Review: The Goo Goo Dolls at Mizner Park Amphitheater

South Florida’s weather can be quite unpredictable during summer months; it can rain for an hour and clear up even quicker, sometimes. On a rainy, hot, and steamy shirt-soaking night, longtime rockers Goo Goo Dolls made a stop at Mizner Park Amphitheater on night two of the band’s Big Night Out Tour.

It’s been a couple of years since we last saw the ’90s hitmakers’ guitarist/vocalist John Rzeznik and bassist/vocalist Robby Takac.  At 9:25 p.m. the band made their way on stage and took their positions before immediately jumping into opening tune “Broadway” off 1998’s Dizzy Up the Girl . The aforementioned rockers were joined by longtime touring musicians guitarist Brad Fernquist, drummer Craig Macintyre, and keyboardist Jim McGorman.

After the band opened with a couple of songs that weren’t huge hits and certainly not part of regular ’90s radio rotation, it was “Slide,” the third song, that hooked the crowd and got the throng out of their seats and moving. From then forward, fans could be seen dancing in place and filling the isles — briefly — until security redirected them to their seats.

Rzeznik sports a bit of a different look these days. The ’90s pinup looks lean and trim, sans his recognized emo hair style that used to appear in magazines and posters more than a decade ago. His vocals remain spiffy and sounded great during the entire set that kept the crowd engaged in a singalong to mostly-recognized songs like “Iris,” “Name,”  “Slide,” “Black Balloon,” and “Here Is Gone.”

After nearly four decades performing, this night they played before an audience of fans mostly over 40, comprised of a mix of millennials, Gen X’ers, and boomers. These are the fans who have keep the band relevant long after their radio days and continue to draw crowds at smaller, more intimate venues like Mizner Park that caps at 5,000.

Clearly, the band appreciates their audience as they thanked them for being there and in the moment. What the future holds for the band remains to be seen, but as their audience ages, fewer and fewer will attend shows and will perhaps put the band on the road performing as a nostalgia act. But for now, geriatrics are still a few years away as could be seen by their vibrant fans.

Having gone through a setlist of the band’s very best, Goo Goo Dolls waved good night to the many fans who needed to leave because of the mid-week show with children, work, and other obligations awaiting them come morning. Those who waited made it clear, however, that there was some unfinished business; they simply wanted to hear the band’s biggest and best. Goo Goo Dolls obliged the diehards first with a well-done cover of Tom Petty’s 1989 mega hit “I Won’t Back Down,” as the crowd joined Rezeznik in a singalong serving as the backing vocalists. To close out the night, fans were treated to a slightly extended version of “Iris,” the song that recently hit a billion streams on the music platform Spotify.

Collectively, Rzeznik and company gave fans what they came for: a rocking good show and a chance to relive the songs they listened to on the radio in their youth. It was a period of many tragic events and some interesting happenings when Bill Clinton was president and a new era in space began with the launching of Hubble Space Telescope. While those times may seem like a blur, for many it was a good time to catch up with old friends or perhaps even to make some new ones. The band is a bit more tepid these days; gone are the days of head-bobbing and running about the stage like wild rockers. Nonetheless,  Goo Goo Dolls continue to deliver a fun and engaging show that keeps their fans coming back for more.

Setlist: Broadway, Over and Over, Slide, Dizzy, Here is Gone, Black Balloon, January Friend, Yeah, I Like You, Going Crazy, So Alive, Lucky Star, Miracle Pill, Sympathy, Lost, Come to Me, Name, Use Me, Run All Night, Life’s a Message, Long Way Down, Keep the Car Running, Bringing On the Light, Give a Little Bit (Supertramp cover), Better Days, Stay With You; Encore: I Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty cover), Iris


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