Goo Goo Dolls may have been in the headlining slot on the lakefront of FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island unpacking a collection of hits and treasures, but appearances from Collective Soul and Tribe Society further cemented the rock solid soundtrack for a hot summer night. In fact, fans were on their feet from the very first swirls of lights and smoke as the Goo Goo Dolls took the stage to “Over and Over” (the opening track from the group’s new album “Boxes”), which was quickly followed by a journey to the past for “Long Way Down.”
That vibe only escalated when the Goo Goo Dolls initially closed with the blockbuster “Iris” (a staple of the “City of Angels” soundtrack) and the potent “Broadway,” followed by a brief encore of the latest album’s fittingly framed closer “Long Way Home.”
Fan favorite “Slide” soon incited a sing-along that echoed throughout the almost sold-out amphitheater and prompted front man/guitarist John Rzeznik to express appreciation for the crowd’s enthusiastic response, noting that Chicago is one of his favorite cities. “This is what summer is all about,” he exclaimed midway through the 21-song set, which also included colorful anecdotes about the band’s history, such as the revelation that a marijuana transaction prompted fellow co-founder Robby Takac to suggest starting the Goo Goo Dolls three decades ago.
And the rest of course is all history, including the Buffalo-based band’s leap from the indie rock circuit to Top 40 radio with 1995’s “Name,” which found Rzeznik dedicating it to longtime fans for their enduring support. Takac also stepped up on the microphone on just a few occasions (“Already There,” “Prince’s “I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man”), but even when he didn’t sing, his animated bass playing and antics always added adolescent-like energy to the performance.
That vibe only escalated when the Goo Goo Dolls initially closed with the blockbuster “Iris” (a staple of the “City of Angels” soundtrack) and the potent “Broadway,” followed by a brief encore of the latest album’s fittingly framed closer “Long Way Home.” Prior to the Goos, fellow ‘90s survivors Collective Soul caught Chicago up to speed on its recent whereabouts and gave their all, even though some concertgoers were still in the midst of arriving.
Those who did make it in time caught powerhouse vocalist Ed Roland dominating the stage alongside lead guitarist Jesse Tripplett, whose formidable fretwork added extra fuel to high octane appearance. Toward the end of Collective Soul’s ten tunes, Roland reminded the crowd that his band continues to release new material (“See What You Started by Continuing”) and seeks to offer more than simply the hits. Even so, full-throttled, extended versions of the previous “Shine” and “December” earned the loudest reception of the well-received set, while “The World I Know” paid an additional compliment to the sound and substance of the main attraction.
Click here for more photos of the Goo Goo Dolls with Collective Soul from FirstMerit Bank Pavilion At Northerly Island.
Upcoming concert highlights at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion At Northerly Island include Ray LaMontagne (Aug. 6) and Josh Groban with Sarah McLachlan (Aug. 9); Carnival Of Madness featuring Shinedown (Aug. 16); Mad Decent Block Party (Aug. 21); Counting Crows and Rob Thomas (Aug. 24); Slightly Stoopid (Aug. 26); Fifth Harmony (Aug. 31); The Loop Luau featuring Sammy Hagar & The Circle (Sept. 2); Bryan Adams (Sept. 15) and Pretty Lights (Sept. 23-24). For additional details, visit LiveNation.com.