I bought this CD/DVD set without the intention of even watching the DVD that came with the pack, just buying it for the live CD concert; the Goo Goo Dolls have been my favorite modern rock band since the day I heard "Name," the smash that really got them noticed off of 1995's A Boy Named Goo album, which spawned hits like "Naked" and "Long Way Down." But the Goos have had a diehard fan following way before "Name" even hit the airwaves, where their Superstar Carwash album spawned a lot of underground favorites for fans that were into their punk beginnings; personally, I am a fan of their more modern work, and I have even assembled my own "Greatest Hits" collection on a CD-R of which I collected what I feel are my favorite Goo songs in order of when each hit single came out.....and I cleverly dubbed it Dizzy Up The Goos: Best of the Goo Goo Dolls (the band does not have an "official" Greatest Hits as of yet).

Their last studio effort, titled Gutterflower, has released three major hits, "Here is Gone," "Sympathy" and perhaps the most stirring Goo Goo Dolls track to date, "Big Machine," which deals with lead singer Johnny Reznick's divorce situation which was hard on him. His vocals on this track are raw and bitter, and they are evidenced through the lyrics: "Swallow all your bitter pills, thats what makes you beautiful.....you're all a lie.....I dont need what you aint got."

Of course, their most popular album was the smash Dizzy Up the Girl from which hits like "Slide," "Black Balloon," "Iris" and "Dizzy" were launched.

When I saw this CD/DVD set sitting on the rack in a local Circuit City, as a fan, I had to have it. The only drawback is that the concert doesnt contain one of their best hits --- "Long Way Down" believe it or not. I have played the CD countless times in the car since having it, but tonight I sat down with the DVD and was mesmerized. This was a great concert, filmed over one night on July 4 of last year in a pouring rain storm in Buffalo, New York, where the band hails from. And they kept playing in the rain for the fans.....it was quite an awesome concert.

The following track listing corresponds to the CD version as well, in terms of what the band played and in what order during the concert:

Give a Little Bit Studio Version (ON CD ONLY)
Big Machine
Think About Me
Tucked Away
Black Balloon
Cuz Youre Gone
January Friend
Here is Gone
What a Scene
Acoustic #3
Two Days in February
Give a Little Bit

By opening with "Big Machine," the Goos set the stage for a rockin concert, with Johnny Reznick's haunting voice belting out the bitter lines from this song which you can tell he takes to heart very much. Inbetween, there are the usual breaks from the band, with comments to the crowd, mostly thanking them for coming out in the weather; this is a band that seems most devoted and thankful to their fans. I wish I would have known the Goos were playing in Buffalo last July 4th; I would have definitely gone to this concert instead of being stuck at the fireworks party with my stupid ex at her stupid friend's house.


The concert defaults to a full screen presentation which looked fine to my eyes, especially considering there was a great deal of rain the cameramen had to work around. Before the rain started falling, the colors on the disc were sharp as one could expect from a live video recording, and this one was a gem in that regard. The camera angles for the band were fine, showing Robbie and Johnny as they belted out the guitar and vocals, as well as the backup members of the band on drums, percussion and secondary guitar. And, as with any concert, there were many crowd shots, depicting females and males singing and dancing along to these familiar tracks; unfortunately, this is no Def Leppard or Metallica concert, so we dont get any chicks lifting up their shirts (although it MUST have happened at some point during the night).

This was a strange part of the concert disc to analyze because it simply wasnt labeled correctly; when you access the concert's language selection menu, it lets you select from "DOLBY SURROUND" or "DOLBY 2.0" which are the same thing; what they MEANT to say in the first selection was "DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 SURROUND" because when you select that first track, the concert drops into a full 5.1 surround mix. And THATS the one you want to listen to; crowd roars are appropriately put to the surrounds and really makes you feel as if you're at that concert, even moreso than Metallica's S&M. What I found very interesting was that JUST like a movie in Dolby Digital 5.1, this concert's audio doesnt really heat up until later in the track selections --- much like it usually takes a movie that has been encoded in Dolby 5.1 to develop into later scenes in order for the audio to get really going. And so it was for this Goo Goo Dolls concert in 5.1.

Reznick's voice sounded clean through the center channel with enough amplifier power behind it, and the whole band just sounded great in 5.1 surround; as I said, most effective was the crowd ambience through the rears and just all around you --- this really sounded and felt like you were at a concert, the way a good concert DVD should be mixed. Bass was on the shallow side, even when cranked, but this isnt a bass-heavy modern rock band; the drums indeed thudded through the midrange drivers of my five speaker setup --- mainly, of course, from the front three drivers --- but there was an obvious lack of sub bass. No worries. Once just under half the concert passes, this Dolby 5.1 mix picks up steam and really gets going, with crowd noise around you, rocking vocals and nice echo from the band hitting into the surrounds.

Bottom line? This was just a concert DVD that sounded like....well.....a concert DVD! BONUS CONTENT included behind the scenes video and exclusive audio commentary from the band.

Again, this is a great must have for fans of this band; the two discs are packaged in a typical looking two CD case, with one side holding the CD and the other the DVD, and is well worth the price if you enjoy the Goos' music. The CD is great for car duties, while the DVD should find a place at home. It was simply a very cool concert to watch, especially when the rain began falling as it added an atmosphere for the band as they cranked out their hits. As most fans will complain about their favorite groups in live performances, some tracks did not sound as good as others live and I preferred the studio versions; these included "Dizzy" and "Naked"; both of these weren't rendered that great during this live concert, and I much preferred the studio versions.

But I can recommend this CD/DVD set to any fan of the band; a definite good purchase.