By Gary Graff firstname.lastname@example.org
DETROIT — Johnny Rzeznik was, by his own admission, a bit dizzy as the Goo Goo Dolls celebrated the 20th anniversary of its multi-platinum “Dizzy Up the Girl” album Thursday night, Oct. 25, at the Fillmore Detroit.
“I’m so (expletive) high…I think I’m hallucinating,” the singer and guitarist told the crowd early in the show — not from rock star indulgence but from medications Rzeznik was taking to overcome a respiratory infection that postponed the Fillmore show from its original Tuesday, Oct. 23, date and caused the cancellation of Wednesday’s concert in Grand Rapids. “Do I sound like I’ve got a cold — ’cause my hair hurts.” he asked later.
The leather-jacketed Rzeznik was, in fact, feeling limited pain throughout the two-hour show. His between-song patter that rambled a bit more loosely than usual as he waxed about divorce, couples therapy, the state of the world and the recent political bombing scare — even tossing a lyrical reference to the latter into “Better Days” — and good-naturedly rejecting fan requests for particular songs. He also shouted out Detroit’s longtime support of the band and remembered an early show at the now-defunct Blondie’s — and the rough neighborhood around the club. Rzeznik struggled at times and even cut two songs from the planned set list, but his declaration that “my voice sounds like s*** tonight” was a bit overstated.
The good news was that in presenting the Goos’ “Dizzy…” album in its entirety, Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and company had plenty of singalong help from the Fillmore crowd, which bolstered performances of hits such as “Slide,” “Broadway,” “Black Balloon” and “Iris.” The presentation — in front of a large, framed version of the album’s cover that hovered behind the band — also gave the quintet a chance to haul out less-celebrated album tracks such as “January Friend,” “Bullet Proof,” “Amigone,” “Extra Pale” and “Hate This Place,” all exuberantly performed and enthusiastically received.
The Goos, currently between albums, used the rest of the show to continue the dive into its past, including a welcome four tracks from 1993’s “Superstar Car Wash.” Rzeznik — who stopped the show during “Lucky Star” while Fillmore security tended to a young woman who passed out near the front of the stage — also played a three-song solo acoustic set that included “Better Days,” “Can’t Let It Go” and “Sympathy,” while a ringing rendition of 1995’s “Name,” the Goos’ first bit hit, offered a totem of the group’s transition from bratty punk to polish pop.
The latter was particularly showcased with a late-show rendition of “So Alive,” an anonymous contemporary pop track from 2016’s “Boxes” that stood out — not favorably — against its more substantial setlist neighbors. A rushed encore of “Big Machine” notwithstanding, it was a special kind of show, something Takac noted “we may not do…again” and that was well worth waiting a couple of extra days to see.
A photo set from the show can be found here: