By: Kat Quijano
To say that Goo Goo Dolls in Manila is a much-anticipated concert is an understatement. In fact, this writer has been waiting her whole life for that to happen. That probably also holds true to the thousands of fans who gathered in Araneta Coliseum last Feb 11, 2017. It may have taken the band 30 years before they got to perform here, but it was definitely worth the wait.
The mere presence of lead vocalist John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac on stage took us back in the 90s as if the movie City of Angels was just released yesterday. That night, they made sure that majority of the hits that became a soundtrack to the good ‘ole days were included in their set list. The crowd was in high spirits and full-on rock mode when they performed their chart-topping hits like “Slide”, “Big Machine”, “Black Balloon”, and “Broadway”. People were cheering, shouting, even head banging!
But one of the highlights of the night was when they played “Iris”. It wouldnt be a complete Goo Goo Dolls concert without that iconic song, best known for it being part of the hit movie “City Of Angels.” For the 90s kids and 90s kids at heart, it brought back a bunch of old memories, and for everyone at the show, hearing it live for the first time was such a treat. And when it came to the instrumental part, I was in awe with how they worked their magic with those guitar strings. Hands down, everything was perfectly-executed, from the first song to the finale.
When the band performed their classic hit “Name”, everyone was ecstatic. John even shared to the fans the story behind it. According to the front man, he was so close to quitting because he had to make money and support his family, but fortunately he didnt give up. “I immediately sat down on the sofa and I was like, I’ve gotta write a f*king song, I’ve gotta write a f*cking song, I’ve gotta write a song and this is what came out”, he recalled. Hence the birth of their first hit single that introduced them to the world. For sure, tons of people in the audience were inspired by the success story that he shared. John also fondly revealed back stories about their other singles. He mentioned that “Come to Me” was a sweet song he wrote for his wife and “Sympathy” was (surprisingly) about drug use.
Ever since they started making music, it has been evident that the lyrics to their songs have always been meaningful and even inspirational, which is probably the reason why their songs resonated to the lives of millions of people. The messages from their songs serve as a reminder for their fans to always persevere and hold on to their dreams. Even until now, they continue to make good music with the release of their latest record, Boxes. Some songs that they played off that album were “Long Way Home” and “Free of Me.” For the latter’s vocals, John’s long-time music partner, Robby stepped into the limelight.
He didn’t just show his sick bass guitar skills but also his vocal chops when he performed a couple of songs from their previous albums. He was full of energy on stage. He engaged with the audience and displayed animated antics throughout the show. His lively demeanour and the crowd’s energy made the night even more fun.
With the very warm welcome that the band got from their Pinoy fans, he promised that they wouldn’t wait more decades to come back to the country. And the fans cheered and laughed with delight.
Towards the end of the show, a burst of white confetti and giant balloons fell from the ceiling, and everyone was all smiles. It was joyous. It was momentous. It was like a dream, but this time, a dream that came to life. And everyone at the show couldn’t be any happier.
Click the link for photos from the show: Goo Goo Dolls Worth the Decades-Long Wait