Goo Goo Dolls at the Pablo Center

Post-COVID-19, the Pablo is ramping things up

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022


The Goo Goo Dolls are taking their new album — plus some of the hits — on tour, starting in Eau Claire on Friday, Oct. 28.

The Pablo Center opened in September 2018. Less than two years later, it shut down for 18 months alongside much of the live music industry.

The three-time Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls are coming to the Pablo Center on Friday, Oct. 28 as a part of their fall tour, according to Robby Takac, bassist and founding member of the band. The tour is paired with a new album release and amidst a return to live touring. 

The band’s new album, “Chaos in Bloom,” is indicative of the times the world was living in during the pandemic, Takac said.

“I think it really looks into some of the pressures folks were feeling,” Takac said. “Everybody lived it in their own way.”

According to Takac, the Goo Goo Dolls went to a remote studio in Woodstock, New York, where they enjoyed freedom and time to record the album they wanted to make.

“I don’t think we would’ve made a record like this if we weren’t in that situation, quite honestly,” Takac said. “Just in the middle of the woods, we spent a couple of months out there by ourselves, with a couple of engineers. We hadn’t done that (before).”

The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in 1986 in Buffalo, New York. Since then, the band has seen, toured for decades, sold over 15 million records, and had “Iris,” one of their biggest hits, top 1 billion streams on Spotify.

According to Takac, over the band’s nearly four decades in music, finding its sound was a process.

“The first couple of records, we barely knew how to play,” Takac said. “We were just trying to be as loud and melodic as we knew how to be. Record by record, we learned to play a little better and find power in places other than speed and volume and screaming.”

The Pablo Center is on its own journey back from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Jason Anderson, executive director of the Pablo.

“Back then (pre-pandemic), the Pablo Center really wasn’t on the map yet. It was a brand new building, a brand new organization,” Anderson said. “Rescheduling throughout the pandemic and then booking this season, we’re becoming more known out in the industry.

This season, Anderson said, the Pablo is gaining notoriety within the music industry. Successful visits from artists like the Goo Goo Dolls lead to more acts coming.

Big acts — like the Goo Goo Dolls on Friday, Lindsey Buckingham on Monday and more — aren’t just beneficial to the Pablo. Downtown businesses, like The District across the street, reap the spoils of packing the Pablo, according to Drew Johnson, a server at the District for the last year and a half.

“Anytime there’s a big show going on across the street we’re almost guaranteed to be fully booked,” Johnson said. “This is great for us because we get a lot of people coming from out of town to spend money in our city.”

Takac said one of the best parts of touring is coming to cities like Eau Claire.

“It’s a new experience every night,” Takac said. “I think it’s good to be able to step back and, and appreciate. I think some people forget to do that sometimes. This life can get really crazy.”

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].