When I heard that the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox 20 were performing together on a summer concert, I knew that I HAD to see it with the people I went through high school with. Their songs are like a time machine transporting me back to the glory days of high school, when the two bands dominated the pop music radio channel. Whenever I was stuck on a long road trip with my parents, Dizzy Up the Girl and Mad Season would spin in regular rotation in my portable CD player. These bands will forever be associated with youth and energy and teenage angst. Plus, I've seen them before, and I know that they both put on great shows. So Kitty, Bandaid, Kero and I all piled into a car to see them perform in Concord, just like we did back in the old days.
(And looking around at the crowd, which appeared to be mostly women in their 30s and middle-aged couples, I do mean the old days.)
The Goo Goo Dolls performed first. Now, I had quite the little crush on Johnny Rzeznik back in the day, and my powers of self-delusion can be quite strong so I did not think that his plastic surgery was nearly as bad as my friends made it sound. They were like, "Can he move his face?" and "It looks so...fake," and I would have to be like, "GUYS. I am trying to have a moment here. STOP HARSHING ON MY JOHNNY BUZZ." Goodness knows, when I'm getting close to 50 I will no doubt be pumping all sorts of noxious chemicals into my face to halt the aging process. Can't blame a guy for doing the same.
And who cares? The Goo Goo Dolls still sound fantastic, and that's what matters. They sang most of the big hit singles from the late 90s and early 00s - Broadway, Slide, Iris, Name, Black Balloon - and it was great. I've never been a shrieking, hyperventilating type of fan but the closest I've ever come is probably during that performance of Broadway. There were also some newer songs that I'd never heard before, which made me wonder what I've missed in the past few years. I think the last Goo Goo Dolls CD that I actually purchased was Gutterflower, and I just realized that it was released over ten years ago. Wow.
The headliner performance, of course, was Matchbox 20, and it was good. Actually, it was a little surreal. When I last saw Matchbox 20 - gosh, it must have been eight or ten years back - I was mildly shocked by how angry Rob Thomas was. He was dropping f-bombs left and right. But it was such a good show, because that rage really fueled the more aggressive songs and gave passion even to the slower numbers. Fast forward tonight, and he was so relaxed by comparison. Maybe one profanity the entire evening. Age has mellowed him out considerably, but it's not a bad thing. He's still a great singer and a dedicated performer.
I feel guilty, because I ought to have more to say about the other members of the band. I guess it's true what Eminem noted in My Band - chicks don't even know the name of my band, because it's all about the front man! Sad, but true. I mean, the other guys all played really well, and the music sounded great, but it's the lyrics that always stay with me, so I'm afraid that the vocalist is the only one I ever remember. Gosh, now I feel like a terrible person.
But it was a fantastic concert.