It had been a little over 14 years since the first and only other time I’d seen Goo Goo Dolls perform. That was a special Fourth Of July performance in their hometown of Buffalo, which was turned into a live DVD. We just happened to be living there at the time and figured we’d check it out. Unlike the diehards, an hour into the rain/thunderstorm we bailed. Fortunately last night in Chicago the skies were clear and the temperature was perfect for a night of music.
The sun started to go down as Phillip Phillips was finishing up his closing set, and the crew began to set up for the headliners as the light made its last desperate attempt to remain. There were a lot of empty seats around the section I was in, and those started to fill up as it got closer to 9pm. It appeared as though a lot of people opted to pre-game in the parking lot to avoid high alcohol costs at the venue, so they were already buzzed and ready for a good time.
Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac came out with a setlist sure to please the fans-all the hits for the casuals, like myself, and some deep cuts for the ones who have been listening since the early 90’s. The people behind us, when the band started playing “Lucky Star” the people behind us excitedly shouted “It’s Robby time!!!,” as Takac took over the mic for that tune plus “Free Of Me.”
There weren’t any big surprises to be had, but the band and the audience still had fun together. At one point Rzeznik announced they were going to play a new song and asked that people not get up to go to the bathroom en masse. “I know, I know. This is where everyone leaves to go to the bathroom. Let’s go to the bathroom now before they play ‘Iris.'” A good little bit of self-awareness there, and it showed a good sense of humor.
I knew, or at least recognized, more songs than I thought I would. It was a fun show and the band didn’t waste a lot of time talking to the crowd. I think they could sense that no one in the pavilion needed convincing and just stuck to the plan, song after song without too many breaks.