September 16, 2022
Rolling out big hits such as “Iris,” “Slide” and “Black Balloon,” the New York rockers fired up a capacity crowd Thursday in the next-to-last Meijer Gardens concert of 2022.
Rock Spectacle: The Goo Goo Dolls on stage at Meijer Gardens. (Photo/Jamie Geybeek)
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At one point during Thursday night’s sold-out concert at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Amphitheater, Goo Goo Dolls lead singer John Rzeznik declared that Michigan is one of the few places in America that “still really loves rock ‘n’ roll.”
Fans on board for the next-to-last Meijer Gardens concert of the season seemed to emphatically prove his point.
Even before the music even began, those streaming into the venue scrambled to find spots where they could squeeze in their chairs and blankets, creating a virtual sea of enthusiastic Goo Goo Dolls fans packing every corner of the amphitheater.
Opening Texas rock band Blue October quickly gained the crowd’s affection, playing hits such as “Into the Ocean” and “I Hope You’re Happy.” Fans of The Goo Goo Dolls seemed to feel right at home with the band’s set full of melodic, upbeat rock songs and powerful vocals from lead singer Justin Furstenfeld.
By the time The Goo Goo Dolls took the stage, nearly everyone in the venue was on their feet. Some fans seated near the back even abandoned their chairs and tried their luck at claiming a spot closer to the stage. For some, this meant crowding into the aisles and stairways. The crowd’s energy showed a noticeable change of pace from some of the more laid-back shows gracing Meijer Gardens.
Forthright Words: Johnny Rzeznik engaged the capacity crowd. (Photo/Jamie Geysbeek)
The New York-based band opened with “Yeah, I Like You,” the lead single from its 2022 album, “Chaos In Bloom.”
In addition to newer material, the group, of course, made sure to throw in enough classic Goo Goo Dolls hits, including “Slide” and “Black Balloon,” to keep fans of all ages singing along.
The mix of acoustic guitar-led ballads and tracks with a bit more of a rock edge paired perfectly with chilly late summer weather of the evening.
Leading up to the 2013 love song “Come To Me,” lead singer John Rzeznik reminded the crowd of the importance of songwriting.
“If you don’t write songs, there’s no show,” he proclaimed and urged the audience to support local songwriters.
Between the catchy songs and humorous comments Rzeznik made throughout the night, the singer also made a point to open up to the crowd about his struggles with alcoholism and remind people that they are not alone. His moving speech was followed by the raw lyricism of the 2002 track, “Sympathy.”
Before performing what was likely the most-anticipated song of the night, “Iris,” the band encouraged concertgoers to hold up their phone flashlights to illuminate the amphitheater. By this point, some fans were already on their way out to beat the traffic, but the chorus of voices singing along to every word was impressive nonetheless.
Seemingly unable to leave the crowd with a slow ballad as the last song of the night, The Goo Goo Dolls reemerged for one last song, the 2017 track, “Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy.”