Matchbox Twenty And Goo Goo Dolls At Molson Amphitheatre

Matchbox Twenty And Goo Goo Dolls At Molson Amphitheatre

  • Goo Goo Dolls' John Rzeznik
    Photo: Steve Snowden/Getty Images
  • Matchbox Twenty's Rob Thomas
    Photo: Steve Jennings/

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By Nick Krewen

Talk about your Adult Top 40 dream team.

For nearly two decades, the Buffalo, N.Y.-bred Goo Goo Dolls and Orlando, Fla., natives Matchbox Twenty have dominated mainstream adult radio formats. On June 27 that dominance was showcased in the form of as a co-headlining performance at Toronto's Molson Amphitheatre.  

Multiple GRAMMY nominees the Goo Goo Dolls got the party rolling with a rather raucous launch into "Last Hot Night," from their new album Magnetic. Expanded into a five-piece from the normal trio of vocalist/guitarist John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and drummer Mike Malinin, the Goo Goo Dolls assembled a great flow of songs that constantly built momentum throughout their 75-minute set, mixing new songs ("Rebel Beat," "Come To Me") and the old ("Slide," "Naked") with a wall of sound provided by an extra guitar.

Dressed in a gray shirt and camouflage pants, Rzeznik was relaxed and charming, joking with the crowd and churning out vocals. As he muffed the intro to "Eyes Wide Open," he laughed and proclaimed, "I never said I was a great guitar player. You want to see someone get all the notes right, go see John Mayer."

"Name" and the GRAMMY-nominated "Iris" got the biggest responses, the latter bringing the crowd to their feet as the Goo Goo Dolls sufficiently got the audience's adrenaline rising.

Although Matchbox Twenty, featuring three-time GRAMMY winner Rob Thomas on vocals, offered more visual technology than the Goo Goo Dolls, (the latter had a multitiered stage and three angled cubes dangling from the ceiling; the former a bunch of video screens placed just behind them onstage) they shared a similar key strategy — it was all about the music.

Opening with "Parade" from 2012's North, the six-piece band didn't really mess with the formula that has seen them sell millions of records, running through rote arrangements of "Disease," "Real World" and "Unwell," lifted by the crowd's penchant to sing and dance along.

While Thomas largely concentrated on his singing, much of the band's animation was provided by the six-string spark plugs of Kyle Cook and Paul Doucette, who added enough punch to the proceedings that they impressed the audience with their instrumentalist chops.

Disciplined musicianship and plenty of celebratory songs about love — for what more could Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls fans ask?

To catch the Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

Goo Goo Dolls Set List:

"Last Hot Night"
"Here Is Gone"
"Rebel Beat"
"Black Balloon"
"Now I Hear"
"Another Second Time Around"
"Eyes Wide Open"
"Let Love In"
"Come To Me"
"Better Days"
"Bringing On The Light"
"Stay With You"

Matchbox Twenty Set List:

"She's So Mean"
"How Far We've Come"
"3 A.M."
"Real World"
"If You're Gone"
"Long Day"
"I Will"
"English Town"
"Bright Lights"
"Back 2 Good"
"Our Song"

(Nick Krewen is a Toronto-based journalist and co-author of Music From Far And Wide: Celebrating 40 Years Of The Juno Awards, as well as a contributor to The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook. He has written for The Toronto StarTV GuideBillboardCountry Music and was a consultant for the National Film Board's music industry documentary Dream Machine.)

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