Every word smacked of his take on the woes and wonders of life and romance, as the themes of “Cheated On Me,” “In Love With a Girl,” “Young Love,” “Chariot”,
and his most popular hit, “I Don’t Want To Be,” all shined through with
crystal clarity. The music from DeGraw and his four-man band (which
includes the influences of his guitarist-brother Joey DeGraw) is undeniably pop, yet also tinged with blues and soulful vocal stylings that hint of Sam Cooke.
Following DeGraw’s set, the Buffalo-based Goo Goo Dolls—John Rzeznik on guitars and vocals, Robby Takac on bass and vocals and Mike Malinin handling percussion—hit the stage running with “Long Way Down.”
Chatter was kept to a minimum, a good thing since some of it was
difficult to decipher. When Rzeznik commented, “The thing about
Buffalo: It’s like my ass is a bar stool magnet every time I go there,”
many female onlookers asked their seated neighbors “What about his ass?”
They rocked for about 100 minutes with the assistance of guitarist Brad Fernquist and Korel Tunador on guitar, keyboards and saxophone, as the Goos rifled through their many hits, including 1995’s “Name,” their Transformers theme song “Before
It’s Too Late” and “Iris,” with Rzeznik imploring the crowd on the
latter track, “You gotta help me sing this familiar one, all right?
This is our song.” Audience members frequently attempted to record the
performance via their cell phones, but their woeful off-key sing-alongs
with “Slide,” “Here is Gone,” “Naked,” “Stay With You,” “Better Days” and “Black Balloon” failed
to derail Rzeznik’s performance. The Goos closed with a fast-paced
cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl,” as they thanked the crowd of all
ages for staying with them through the years.