Goo Goo Dolls christen new music venue in style
Buffalo-based rockers deliver a well-paced show at SOMO
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By Dave Williams  August 7, 2014 11:47 am

Sonoma Mountain Village’s (SOMO) concert debut on July 30 announced its presence as another viable venue on the local music scene when it hosted hit makers the Goo Goo Dolls to kick off the SOMO Outdoor Concert Series.

The Goo Goo Dolls, once a formidable trio who were at the height of their powers in the mid 1990s and early 2000s, christened the new outdoor venue with a well-paced two-hour set that showed why this band has stood the test of time and has held onto an extremely loyal following. 

When the band took the stage right before dusk, the sight of their audience members taking videos from their mobile phones was something to behold. 

It seems taking videos  via mobile phones has replaced the old concert staple of holding cigarette lighters high in the air.

The area where the concert took place has been used for a multitude of events at SOMO, including car shows and barbecue contests. But this was the first time for a full-scale concert, and those who organized the event and created the amphitheater feel should give themselves a pat on the back. It also didn’t hurt that it was a clear, warm evening.

The only complaints came from those who paid big money for VIP tickets. 

“I really like the venue in the sense that it was open and it was well organized, but for a Goo Goo Dolls fan who paid a lot of money for the VIP section, we were stuck off to the left of the stage,” said Dionne Maniaci of Sebastopol. “We had a side view. We had chairs, which was great, but we should have had a section up in the front. We paid $280 per ticket on the Goo Goo Dolls fan sight.”

As for the band’s performance, Maniaci said, “They rocked it tonight…they were really on it.”

When asked if she’d return to this venue for another band she liked, she said, “Maybe…maybe.”

The band, with original members guitarist John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac, started out in 1986 as a punk rock band but those days are long gone. There was a small minority in the audience who longed for the days when they were exclusively punk, saying the Goo Goo Dolls have sold out.

The Goo Goo Dolls, obviously unlike those scant few naysayers, have grown up, as have the majority of their fans. Seriously, how ridiculous would Rzeznik, 48, and Takac, 49, look if they still tried to appeal to a young punk rock audience? 

Thank goodness these guys no longer play to crowds where a mosh pit can develop at the drop of a hat. To those who call this band a sellout, the suggestion here would be to buy a dog or a cat, name it Life, and then they’ll have one.

The musical chops of Rzeznik and Takac speak for themselves, and on this current tour, they are backed by very capable players in Brad Fernquist (guitar, mandolin and backing vocals), Korel Tunador (keyboards, guitar, saxophone and backing vocals) and Craig McIntyre (drums and percussion).

This quintet checked all the boxes when it came to giving their fans what they wanted – performing their mega-hits “Iris,” “Name,” and “Slide.” Some of the material from their latest album, 2013’s “Magnetic,” such as “Come to Me” and “Rebel Beat” also went over big.

After the Goo Goo Dolls finished their encore, “Broadway,” the audience filed out of the venue knowing they’d seen an outstanding band that delivered the goods.

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