The staff here at Twin Cities Media was working over time this weekend. Our team was spread out around the cities covering everything from Guns N’ Roses and Ryan Adams to Flordia Georgia Line & The Backstreet boys and just about everything in between. One event we couldn’t miss however was The Goo Goo Dolls Long Way Home Tour at the Hilde Performance Center in Plymouth! For those who haven’t been to the Hilde Performance Center before – be sure to check out their event calendar and make your way out there before the summer is over. The amphitheater stage over looks a rolling grassy field with ample room for setting up some lawn chairs or sprawling out on a picnic blanket. The Hilde also features plenty of food trucks and tents with fairly reasonable priced beer and wine. A cool summer evening at the Hilde was the perfect setting to catch the Goo Goo Dolls.
Opening up the evening was Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter Lydia Liza. Some more dialed-in music fans might have recognized Liza from her days as frontwoman of Bomba de Luz. Since the Bomba de Luz days, Lydia Liza has been playing a solo slew of shows around the Twin Cities. Liza – armed with guitar and her rock-solid vocals, kicked off the evening with a short but sweet set. Her set featured all original tracks – with plenty of bluesy guitar, crooning vocals and her signature sugary sweet whistling sprinkled throughout. Liza joked about the outfit that her aunt helped picked out for this set. She commanded the 4,000 person crowd with ease. Thanks to Liza fans at the Hilde got a taste of some great local talent situated alongside the national headliners.
After a lengthy intermission, Phillip Phillips took to the stage. Phillips has been touring all summer long with the Goo Goo Dolls on their massive, multi-city tour. To say that Phillips has come a long way since getting his start of American Idol more than five years would be an understatement. Phillips has gone one to enjoy mega-success with his smash-hits Home and Gone – both of which he performed at the Hilde on Saturday. The crowd was clearly enjoying every minute of Phillips bluesy/country, feel-good set. Unfortunately the sound got a bit lost in the open air field so it was hard to hear some of his banter further back in the crowd. Phillips is one of those artist that would be awesome to see at a great local venue such as First Ave or Fine Line. Despite some sound issues, that didn’t stop the crowd from dancing around in the grass with phones in the air. We hope to see Phillips back in the Twin Cities plenty soon!
Setlist: Man On The Moon / Don’t Tell Me / Gone / Trigger / Miles / Home / Magnetic/Raging Fire / My Name
After two solid openers and plenty of intermission time to grab a drink – the main act of the evening. Taking to the stage shortly after 8:30 was The Goo Goo Dolls with massive lights and a bigger sound. Whatever the sound issues from Phillips set must have gotten figured out because these guys absolutely blew the (figurative) roof off the Hilde. The Goo Goo Dolls have been doing this for nearly three decades – and it shows, in the best possible way. Frontman John Rzeznik’s vocals are flawless – they translate live nearly identical to the recordings, if not better, something pretty amazing for a band that has played thousands of live shows over their career. They kicked off their set with a few newer tracks before jumping into “one I know you all know,” in Rzeznik’s words Slide.
Listening to Slide I found myself more emotional that I’d like to admit. The Goo Goo Dolls hold a place as one of my earliest musical memories. I have sweet memories of listening to The Goo Goo Dolls on CD in the kitchen with my mom. I so distinctly being about five or six years old and watching my mom in the kitchen while Dizzy Up the Girl played from my parent’s massive stereo system. Hearing this live was an experience I won’t soon forget.
As I sat in the back of the Hilde watching The Goo Goo Dolls perform song after song that just about every person knew the words to – I couldn’t help but be reminded that this is truly a band that has stood the test of time. They know that too, “thanks for this relationship we’ve had over the years,” Rzeznik said a few times throughout the set. “We’ve always had a special love of your guy’s city. We use to come to town and sleep people’s couches. And no one knew who we were. We would play at bars for 40 people,” he went on. “I think the first time we played this song in Minneapolis was maybe down at The Entry,” Rzeznik said before playing Name.
As the set came to a close I couldn’t help but think of all the little bands I’ve seen come through the Entry and who might be playing to massive crowd like the Goo Goo Dolls. The genuine love of their craft and the energy from The Goo Goo Dolls is something to be admired – something I hope more bands take notes from. The Goo Goo Dolls clearly still love what they do after all these years, and we love listening.
Setlist: Tattered Edge / Home / Slide / Big Machine / Over and Over / So Alive / Black Balloon / Lucky Star / Free Of Me / Here Is Gone / Use Me / Come To Me / Name / Already There / Bringing On / Flat Top / Acoustic #3 / Better Days / Broadway / Long Way Home / Iris / Boxes