O.A.R. in concert 2023I am still tired after staying up late on a weeknight to see the Goo Goo Dolls perform at a sold-out Huntington Bank Pavilion last night. If you have not been to this Pavilion, know it is a wonderful venue next to Lake Michigan on Northerly Island in downtown Chicago. The breeze from the water on a hot summer night is the perfect accompaniment to good music. And the concert delivered plenty of good music.

O.A.R. opened the show with a 90-minute set worthy of any headliner. Before the show, I had not listened to much of their music, but I am now a fan. Their brand of melodic power pop was perfect for fans of the Goo Goo Dolls, who headlined the evening's show.

Goo Goo Dolls in concert 2023I know The Goo Goo Dolls for their combination of rockers, ballads, and anthems, and they played them all this evening. Lead singer/guitarist John Rzeznik is the heart of this band. His voice, energy, and songwriting make the Goo Goo Dolls what they are, and he showed it this evening. Rzeznik has impressive range and stage presence, which allows him to hold the audience without much dialogue between songs. Bassist Robby Takac sang lead on some songs. They were fine, and his enthusiasm elevated the material, but he could not match Rzeznik's voice and song choice. Rzeznik and Takac form the heart of the Dolls and have been with the band since its inception in the late 1980s. Their current touring lineup brought energy to the show that delighted the audience.

Near the end of the set, Rzeznik invited O.A.R. lead singer Marc Roberge back onstage to perform with him a cover of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down," which O.A.R. and the Goo Goo Dolls recently released as a single.

The show ended without an encore, the band choosing to extend their set instead without walking offstage. They finished strongly with their big hit, "Iris," as the audience sang along to the chorus.

I was home late and woke up early, and it was worth it!