Concert Review: Goo Goo Dolls / O.A.R. @ SPAC, 08/08/2023

OAR and Goo Goo Dolls Rock SPAC Stage in Unforgettable Night of Music

Perfect weather set the stage for an electrifying evening at SPAC on Tuesday night, as OAR commanded the spotlight in front of a packed and enthusiastic audience. The band’s setlist expertly melded their contemporary hits with timeless classics, delivering a performance that left the crowd in awe. Among the standout moments, saxophonist/guitarist Jerry DePizzo stole the limelight with his awe-inspiring talent and remarkable lung capacity. The energy emanating from the stage was met in kind by an engaged crowd that harmonized joyfully to crowd favorites such as “Shattered” and “Peace.” A remarkable interlude during the song “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker” saw playing cards take flight through the air, creating a surreal spectacle within a small section of the audience.

Photo by Hilary Crannage

Officially established in 1996, lead singer Marc Roberge took a nostalgic detour down memory lane, reminiscing about their humble beginnings performing original music at 8th-grade talent shows. Roberge seamlessly transitioned from these early recollections to the band’s debut single, the timelessly evocative “Hey Girl.” OAR’s ability to forge a personal connection with their fans was evident as they candidly discussed the challenges and fears they encountered during their growth as a musical entity. The band also expressed heartfelt gratitude towards their unwavering support network of family and friends.

As OAR’s final notes echoed, the anticipation in the atmosphere reached its zenith, heralding the arrival of the night’s headliner: The Goo Goo Dolls.

Origins and Resonance: The Goo Goo Dolls Take Center Stage

Hailing from Buffalo, NY, and tracing their roots back to 1986 under the moniker “Sex Maggots,” the Goo Goo Dolls embarked on a musical journey that would catapult them to international recognition. Comprising the dynamic trio of singers/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac, and drummer George Tutuska, the band’s evolution into the beloved Goo Goo Dolls was an organic and transformative process. Not even a broken foot could deter Rzeznik from delivering a performance that exceeded all expectations.

Photo by Hilary Crannage

The show’s opening moments were marked by a mesmerizing spectacle: a television screen flickered to life, gradually joined by a checkerboard of screens, each displaying news broadcasts. This audiovisual crescendo culminated in a burst of light, signaling the onset of the band’s performance with their inaugural track, “Yeah, I like you.” An air of nostalgia enveloped the venue as iconic hits like “Slide,” “Big Machine,” and “Broadway” ignited fond memories for the audience.

Towards the culmination of their set, the Goo Goo Dolls unveiled their latest creation, “Lost,” utilizing an artful blend of a prerecorded electronic beat emanating from a vintage cassette player affectionately referred to as “Tapey.” The night culminated in a crescendo of emotion and energy as the band launched into their magnum opus, the universally recognized anthem “Iris,” igniting the entire audience in a chorus of song and celebration.

Photo by Hilary Crannage

The SPAC stage became a nexus of musical excellence, an arena where the collective talents of OAR and the Goo Goo Dolls converged to create an unforgettable night of melodies and memories. As the final notes reverberated through the air and the lights dimmed, the echoes of this remarkable performance will undoubtedly linger in the hearts of attendees for years to come.

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