On what frontman John Rzeznik called “a perfect summer night,” the happy “bunch of bums” from Buffalo rollicked through a lively 90-minute set on Wednesday that was heavy on the hits.
A colorful beachball spun through the air at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, landing every so often until an audience member popped it back into the air with a clenched fist.
The colored panels blended together as it floated through the air, not unlike the Goo Goo Dolls who floated through the years to blend together a nostalgic set.
Another sold-out, summer-splashed crowd danced and sang along to all the radio hits and more on Wednesday night as the popular rock band from Buffalo performed a lively set.
“What a perfect summer night,” frontman John Rzeznik marveled, looking out over the crowd.
“This may be the most beautiful acreage in all of Grand Rapids,” added bassist and founding member, Robby Takac. “Thanks for letting a bunch of bums like us come make some rock ’n’ roll here.”
The 90-minute set started with “Over & Over,” accompanied by cannons that shot plumes of smoke into the air. Soon after, the distinct and bright acoustic guitar intro to the hit single, “Slide,” invoked an eruption of applause.
“We (the band) met 30 years ago,” Rzeznik reminisced, after a few more songs. “No, no, don’t applaud! That just makes us old.”
But even after 30 years of touring and relentless performing, Rzeznik’s voice came through the microphone as clear and crisp as it did through every teenager’s car radio in 1998, when the band’s hit album, “Dizzy Up the Girl,” exploded on popular radio, catapulting the band to stardom.
Rzeznik also displayed his striking guitar talents, ripping through a number of well-placed, tasteful leads and licks.
The frontman wandered around stage, interacting with fans on both sides of the amphitheater, prompting them to throw their arms up and sing out choruses. He even bantered briefly with a fan before sincerely thanking him for getting out of his seat.
“It’s good to see you standing up,” he said, as his eyes meandered around the packed venue.
FAMILIAR HITS AND PASSIONATE SING-ALONGS
Bringing by far the most energy, however, was Takac, who mercilessly worked over his red, sticker-clad bass guitar. The musician stomped and jumped around every far corner of the stage, smiling widely the whole time, even taking over lead vocals for a few songs.
Rounding out the end of the set were the heavy hitters “Name,” “Broadway” and the emotion-filled, nostalgia-soaked, ’90s ballad of love and insecurity, “Iris.”
Every audience member, it seemed, belted out the passionate chorus at the top of their lungs, singing the words into the night sky.
New songs were also mixed into the list during the show. “So Alive” showcased a grooving shuffle on drums and a huge chorus, while “Long Way Home” maintained a more piano-driven, straightforward pop feel.
Checking off yet another mainstream favorite, the band dove into “Broadway,” which may have been the most energetic track of the night, both for band members and fans.
Voicing what others were most certainly thinking, one fan gazed in awe toward the stage while singing every word of the up-beat, rock-verging track. He then turned to look at the rest of the amphitheater and, at the top of his lungs, shouted: “I used to be young once!”
Opening act Tribe Society started the night by letting loose an engaging and grand pop-hued set, with frontman Gavin McDevitt pulling double-duty on synthesizers and flute.
Up Next at Meijer Gardens: Comedian Jay Leno at 7:30 tonight (Thursday), with the band Razzbone opening the show. Tickets are $99 and available online here.
PHOTO GALLERY: Goo Goo Dolls at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Anna Sink