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"His Hair!"- It was the first thing I heard as Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik took to the stage alongside the band’s cofounder, bassist, and backup vocalist, Robby Takac. Indeed, John Rzeznik recently changed his hairstyle from the iconic mop to a more modern look. That wasn’t the only change for the 28 year old band, Craig McIntyre became the band’s drummer at the beginning of 2014 after the departure of Mike Malinin who’d been with the group since 1996. The band was on the third to last stop of their North American tour, co-headlining with Daughtry. However tonight, in front of their hometown crowd, The Goo Goo Dolls were the true headliners.
Opening the evening at the Darien Center was the Plain white T’s, the group best known for their 2005 mega hit "Hey There Delilah". Promoting their newest album American Nights, the group played through a brief 7 song set totaling 30 minutes. During the performance of their aforementioned mega hit, the group played to the crowd, altering the final stanza to say “Hey there Buffalo here's to you,” much to the appreciation of those in attendance. Their last song of the evening was the sugar coated acoustic pop tune, “Rhythm of Love.”
Following The Plain White T’s lighthearted pop rock showing was anthem-rock powerhouse, Daughtry. The American Idol artist led his group in a series of good old, rock n' roll tunes. The mix heavily favored a booming bass over which Daughtry showcased his soaring, vocal prowess. Now 8 years old, the band has already released 4 albums. After their set, the group returned to the stage for a 2 song encore performance comprised of the two singles from the band’s newest album, Baptized. “Waiting for Superman” is a synth driven pop song, while the final closer for the night, “Long Live Rock and Roll,” was a sort of theme song for Daughtry's set.
The stage was engulfed in smoke and flooded with red wash lights before John Rzeznik and Robby Takac came out. The two founding members started the band in Buffalo, NY back in 1986 and the affinity for their hometown was obvious. The palpable excitement from the crowd was electrifying. Starting out their set with Dizzy, the band powered through a 20 song show. After nearly 30 years of active touring, the experienced group had no weak spots in their setlist. Songs such as “Slide,” “Black Balloon,” “Big Machine,” “Rebel Beat,” and “Here is Gone” received the best response from the crowd before the band closed with their smash hit, "Iris." With one united voice, the Darien Center sang through the entirety of the song with cell phones, beers, and a few awkward rock fists held up high.
For their encore, the group played the acoustic ballad, “Sympathy” and finished with the Supertramps cover, “Give a Little Bit.” Finally, the night came to a close. It was a beautiful summer evening, and the kind of hometown show for which any band would hope.