The 8,000 or so people in the Meadow’s Music Theater in Hartford were there to see Bush and the Goo Goo Dolls. The opening band, Madder Rose, was very good, kind of a cross between Belly and Veruca Salt, but a little heavier. The Goo Goo Dolls’ set wasn’t very exciting, but they did get quite a reaction from the audience when they played their hit, “Name.” At about quarter of ten the house lights went out and you could see four people’s profiles looming on the spacious stage. The only noise being produced was whirring feedback on the giant amps and the loud and anxious audience. All of a sudden the band ripped into their song “Bubbles” and when the spotlight found Gavin Rossdale, he began singing as he sauntered around the stage, obviously enjoying the frenzied reaction he was getting from the psyched audience. After “Machinehead,” Rossdale’s practically indecipherable British “What’s up?” echoed throughout the giant room.
Much to the foursome’s obvious delight, the room full of excited fans cheered back at the frontman and his counterparts, Nigel Pulsford, Dave Parsons and Robin Goodridge. When the band played “Comedown” and “Alien,” it was really incredible – almost a head-rush with colorful lights whirling all around. Rossdale’s desperate plea to not “come back down from this cloud” seemed to fit the atmosphere. All the other songs were spectacular as well, with paintings by Francis Bacon in the background. The supposed show-closer was “Little Things,” which was another where the crowd’s thrill just added to the overwhelming excitement of the song. After the band departed the stage, there was about a 5- or 10-minute intermission until Rossdale came strolling back out on-stage with a big smile on his face and looked up at everyone. After thanking everyone, he began playing a really incredible version of “Glycerine” on his new Fender Jazzmaster. After “Glycerine,” Rossdale played another ballad by himself called “Bound Driven,” a new song. It was then that the rest of the band returned and did an awesome version of “Everything Zen,” which is twenty times heavier live. The band closed with a fantastic cover of REM’s “The One I Love,” in contrast to their usual cover of the Clash’s “Janie Jones.”
The band is incredible, but seeing them live is just absolutely brilliant, and I think that if most people could see the intensity and power that these four can create among 8,000 people, they would receive a lot less criticism. They seem to create a friendship with the audience and work off of the emotions and excitement in the atmosphere, and the result is just really astounding.