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December 23, 2014
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Crowd pleasers

TRR photo by Jonathan Fox Goo Goo Dolls lead vocalist John Rzeznik rocks the house at Bethel Woods.


While I enjoyed the ride, it was the audience reaction that really moved me, since the sold-out crowd was on its feet, clapping and singing along as the show reached it’s crescendo, culminating in a rare standing ovation that was (IMHO) well deserved, an opinion that does not often cross my mind. Sheepishly avoiding my gaze, the gal whose bubble had been burst at intermission slinked out of the theatre, clearly loath to acknowledge that (for something completely different) my musical history lesson was correct.

Feeling that I was on to something, I veered off the road and into my seat at the Bethel Woods Performing Arts Center (www.bethelwoodscenter.org) to learn more about ‘80s rock explosion The Goo Goo Dolls. Again, I observed more than participated as the seats filled for opening band Parachute and the wildly popular Michelle Branch, who performed fresh hits from her new album, before The Dolls hit the stage, electric guitars wailing.

Lead singer John Rzeznik (no clue how that is pronounced) illustrated what crowd pleasing is as the band rocked the pavilion with their unique brand of entertainment (translation: loud—really, really loud) as I adjusted my earplugs and came to understand why millions of fans are “Ga Ga for Goo Goo.” Ingenuous and disarming, the band mates were in synch and I found myself digging the (slightly muffled) intricate sound.

“Thanks for being our friend for all these years” Rzeznik shouted to the audience, which encompassed generations. Ranging from teens to senior citizens, Goo Goo Dolls aficionados come in a variety of flavors, and I overheard several commenting on the scope and complexity of the bands’ history, which has enjoyed a healthy run that shows no signs of slowing down.

I could have felt like a dinosaur at a show such as this, but thankfully did not, and have developed a new appreciation for ‘80s rock that I thought had passed me by. Grasping the fact that there are gaps in my musical education is good for me, but I am looking forward to upcoming shows at Bethel Woods featuring Janet Jackson and Elton John, since I suspect I’ll be on firmer ground. All hail rock and roll!