EAU CLAIRE — As people filed into Pablo Center at the Confluence on Friday for the much anticipated Goo Goo Dolls concert as part of the venue’s Season 5 Legends Series, one thing became abundantly clear; the Goo Goo Dolls draw crowds of all ages, spanning the generations.
While there were plenty of Millennials in the audience excited to relive the nostalgia of their teenage years with Goo Goo Dolls classics of the 90s, there were also plenty of younger people and older people who were just as excited to belt out Goo Goo Doll’s iconic lyrics as well. This serves as proof that the band’s music has truly withstood the test of time.
When the lights of the RCU Theatre went down at about 8 p.m., the opening act Whitehall, a four-piece indie rock band from Charleston, took the stage to warm the crowd up for the main act. While their sound is far different from that of the Goo Goo Dolls, Whitehall brought the energy to the stage with their original songs that meld the musical genres of indie and rock together in a unique way.
It was clear to the audience that the band enjoys performing as a couple of the band members never stopped moving, headbanging throughout the show even if the song didn’t quite warrant it. Their job was to prime the crowd for the main event, and that’s exactly what they did.
The lights went black again about 30 minutes later. And, as the lights went down, the audience stood up — eagerly awaiting the arrival of John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, also known as Goo Goo Dolls.
Once the entire audience members stood up, the vast majority never sat back down as the band performed a set list perfectly balanced with the songs that made Goo Goo Dolls a household name over 20 years ago such as: “Slide,” “Black Balloon” and “So Alive,” and brand new tracks off of their latest album “Chaos in Bloom” including “Yeah, I Like You,” “You are the Answer” and “Going Crazy.”
One can’t forget their 1998 number one hit “Iris.” While it wasn’t the closing number as one might expect, it was certainly the song the crowd sang the loudest back to them. At one point, Rzeznick even stopped singing in the middle of the performance, allowing the crowd to pick up where he left off. While there’s no guarantee, it’s safe to say pretty much everybody in the theater sang the chorus word for word in almost perfect tune.
The show marked the kickoff of Goo Goo Doll’s fall tour dates for their 2022 tour, named after their new album and based on their electric, high energy performance complete with eye-catching and creative video content, Rzeznick and Takac seemed elated to be back out performing together and happy to be in Eau Claire.
The band stayed in, or “haunted” as Rzeznick called it, the city for a few days leading up to the tour and they had nothing but good things to say about it.
“This is a beautiful city,” Takac said of what he called “Aw Claire” during the show, specifically mentioning the “good ice cream” across the street and the range of things to do and see in the downtown area.
“These are the gems we get to find when we’re on tour,” Rzeznick said, speaking of smaller towns like Eau Claire.
Judging by the crowd’s positive reaction song after song, regardless if they knew if or not, the fans in Eau Claire love the Goo Goo Dolls just as much as the Goo Goo Dolls said they loved them throughout their performance.
Takac told the Leader-Telegram prior to the performance that the show would “just be a great night out,” and that’s certainly what it was.