Concert Review: Goo Goo Dolls & Matchbox Twenty in Concord, CA

Last night I took my 8-year-old son to his first real rock concert.

Due to traffic and the long parking process at the venue, we missed a portion of opener Kate Earl's set, but what I did hear I mostly liked. Or really, I very much liked her earnestness . . . There was something honest about her and her music that I found appealing.

And then the Goo Goo Dolls. Now, I like them, but I really only know their work through their radio hits (and the fact that Johnny Rzeznik and I were once published in the same issue of Rosebud; his was called "Iris" and mine was called "There Was an Old Woman," which is a pretty good example of why I don't still write poetry).

Anyway, I guess the short answer here is that I don't know enough about their music to say more than, yes, I enjoyed hearing and seeing them live. We had good seats, seventh row center, but the iPhone's camera is useless at concerts because of the lighting, so the few pics I can offer are underwhelming. Rzeznik & Co. played mostly songs I recognized, and they also did a really sweet new number called "Come to Me" wherein they put the lyrics up over the stage so people could "learn" the words.

(Stupid camera always makes stuff look farther away than it is, too, but whatever.)

When I asked my son what his verdict was regarding the Goo Goos, he said, "They were pretty good, even though they have a weird name."

But what he really wanted to know was when Matchbox Twenty was going to play. It was well past his bedtime after all.

The MB20 stage was kind of fun; three cube-shaped screens and a lot of neon piping.

This actually made it easier for my son to see what was going on, and the cubes more or less mesmerized him. (You have to understand that Rob Thomas is my son's inspiration for learning to play guitar and wanting to learn to sing, so his attention was divided between watching Rob and then also watching Kyle Cook play—my son was impressed by how fast he had to move his hands.)

As for the concert itself, it was all pretty rote. There was nothing by way of interesting new arrangements of old favorites; everything was played more or less radio and record style. Nor did they really play anything one might call a "deep cut," since it was all their hits and singles. ::shrug:: Give the people what they want, I guess.

Still, it was fun, and my son was so excited they played his favorite song, which is "Bright Lights." He's loved it since he was three years old and used to yell at the concert video, "No, Kyle, don't stand on the piano!" (And no, Kyle did not stand on the piano last night.)

One interesting thing, I suppose, is that they opened with "Parade," which I would have counted more as something to end with . . . Usually one might expect a show to open with something more upbeat, but it was nice anyway.

As concerts go, the night was fun but not spectacular. I suppose that says something about these bands and the people—like me—who listen to them. It all tasted of risk aversion. But then again, that worked in our favor in the parking lot as we exited in slow but mostly orderly fashion.

No comments: