Goo Goo Dolls
The Goo Goo Dolls, and special guests O.A.R. (Of A Revolution), hit Fivepoint Amp Wednesday night, and it was freaking awesome. Let me back up a bit. I have always loved The Goo Goo Dolls. I feel like I know every word for their hits like Slide, Iris, Better Days, Black Balloon, and Name, but I had never seen them live until this past June. Those that listen to me regularly on Sunday mornings may have noticed I was out for the entire month of June, and that’s because I took a vacation to Scotland and Ireland. A big part of that was the whiskey, since I fancy myself a collector, but when my wife asked if I wanted to see a concert while we were in Dublin, Ireland the answer was a definite yes. She found out that The Goo Goo Dolls were playing at a legendary Dublin venue called Vicar Street, and tickets were bought. That show was so damn good – aside from the fact there was a heatwave and apparently Vicar Street hasn’t heard of Air Conditioning. Fast forward to coming home, and I see Goo Goo Dolls were coming to Fivepoint and I knew I had to try to photograph the show. So glad I did.
The two actual members of the band are founders John Rzeznik (above) – handling guitar and vocals, and bassist Robby Takac (below), whose is absolutely infectious to watch. These two form a foundation for the rest of the band that’s on stage and the results are insanely good. First of all let’s talk about John’s vocals. He is one of the best there is, period. He sounds so damn good that you feel like you’re listening in a studio, but brought to life on the amphitheater sound system. This is next level performance in every way.
Takac on the other hand is the definition of “born to do this”. Taking the stage barefoot, and with a never ending fun smile, Robby – I might argue – is as much a source of performance as the “frontman” Rzeznik. I actually found myself wanting to photograph him so much, while singing the songs in my head, that I had to remind myself I still needed to photograph the rest of the band.
Rounding out the stage you have Brad Fernquist on guitar, mandolin, and backing vocals, Craig Macintyre handling the drums, and Jim McGorman at the keys and backing vocals (all below).
It’s an awesome mix of talent, and when John goes into Name, or Iris, you can’t help but sing out loud (which to be clear some people really should never do). All I can say is see this band live, you’ll thank me later.
Goo Goo Dolls Setlist
- Over and Over
- Big Machine
- Here Is Gone
- Black Balloon
- January Friend
- Yeah, I Like You
- Going Crazy
- Lucky Star
- So Alive
- Sympathy (With Piano Only)
- Come to Me
- Name (John Solo Acoustic Intro)
- Miracle Pill
- Run All Night
- Life’s a Message
- Bringing On the Light
- Better Days
- Stay With You
- Tattered Edge
O.A.R. (Of A Revolution)
O.A.R. or Of A Revolution, has been around since 1996, and before Wednesday night I would have told you I heard the name but didn’t really know them. Well, I was wrong. There were a few songs where I looked at my wife and said “I know this song”! If you aren’t familiar with the band – and I suppose there is a chance you are and just don’t know it, let me tell you something I don’t say lightly… O.A.R. might very well be the tightest band I have ever seen live. I mean, they are scary good musicians. Charlie Watts being the drummer for The Rolling Stones is the best analogy I can think of, because it’s like watching amazing jazz musicians playing anything but jazz. There’s almost a jam session feel to the set, in the most wonderful sense. I need to photograph these guys again, soon.
The current lineup of the band starts with Marc Roberge. He handles vocals, and rhythm guitar, like a music school professor. His voice weaves in and out of notes in such an amazing way, it’s like watching a masterclass. I absolutely loved hearing California live, and the song Peace is a new fave of mine.
Richard On is on lead guitar and backing vocals, and there was a moment when he was throwing picks into the crowd where I honestly felt like he was having as much fun as we were. This was their last night on the tour, and that emotion ran through the set. His solo stuff would be of interest to any guitarist. So good.
On bass we have Benj Gershman. Again, a masterclass unfolding in front of you. I do wish he’d had more light on his performance, but he was pretty dark most of the set – with the exception of a moment or two. Photographically I’d have loved to capture more, but audibly his playing is second to none.
Jerry DePizzo handles both saxophone, guitar, and backing vocals. I can’t describe it, but even though his main spot on stage is behind Roberge it feels like he is always front and center. That sax is just magic.
Drummer Chris Culos may be the one that took my attention the most. Drummers are my favorite subject to photograph, but it is so damn cool to watch a drummer sing almost entire songs to themselves while playing. And the playing…. again, masterclass.
Handling keys, percussion, and backing vocals on stage is Mikel Paris. His emotion and masterful percussion work made the show. It is hard to explain, and impossible to overstate, just how good this set of players is together. People look their whole lives for a chemistry like this, and never find it. Now I know why, O.A.R. has it already.
I will see this band again, and I sure hope to photograph them again too.
- Here’s to You
- Lay Down
- This Town
- Love and Memories
- Shattered (Turn the Car Around)
- I Go Through
- The Downeaster Alexa (Billy Joel cover)
- Delicate Few
- Miss You All the Time
- Ring of Fire (Merle Kilgore cover)
- Hey Girl
- That Was a Crazy Game of Poker
As usual, there is a gallery with many more photos below, and if you were at the show I’d love to hear your thoughts.
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