By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Sunday night was rock ‘n’ roll night when the Goo Goo Dolls performed old and new songs at the BancorpSouth Arena.
Awash in theatrical smoke and diffuse blue lights, the Dolls opened the night with “Still Your Song.”
The band followed with “Slide” from the triple-platinum “Dizzy Up the Girl” album. More than 1,300 were in attendance, and many of them stood up, danced and sang along to “Slide” with lead singer John Rzeznik.
He called the crowd “small but mighty,” and was about to start “Big Machine,” when a woman in the audience told him to “Play some music!”
Rzeznik took a few moments to give her a hard time, then said, “You know what I’m going to do after she screamed at me like that? I’m going to play some music.”
The enthusiastic crowd was primed to hear from the band, which includes Robby Takac on bass and Mike Malinin on drums.
Frank Smith, 36, and Sara Smith, 35, both of Tupelo, have been Goo Goo Dolls’ fans since the 1990s, but they’d prepared for new songs, too.
“We downloaded their latest album and listened to it today to get ready,” Frank Smith said.
His wife said she still wanted to hear “Iris,” “Black Balloon” and other Goo Goo classics that had turned her into a fan in the first place.
Benjamin Weaver of Muscle Shoals, Ala., was a blank slate for the Goo Goo Dolls. He’s 4 months old, and came along for the ride with his parents, Caleb Weaver, 26, and Jennifer Weaver, 27.
“We have earmuffs for him,” Jennifer Weaver said.
Judging by the sound system, Benjamin still got a good dose of sound.
The night opened with Ryan Star and his band. With heavy drums and screaming guitars, Star tore through “Brand New Day,” “11:59″ and “Last Train Home.”
He also acknowledged the holiday after he spotted Mississippi State students Brittany Juraszek, 22, and Christy Southerland, 21, in the front row.
Juraszek was dressed in a black ballet tutu reminiscent of the movie, “Black Swan,” and Southerland was in a pink tutu inspired by a flamingo.
“I see the interesting wardrobe,” Star said. “It’s Halloween, right?”