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The Goo Goo Dolls with Blue October

The Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater

Wantagh, NY August 20, 2022

By Mike Perciaccante

The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in Buffalo, NY in 1986. At that time, guitarist and vocalist John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac along with drummer George Tutuska joined forces with the trio picking its name from an ad for a toy in True Detective magazine.

By 1987, Mercenary Records had released the Goo Goo Dolls first album, Goo Goo Dolls. On that album Takac handling the majority of the vocals because, at that time, Rzeznik was too shy to sing. 1989 saw the release of the band’s second album Jed on Metal Blade Records. In 1990, Hold Me Up was also on Metal Blade Records.  Hold Me Up was a departure because it featured Rzeznik singing lead on five tracks. The Goo Goo Dolls’ first major label release was Superstar Car Wash (Warner Brothers Records) in 1993. The album featured the track “We Are The Normal” (co-written by Rzeznik and Paul Westerberg) which garnered quite a bit of critical praise and the band’s first “real” media attention.

During the course of its career, the Goo Goo Dolls has had 19 Top 10 singles on various Billboard charts. The band is most well-known for its hits “Name” and “Naked” from 1995’s A Boy Named Goo (Warner Brothers/Metal Blade Records) as well as “Iris,” “Slide,” “Black Balloon,” “Flat Top,” “Dizzy,” “Broadway,” “Better Days,” “Give a Little Bit” and “Home.” During its careen, the Goo Goo Dolls has over 15 million albums across the globe. On August 12, 2022, a week prior to this how, the Goo Goo Dolls released its 14th studio album Chaos in Bloom on Warner Brothers Records.

Since the band’s origin in 1986, there have been a number of personnel changes. Tutuska departed in 1995. His replacement, Mike Malinin, manned the drums until he left at the end of 2013. The “band” is now down to a twosome of Rzeznik, Takac plus touring musicians Brad Fernquist (guitar and mandolin since 2006), Jim McGorman (keyboards, guitar and saxophone since 2018) and Craig Macintyre (drums since 2014).

Blue October was formed in 1995 in Houston, TX. After playing around Texas during its early years, Blue October was discovered by former Kid Rock manager Michael Rand. Under his stewardship Blue October was the recipient of extensive publicity campaigns as well as numerous bookings. in 1998 released its first album on the label The Answers on RoDan Entertainment/Scoop. Eventually the band was signed to Universal and in 2000, it released it first major label album Consent to Treatment on that label.

During its career, Blue October has garnered seventeen Top-40 singles on the alternative rock charts and are best known for their platinum singles “Hate Me” and “Into the Ocean” from their platinum album Foiled (Universal, 2006). The band’s upcoming double album Spinning The Truth Around: Part 1 (Up Down Records) will be released on October 14, 2022 with part two arriving in early 2023.

The band is currently composed of Justin Furstenfeld (lead vocals and guitarist), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums), multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye, Matt Noveskey (bass) and Will Knaak (lead guitar).

On August 20th, the two bands brought their 2022 tour to the iconic Northwell Health at Jones Bach Theater in Wantagh, NY. Blue October was up first. It was quite obvious that the group were thrilled to be performing at the intimate outdoor amphitheater. The groups fans were out in force as evidenced by the number of Blue October t-shirts seen adorning the bands fans. Blue October did not disappoint.

The 11-tune, high-energy show opened with “Coal Makes Diamonds,” the opening track from Home (Up Down records, 2016). The set powerful featured tracks from the band’s last album This Is What I Live For (Up Down Records, 2020), including “Oh My My,” “Fight for Love,” “Moving On (So Long),” as well as the title track. Long-time fans were treated to fantastic takes on the band’s classics such as “Say It,” “Into the Ocean,” an otherworldly version of “Hate Me,” and the catchy, yet solemn and plaintive “I Hope You’re Happy” set closer.

After a short intermission, the Goo Goo Dolls took the stage. Opening its show with “Yeah I Like You” from its latest release Chaos in Bloom and “Slide” followed by “Big Machine” (from the 2002 Warner Brothers Records release Gutterflower), the Goo Goo Dolls immediately seized control and proved to the Long Island audience that they come to play and were ready to deliver a fun and fantastic performance.

Throughout the evening, it was apparent that Rzeznik and Takac were having a blast. The two musicians were feeding off each other’s energy as well as that of the crowd. Every song was performed with huge smiles on their faces. Older songs and newer songs were mixed together to provide an amazing journey through the ban’s extensive catalogue. “Naked” and “Name” (which Rzeznik reportedly wrote about MTV personality Kennedy) served as a time machine bringing the audience members back to 1995’s A Boy Named Goo (Warner Brothers Records/Metal Blade). “Lucky Star” with Takac handing the lead vocals brought the audience even further back to 1993 and Superstar Car Wash (Warner Brothers Records).

New songs like “War” and “Going Crazy” fit in well with “Life’s A Message” from 2019’s Miracle Pill album (Warner Brothers Records), “Come to Me,” “Here Is Gone,” “Over And Over” from Boxes (Warner Brothers Records, 2016), “Black Balloon” and the mega-hits like “Broadway” and the main set closer “Iris” (which brought the crowd to its feet, singing along with the band).

The spectacular evening ended with the encores of “Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy” and the finale, a wonderful and amazing tribute to Tom Petty—a cover of “Runnin’ Down A Dream.”

As the audience filed out of the arena, some stopped by the concession stand to buy CDs; t-shirts; posters; caps and hoodies, while others could be heard happily singing Goo Goo Dolls’ tunes (though quite off-key).

Additional Article Contributions and Photo Credit: Christine Connallon


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