Goo Goo Dolls & Michelle Branch @ Jones Beach, 7/24/2011

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I’ve been waiting 13 years for a seductive angel to give up his wings and choose a grounded life on earth, not only as a human, but one in love with yours truly. It hasn’t happened quite yet, but it has been that long since “City of Angels” brought us Nic Cage as the sultry, celestial messenger Seth along with the Goo Goo Doll’s smash hit “Iris.”

I was a teenager in love with that song, and if the too-young-to-look-at-midriff-bearing girls at Jones Beach on Sunday night are any indication of the band’s current fan base, I would say the demographics haven’t changed that much. The Goo Goo Doll’s had great energy on stage. Johnny Rzeznik was charming and funny. His voice was warm and thick like the sand on the beach after being heated all day by the blazing sun. In addition to the earlier mentioned angelic ditty, the group played all of their well-known numbers including, “Slide,” “Name,” “Broadway” and “Black Balloon.” I thought Rzeznik was a little more twangy live than on the radio versions. The more he sang the more I liked his voice. Bassist Robby Takac sang several songs as well, and his feverish singing style was a far cry form Rzeznik’s effortlessly cool composure. Movie soundtracks have continued to be a source of success for the band; Rzeznik revealed to the crowd how Michael Bay had contacted him to write a “chick song” for the latest “Transformers” movie, before playing “All that You Are.”

I was not only surprised by how many Goo Goo Dolls songs I knew, but also how many of earlier performer Michelle Branch’s songs I recognized. She was accompanied by two other musicians, one of whom she introduced as her “husband and baby daddy.” In addition to her hits “Everywhere” and “Are You Happy Now,” she played a new single “Loud Music” from her upcoming album. With her strong voice Branch kept the audience entertained, singing and strumming as the sun sank in the sky.

Five guys in their early twenties known as Parachute opened the show, and I caught their cover of The Wallflowers’ “One Headlight.” In addition to guitars and vocals, they also played the sax and keyboard and seemed to get ample applause from the audience. The atmosphere at Jones Beach is invigorating from the tailgaters grilling and playing Frisbee in the parking lot to the picturesque views of the bay, and going to a show mid-summer makes me want to beg summer to steal a few extra days from autumn this time around.

Tickets for Short and Sweet NYC were arranged for by the Fordcast Tour who had tents set up at the entrance to the theater where they were giving away binoculars, drawstring bags and coveted VIP upgrades to lucky contestants, (which is a big deal at Jones Beach, where only VIP ticket-holders have access to alcohol). As part of their Big Event in Focus, they were also showing off their new Ford Focus. I could tell you about it, or you could just see it for yourself at https://www.fordcast.com/ .

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