’90s alternative rock was in full force as Matchbox Twenty and Goo Goo Dolls brought their co-headlining tour to San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center. The two bands are currently touring the US and Canada, bringing their old radio hits and some new music to many cities. Both bands hit their popularity peak around the same time in the late ’90s and were staples of alternative radio, so touring together seems a natural fit. The crowd at the arena was a bit small on the Wednesday evening, but the attendees were still loud and enjoyed the live music.
Goo Goo Dolls opened up the night with familiar front man John Rzeznik belting out hit after hit. Songs like “Iris” and “Slide” are very familiar, but hearing them live was a new and satisfying experience. The band still has a visible passion for performing and playing for the crowd. Bassist Robby Takac seemed just plain happy to be on stage and watching him rock out was amusing. Deep into their summer tour, Goo Goo Dolls sounded tight, and a new song from their 10th studio album Magnetic called “Last Hot Night” was a booming standout.
Matchbox Twenty took the stage after the Goo Goos and played a long set filled with tons of hits. Singer Rob Thomas was animated and full of energy, reminding the crowd that we were going straight back to 1996. The band has had so many radio hits that the setlist felt almost like karaoke with the whole audience singing along. As with Goo Goo Dolls, Matchbox Twenty’s backing musicians were super polished, with guitar players Paul Doucette and Kyle Cook trading swells and solos.
Matchbox Twenty are also touring behind a new album, called North, and they played several songs from the new release. A track called “She’s So Mean” stood out thanks to its modern twist on the classic Matchbox Twenty alt-rock sound. The band did not disappoint with its setlist choices, and the crowd stayed right through the end to sing every word of “Push” until the last note.