began; classic hits such as “Slide,” “Big Machine,” “Here is Gone,” and “Black Balloon” were included in the setlist, much to the delight of every ‘90s kid in the audience.

Rzeznik, the band’s chief songwriter, shared bits and pieces of his life, narrating along the way how some of the band’s songs were written during trying times. “Sympathy” was about drug use, “and I mean not the good kind!” says the enigmatic guitarist/vocalist, and how some were written for loved ones (“Come to Me” was written for wife Melina Gallo in time for 2003’s Magnetic).

Everyone shared a few laughs when Rzeznik shared how “Name” (from 1995’s A Boy Named Goo) came to be because of ex-wife Laurie Farinacci and retorted, “She’s long gone, but the song’s still here.”

Takac wasn’t going to be just the sideman, being the bassist that he is; he also displayed his own vocal chops, singing songs from previous records that featured him as the lead vocalist, including “Already There” from 1993’s Superstar Car Wash, “Smash” from 2002’s Gutterflower, and “Free of Me” off the new record, 2016’s Boxes.

He also engaged the crowd in banter, saying that their visit to Manila was 30 years in the making, and made a promise that they won’t wait as long ‘til their next stop in the country.

The highlight of the long-time-coming show was when drummer Craig McIntyre set the tone with a somber beat, followed by a few measures on a mandolin played by guitarist Brad Fernquest, leading into “Iris,” to the thunderous applause of every single soul in the venue. Every word and every note was sung passionately, as if it served as the song of two generations – the older being the ones who were growing up while the City of Angels was making its rounds in cinemas worldwide, and the younger generation, old enough to be their children.

For the people who came to see the Goo Goo Dolls that evening, their coming meant a lot of things that ultimately lead to one truth: it was a dream come true.

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