The Goo Goo Dolls mixed old and new music in a vibrant and entertaining performance.
By Tori Gellman
Formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York, the indie band The Goo Goo Dolls is a well-recognized name in popular music. Having sold more than 12 million albums worldwide and still producing new music, it’s no wonder the band has been so successful throughout its career. The band, along with opener The Unlikely Candidates, came to Tulsa on Tuesday Oct. 29 and gave the audience a taste of their new album, “Miracle Pill,” while incorporating a litany of their most popular and influential tracks from the last decades.
The Unlikely Candidates tried to set the vibe of the evening. It was slightly difficult for the audience to rock out with the group because there was no standing pit area for this particular show. The lead singer, Kyle Morris, seemed to be in a liquid state, flopping and wiggling around the stage. The mic stand was a fifth appendage of sorts that he took with him around the stage and raised into the audience. Furthermore, Morris threw the microphone itself into the air at least a dozen times during their 30-minute set, which never failed to make me and my friend Alyssa laugh.
The audience was definitely ready for the headliner to come out onto the stage. The crowd all the way up to the balcony area had people standing and swaying along to every single song. The lead singer of The Goo Goo Dolls, Johnny Rzeznik, spoke very freely and confidently with audience members, cursing and joking around about anything and everything that came to his mind in the given moment.
The most entertaining, albeit lengthy, joke of the evening revolved around the Dust Bowl. Rzeznik talked about how being from New Jersey, he never had to fear that a giant wall of dust would just come and sweep him away. The audience applauded and hollered, amused.
Although many of the songs’ lyrics in the band’s repertoire deal with serious, heavy topics, the group did a rather amazing job of keeping the general atmosphere upbeat and positive throughout the entire concert. This sometimes took on a very physical manifestation as with the hit “Black Balloon,” during which black balloons were released from the rafters and Rzeznik paused his singing to take a leaf blower and push the balloons into the crowd.
Even when more somber songs were performed, they were always accompanied by a lighthearted anecdote from a band member, either about where they were mentally when writing the song or how the song really influenced and changed the band as a whole. This was particularly notable with “Sympathy,” in which Rzeznik took the stage alone with an acoustic guitar and the audience belted along “killing myself from the inside out.”
It was fun to see this row of ultra fans up at the front of the stage who never seemed to stop bouncing and bopping along to every song. The band continuously waved at fans dancing around the venue. There was even a couple dancing together in one of the aisle spaces.
The lighting throughout the show helped keep the energy up, with lots of ‘90s images on the wall of screens behind the band and lots of purple, blue and neon green flashes of color. The entirety of the concert was very vibrant, in sound, style, color and energy, which when considering the age of the band members and the band as a whole, was quite charming. This was very easily one of my favorite concerts I’ve ever attended, and I hope that The Goo Goo Dolls continue to make new music and perform for more decades to come.