Article by: Sabrina Miles // Photos by: Wendy Podmenik Darugar
Virginia Beach, VA — Once the stage went dark, only one sound could be heard, that of a lonesome instrument – a stand up cello. The lights went up, and Phillip Phillips invited us all to “Stand up and dance with us!” which was, of course, a reference to his song, “Dance with Me.” He began to play his guitar with a very unique strumming style, all the while, blending into the stage sets with his boyish good looks, charming smile, and inviting voice. It was in this manner that Phillips started his intimate performance, clad in a blue striped shirt and jeans, while he immediately commanded the attention of everyone in the arena. His second song, “Gone, Gone, Gone” from his The World from the Side of the Moon album released in 2012, was met with screams and cheers from his enamored crowd. The newest song that Phillips has released as of this date, “Miles” was greeted with loud cheers and immediate approval. The night continued in this manner, as every fan sang along to every song, and danced and swayed in response to the music that was being given to them, as if each one was a special gift from Phillips himself. Although the arena was large, Phillips and his band made their show feel as intimate and as close as if it were in a small café on a Sunday afternoon. When the cello’s resounding melodies, the guitars’ echoing harmonies, and the drum’s final strike faded, the audience reluctantly allowed the band to exit, following their final bow.
The stage lights faded to black. Teaser music began blaring from the huge speakers that hung from the rafters. Then the crowd experienced a single and resounding bass chord that multiplied their anticipation. Then, finally, Craig MacIntyre began an electrifying performance on his drums that signaled the beginning of the show, and the crowd erupted. Suddenly the stage exploded with lights and fog with the the vision of Robby Takacs’ barefooted and explosive stage presence that was not unlike AC/DC’s Angus Young. In what appeared to be a deliriously happy response to all of theatrics, the crowd was up and out of their seats, dancing and singing along with every word. Quite notably, the most endearing quality that John Rzeznik exhibited at that time was that he was able to talk to the crowd while he continued to sing. The band continued to perform one hit song after another, to the delight of everyone within earshot of the band. The Goo Goo Dolls, who got their name in a rather humorous way, (from a commercial they saw one night of a new toy called The Goo Goo Doll) came to entertain their loyal fans in a way that most other bands are not able, and they did not disappoint.
Not only was the musical performance a stellar one, the light show that accompanied it was phenomenal. When the use of lighting in a production are able to evoke strong feelings and emotions just as the music itself does, it makes for an evening that is hard to forget. The Goo Goo Dolls put on a performance that was far and beyond a typical concert performance. It would be safe to say that the band, the fans, and all others who were in attendance at the concert this evening, walked away with feelings of happiness, community and positive energy.