Slice of Life

Going gaga for Goo Goo

ktanner@thetribunenews.comJuly 22, 2013 

We made kind of an odd trio there at the California Mid-State Fair concert, watching the 1990s rock bands Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty. (I can’t believe I just wrote that sentence).

Our 17- and 14-year-old granddaughters, Caitlyn and Alyssa, are of the iPod-YouTube-Fall Out Boy-Green Day era, while I grew up with 45 rpm records, the Beatles, Beach Boys and the Mamas and the Papas.

But we all adore concerts and, amazingly, we all had a blast at the fair performance. That’s one of the glories of having grandchildren: They take us out of our normal rut and expose us to experiences we absolutely would not have had on our own.

Such as? Having breakfast of strawberry shortcake on split doughnuts instead of biscuits.

Or making a “quick” stop at the Coastal Discovery Fair at San Simeon Bay and staying for 90 minutes, watching the two girls, last-minute costumed as a leatherback turtle and jellyfish, “swimming” through and enchanting the crowds, especially the kids.

So, how did we three wind up at the concert? Reviewing Sunday’s options, including the fair, I mentioned Goo Goo and Matchbox. The girls’ eyes got big and round.

“No way!!! We LOVE them! We want to go!” they said in unison, proving their point by showing us a well-played, commercially produced Goo Goo CD in their own collection.

The groups had formed before Caity and Lys were born, but their dad (our son Sean) enjoys the music, and the girls grew up with it.

Gotcha. Decades earlier in my childhood, my father was a professional musician and my mother a jazz critic, so not only was I raised with “their” music, I loved it and knew many of the musicians.

So, at the fair concert, Caity, Lys and I weren’t a mismatched set after all. Hey, I even knew some of the words to sing along.

The girls rocked out, played high-speed air guitar and took a gazillion pictures. I enjoyed the sheer exuberance, energy and entertainment skill of the Goo Goos, and the musicianship and raw, evocative emotion of Rob Thomas and Matchbox Twenty.

I also people-watched — I suspect some of those writhing 30- and 40-something fans needed a chiropractic visit the next day.

Here’s Caity and Lys’ take on our improbable evening:

Caity said, “I’m a huge music junkie. I’ve grown up listening to my dad’s playlist, including Goo Goo Dolls and Matchbox Twenty. So, I was ecstatic having them paired in a concert.

“The news made me and my sister jump up and down and run around singing random lyrics from our favorite songs. I even created a playlist specifically for this concert. I was beyond ready to scream the lyrics at the top of my lungs (my sister took embarrassing videos — thanks, Lys!).

“Goo Goo Dolls opened with ‘Last Hot Night,’ with bassist/singer Robby Takac and lead singer John Rzeznik energetically entertaining the crowd, commanding the stage and using every inch of it. Fortunately, our seats were pretty good.

“The songs that definitely got the crowd going were ‘Slide,’ ‘Rebel Beat,’ and, of course, the classic ‘Iris.’ The band even engaged the crowd in sing-alongs (including flashing the lyrics to some of Goo Goo’s newer songs).

“The number that got to me and my sister, however, was ‘Better Days,’ which Rzeznik opened with, ‘This one’s for everyone who needs a little help.’

“The Matchbox Twenty opening definitely got the crowd wild. Thomas displayed excellent energy and was highly interactive with the audience.

“About three songs in, he turned to the crowd and said, ‘we’re all gonna spend time together. We can’t ever get this time back, so let’s make the best of it.’ And so we did.”

Alyssa recalled, “I even made the connection between the concepts for Matchbox Twenty’s ‘She’s So Mean’ and an All Time Low song, ‘That Girl!’”

The stage went black, but after prolonged foot-stomping and screaming by the enthusiastic audience, the band came back out for a three-song encore.

The girls agreed that both bands provided an excellent show and a wonderful performance overall. “We’re so very glad we went. Thanks, Grandma, for sharing this experience with us!”

And, perhaps inspired by the fun his family had at the fair concert, Caity and Lyssie’s father Sean and stepmom Kim made plans to see the Goo Goo Dolls/Matchbox Twenty concert in Concord Tuesday, July 23.

Reporter Kathe Tanner's "Slice of Life" column appears biweekly. Follow her on Twitter at

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