April 21, 2010

Goo Goo Dolls at the National

Last night was the Goo Goo Dolls show at the The National. It was a big crowd, which makes sense because they are probably one of if not the most commercially successful, biggest names that have played there.

I hadn't been to The National as a viewer yet. My chorus performed there a few years ago shortly after they opened, and it was SO COOL to see all the backstage areas and the rooms they hadn't quite completed. The historic theater still had little nooks and crannies, and there was one unfinished room where an old painted tapestry of sorts was peeling off the wall. I don't know if they were planning to restore it or just cover over it but remember thinking it'd be a shame just to destroy it to put up shiny modern walls of some kind. There were all these little backstage lounges, a sauna and a 20 person hot tub. The hot tub was not finished at the time, and I wonder if it's still there. I long to be a groupie just so I can get backstage again. It pained me not to be able to walk around the back areas at the show last night.

The opening act was decent, though I don't remember their name because the name they had in lights (cool, oblong baloon shaped lights) on stage turned out to be the title of their new album and not the band name (which I thought was a little backwards considering no one had ever heard of them). I think they got to open for GGD based on the fact that the lead singer had Johnny Reznik's hair from 20 years ago (which turns out, Johnny kind of still had, and it looked good on him).

The opener's not-band-name-but-album-title was "Of Men and Angels" which honestly would be a cool band name. The lead man liked to put him hands in the air a lot, was pretty emo hipster and was quite showy, but they rocked good, so it was ok.

The Goo Goo Dolls played for 2 hours without a break (including encore) so that was impressive. It took Johnny 3 songs to really get energized though. He came out very subdued and even bored-looking. He did "Slide" third, but you could tell he really hated singing it, because he really diverged from the melody and was half-hearted about it. Luckily, as the show went on, he got more animated. Word is, he's actually kinda stage-frighty, and he even told us during one of his guitar solos that he hated playing them. Johnny also forgot some lyrics to a slow song he was doing with acoustic guitar and cursed and joked about it (much to the audience's delight) and that was really endearing. You know musicians play thousands of shows and it's only normal that they'd forget a lyric or two.

Johnny talked to and interacted with the audience, which I appreciate. When he first mentioned the hot military girl in the front row with a sign, I thought for a second it might be questionable rationale. Turns out it was a marine who was about to get deployed to Afghanistan. He gave her a kiss. Apparently there were quite a few military folks in the audience.

Despite a scuffle between some drunk older women and my friend's sister, and the group of 15-year old couples swaying and dancing and bumping into me, it was a good time. I really hate when people have no respect of other people's space. The 15 year olds were singing along and enjoying themselves but I couldn't help but think that none of them were even BORN YET when this band got popular. And if they bumped me one more time (after asking them nicely 2x to stop) I was going to smack them.

My friend had tweeted the bass player earlier in the day, requesting that he play some older, more obscure tracks, in which the bassist actually sings, and he ended up doing 4 of them, so my friend was elated. This friend is also a multi-talented musician, and we both marvelled at how many guitars were lined up on stage--more than 20 in total. My friend tells me that the GGD play in some unusual keys and tunings and that's why they needed all the guitars. Johnny switched guitars for every song.

My friend swears the drummer was wearing a Flying Squirrels t-shirt (which weirdly, my friend had on that night too) but I couldn't confirm. It looked similar, but he was hidden by the drums.


  1. Sounds like a kickass show! So sorry I missed it!

  2. I hate those damn 15 year olds. I think they go to every show. They tried really hard to ruin Third Eye Blind for me. Plus I think those ones were high. Sounds like it was a good show though!

  3. Awesome review...I loved all the details and how you perceived John to be feeling during certain songs...

    Do you remember what songs Robby Takac sang? I'm hoping to hear Extra Pale live one day...

  4. What a nice review! Good read.
    And (if you're interested) the opening act is called The Rocket Summer. The Goos' Monitor Tech has a blog with some nice piccies of the National: http://robertwindel.wordpress.com/
    Also the songs Robby Takac sang were "Another Second Time Around", "Smash", "Now I Hear" (actually a new song from the upcoming album) and "Tucked Away".

  5. P.S. There are now 16 videos from the Richmond show up on YouTube

  6. The Goo Goo Dolls really do put on a good show don't they?! I enjoyed reading your reviews on the show. . . thanks! I'm seeing them tomorrow. . . for the tenth time. :)