As an adult who grew up in the 90’s, hearing that the Goo Goo Dolls would be co-headlining with Matchbox Twenty opened up a treasure box of nostalgia. Both of these bands helped to make growing up in the 90’s wonderful kind of like cookies make milk awesome. Lakewood Amphitheater is one of my favorite venues for summer concerts. I have read tons of horrible reviews on this venue but personally I love the whole experience. It reminds me of a one-day festival because it is huge and can hold so many people on the lawn and under the pavilion. The traffic to get to the venue was a nightmare and that could be because these bands are so awesome that it was packed or that there seems to be only one way to the venue. What should’ve been a 15 minute drive turned into a 2 1/2 hour coast. I missed the opener Kate Earl, and ended up finally sitting down in the middle of the Goo Goo Dolls set. I wish I were old enough to have gone to a concert back in their prime so I had something to compare it to. Johnny and Robby lead most of the songs with vocals while the rest of the band including drummer Mike seemed to just play their part. The Goo Goo dolls have 9 albums under their belt with the 10th, Magnetic, released this year.
The crowd was a mix of fans ranging from ages 25-40 years old. These fans have been around for at least 20 years, which is pretty amazing. I loved the saxophone during “Give A Little Bit”. Things like this always make live music memorable. Besides playing their most popular songs “Iris” and “Better Days”, the Dolls dedicated “Name” to their fans. The best part was when Johnny played a wrong note on the guitar and said “I f*cked up. I never said I was a good guitar player”. Everyone laughed and cheered even louder.
I ran into some friends during the intermission who were sitting on the lawn and went to visit with them. The lawn area is general admission but I will agree with the band that said that the lawn area is the most fun because the most interesting things happen out there. Matchbox Twenty began their set playing “Disease”, while red block lighting effects were flashing in the background with images of the band. I really enjoyed the stage production of Matchbox Twenty through the entire show.
I always thought Matchbox Twenty was from Atlanta and learned recently they were formed in Orlando but spent time recording their first two albums in “Hotlanta” as Rob Thomas referred to it. I interned at Tree Sound Studios in Norcross and remember seeing that Matchbox Twenty recorded some of their music there. Thomas mentioned their deep appreciation for their fans and their memories of two of Atlanta’s iconic venues, Smith’s Olde Bar and the The Highlander.
The crowd seemed to enjoy their classic songs, “3 AM”, “Back to Good”, and “Real World”. But I was happy to see that many true fans knew the words to their newer hits “She’s So Mean” and “Radio” from their latest album “North”. One of my friends, Sylvana, was one of those life long fans who knew every word to every song they played that night. During the perfect summer song “I Will” it gave me butterflies to see her genuinely singing and swaying to the music. That is how live music is supposed to make people feel. I think Matchbox Twenty did an awesome job connecting with their fans and this is probably the reason after twenty years they can still pack out a venue of this size.