The Long Way Home Summer tour came to The Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing Aug. 6. The Goo Goo Dolls headlined the tour with special guest Phillip Phillips acting as the opener. The venue held both a large crowd of teens and post-grads alongside a large middle-aged group.
In 2012 Phillips, known for his acoustic, soulful sound, was the winner of season eleven of American Idol. He has released two albums since his win, “The World From the Side of the Moon” in 2013 and “Behind the Light” in 2014. His most recent single “Miles” was released this year. As the sun set, Phillips shared his excitement over his completed third studio album and finally being able to play some of his new music for the first time.
The date of the album has not been released due to legal drama with his previous record label, but it is predicted to have an early 2018 release. His standout performances from the set were “Raging Fire,” “Gone, Gone, Gone” and his breakout hit “Home,” which he closed the show with. There were two additional guitar players who both performed featured solos, which broke up the set really nicely.
As the sun set completely, the Goo Goo Dolls did not take the stage until around 9:15 p.m. Originally formed in 1985, members Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac are a passionate duo. Takac came out without shoes on and did not stop jumping around for the first few songs with his guitar. Rzeznik, on the other hand, stayed still with the microphone and portrayed a cool confidence.
The atmosphere was uniquely romantic — the crowd was peaceful and fully embracing the harmonious music. Incredibly intricate lighting sets made up of bold, saturated, contrasting colors made each song especially unique and memorable. Their lyrics drip of love, honesty and remorse, easily hitting a soft spot for listeners.
Playing an impressive 22 songs, they seamlessly flowed through decades of hits. While their popularity has gone up and down over the years, each album has provided quality music for fans. Opening with a song “Use Me” from the new EP “You Should Be Happy,” Rzeznick wanted to point out the importance of giving new music a chance. When he announced that they were about to play a song from the new EP, the crowd reacted enthusiastically and Rzeznick thanked everyone saying, “We know it’s always the temptation that when a band plays new song that a lot people don’t know, the instinct is to leave and grab a beer or something.
“This might be the best song that you’ve never heard in your lifetime. How are you going to know if you’re not here for it?” Their performance did not disappoint and different members of the crowd appeared to have personal favorites while blissfully enjoying the entirety of the set. Their music has grown and matured over the years, but has always maintained a distinct sound and stayed true to their original aesthetic.
A peaceful, hopeful show was exactly what the city of Philadelphia needed on Aug. 6. Standout performances included “Come With Me,” “So Alive,” “Iris,” and their encore performance “Boxes.” The set time flew by — I was shocked to realize it had already been two hours after the encore performance. The crowd was in a deliriously meditative state and left the show with smiles on their faces, refreshed and ready to take on the upcoming week.