Yesterday's chart toppers prove they've still got it
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No, these two bands aren't the newest names in alternative rock. Yes, each has a middle-aged front-man. And yes, these two seasoned rock groups can still fill an outdoor amphitheater to capacity and prove that they are anything but "past their prime." Though their popularity may have peaked a decade ago, both acts brought devoted fans to their feet.

Smirnoff Music Center in Dallas was shaken at its foundations Saturday night as The Goo Goo Dolls and Counting Crows delivered a spectacular joint performance that pleased a packed house spanning the demographic spectrum. Parents, children and "twenty-somethings" alike were all singing along to the bands' high-energy sets.

Goo Goo Dolls' front-man Johnny Rzeznik and the Counting Crows' Adam Duritz not only reminded fans of what made them famous a decade ago, but provided assurance that they are still here and far from finished.

Showcasing their new album "Let Love In," the Dolls opened their set with the high-energy rock anthem "Stay With You," tapping into the expressive and stirring sound that resonated through the band's '90s hits. With such a lengthy list of fan favorites, the anticipation by the crowd exploded into deafening cheers as Rzeznik strummed the well-known acoustic intro to the ever-popular "Slide," as well as delivering near-perfect performances of their classic acoustic-electric ballads "Black Balloon," "Name," "Here Is Gone" and "Iris."

Indeed, the live performance of "Iris" was powerful and poignant, with instrumentals alluding to the sounds of a full orchestra and convincing even the toughest critics that the Dolls know how to write songs. The Dolls closed with three singles off the new album, "Better Days," "Let Love In" and "Give a Little Bit." Obvious themes of hope and humanity flowed through the lyrics, themes continued and elaborated upon by the Counting Crows.

The Dolls did a great job of balancing their set with the best of the old and new while staying true to their original sound. They saw no need for variation, nor did their adoring fans. On the contrary, the Counting Crows' absence of new material prompted Duritz to stray from the original recordings and develop new arrangements of hits such as "Anna Begins," "Mr. Jones" and "A Long December."

While the Crows may be 13 years removed from their multi-platinum debut album, "August and Everything After," and recording no new studio album since 2002's "Hard Candy," the band definitely knows how to deliver their best to the crowd and showcase its eclectic sound.

Duritz transformed the crowd favorite "Round Here" into a crowd-marveling, 10-minute epic. The highlight of the Crows' performance, the song had Duritz singing so passionately he seemed to forget where he was at times.

Lost in his own lyrics, it was difficult to take your eyes off him; a quick scan of the crowd displayed a wide range of reactions, from fixed stares to gaping jaws to actual tears. The atmosphere created an appropriate platform for advocacy, taking the opportunity to promote the Goo Goo Dolls' USA Harvest and raise awareness of issues such as HIV/AIDS, domestic abuse and the need for community volunteerism.

The two bands proved that time has not slowed them down. Quite the contrary, they're better than ever. Long-time fans were rewarded for their devotion, and any passive concert goer who wasn't a fan before, is now.

Source: SMU Daily Campus

Author: Lesli Benefield

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