It isn't hard to believe that the Goo Goo Dolls have been at it for 20 years. When the Buffalo boys stepped onto the Opera House stage on Tuesday night they did it with an ease and comfort of a band coming home, "it feels good to be playing again," frontman John Rzeznik mused, "it's nice to have a job again."
Toronto was the first stop on a promotional tour for their upcoming album Let Love In; the band hasn't been on the road since promoting their 2002 record Gutterflower.
The show played like a rehearsal, not only for the rest of their promo tour but for their upcoming summer tour with the Counting Crows.
The crowed, made up of just as many contest winners as people who actually purchased tickets were treated to a set of The Goo's hits from their back catalogue as well as some never before heard tracks from their forthcoming album. The mix of new and old created a bit of an uneven pacing to the show as the crowd's energy rose to a roar for the familiar tunes and quieted down to a respectful listen when the new material came on. The band admitted that it was "terrifying" to play new music in front of an unsuspecting audience, but the crowd quickly caught on to the band's set of new catchy, heartfelt tunes.
The show began with the band's newest single, the high energy, rocking, but melodic "Stay with You". Familiar tunes from Let Love In including the uplifting first single "Better Days", that became an anthem of sorts for hurricane Katrina victims and a cover of Supertramps' "Give A Little Bit" also made it into the set.
But the tunes the fans were most interested in were the ones they had never heard before including the heartfelt, ballad "Without You Here" and more midtempo pop-rock tunes like "Feel the Silence", "Can't Let Go" and the sure to be radio friendly, "Let Love In".
Judging from the tunes that are set for the new album, for the most part the Goos didn't stray far from what they're good at, catchy pop-rock tunes, heavy on hooks and strong songwriting. But the tunes on the upcoming record that the band went home to Buffalo to write seem to sustain the same amount of emotional connection that made hits of tunes like "Name", "Black Balloon" and heavy hit, "Iris" from the City of Angels soundtrack.
Though it was the audience who sung back most of the band's hit tunes during the show the band's presence, energy and emotion on stage was a happy reminder of why the band filled the nineties charts with their emotional pop rock tunes and why they will continue to rock for twenty or more years.
Writer: Michelle Garcia