Goo Goo Dolls: Park West Chicago

I do not believe in coincidences. Also, I like to believe that we make our own luck. Sometimes our good efforts work out. Other times, they do not. Certain circumstances are meant to be as they are. So, when I could not get a ticket for the Goo Goo Dolls concert at City Winery in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood for April 22nd, despite calling during the pre-sale period the minute phone lines were open, I WAS BUMMED! Tickets blew out in less than 1 hour.

I allowed myself a few minutes to suffer the blow. I took solace in knowing that I did have a ticket to see the band this August when they return to Chicago’s Northerly Island with Daughtry and The Plain White T’s. Then, I put my name on City Winery’s “Wait List” and forgot about it. About a week and half prior to the show at City Winery, I came home late after a fun Saturday night out with friends and checked my e-mail messages which is completely out of character for me. There I saw it. A mysterious e-mail message I almost deleted because I did not recognize the sender. But somehow, my finger, as if having a mind of its own, clicked it open anyway. Coincidence? I think not.

The message was from the management of Park West in Lincoln Park, announcing that the Goo Goo Dolls switched venues from City Winery to Park West and additional tickets were being released, as Park West is a larger venue. Since I was on City Winery’s “Wait List,” I was among the first people to be notified before the general public. Sure, I helped make my own luck by being on the “Wait List” but on any other day, I would have not checked my e-mail messages so late at night, especially on a Saturday. I phoned Park West immediately before they closed just to make sure the message was legitimate. It was! As it turned out, I was meant to see the Goo Goo Dolls in April after all…just not at City Winery.

There was no time to waste and it was much too late to phone my friends to see if they could or would join me. So, I promptly purchased 1 ticket for myself on-line.

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I love live music. It’s a part of my religious “holy trinity.” I see a lot of concerts with friends but, often, I go by myself. I cannot imagine missing out on seeing my favorite musical artists simply because no one is able to join me or they are not interested in the concert. The Goo Goo Dolls show at Park West was just such a solo event.

Park West is an intimate, general admission venue which was perfect for this particular Goo Goo Dolls tour entitled The Otis Midnight Sessions. It was an acoustic show which featured songs off of The Goo’s latest album, MAGNETIC, as well as an array of songs from their previously successful albums. They opened the show with “Sympathy,” closed with “Iris” and returned for an encore of “Become.”

I had a prime, dead-center view of the stage from the bar area where I sat perched on a barstool, a bit higher than the rest of the audience. All the better to see Johnny Rzeznik’s stunningly beautiful face! The entire performance and cozy venue had a vey close and personal feel to it like the Goos were singing just to ME…in my living room. Alright, I know. I have a very active fantasy life. So what? I won’t apologize.

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I was so impressed with the opening band, Run River North. They are from L.A. I believe there are six members who play a variety of instruments from guitar, to violin, mandolin, funky percussion and tambourine. Their music is a folksy, rock blend with a modern edge. Original material is awesome and they performed an incredible, almost unrecognizable, stripped down cover of “Mr. Bright Sides” by The Killers. I am a new fan and I cannot wait to dig into the rest of their music.

The Goo Goo Dolls are one of those rare bands that have been around for almost 30 years. Since they are my age, I have been listening to them from the time they started as a punk band. Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac are the two original band members. Drummer Mike Malinin joined them nineteen years ago. It has been incredible to watch them grow and evolve as artists over the years. They always seem to be on tour, not just when a new album drops. That choice really keeps them humble and connected with their fan base. The Goos sound just as great live as they do on their many albums. Also, they are incredibly generous. At Park West (and I believe throughout this acoustic tour), they invited Run River North to share the stage with them about half way through their performance for not one but several Goo songs. Wow! They all sound great together. Their harmonies and blend of instruments were truly memorable. It was then that I realized having 9 or 10 musicians on stage was probably the reason behind the change of venue from City Winery to Park West!

Park West Stage

Enjoy the YOU TUBE videos from the show in the link below.  Unfortunately, my pictures did not come out so great.

The Otis Midnight Sessions acoustic tour just ended. Both the Goo Goo Dolls and Run River North put on such a phenomenal show. I would like to thank the universe for nudging me to check my e-mail messages that late Saturday night weeks ago, so that I could enjoy such a wonderful concert with one of my favorite bands even though I was flying solo.

For more information about the Park West venue, visit


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