May 26, 1999
The Goo Goo Dolls performance at the Catholic Youth Center was a homecoming of sorts. Not for the band, but for the center. This was the first concert it hosted in “some 12 to 15 years,” according to center director Brian J. Williams.
The return of music to the storied city venue — which had hosted Sammy Davis Jr. and Johnny Cash, among many others — was thanks to Metropolitan Entertainment Group.
While waiting for the show to start, a Scranton Times reporter asked Heather Morgan and Katie McElhenney what they were looking forward to at the concert. Both girls said in unison, “We can’t wait to hear ‘Iris.’” Morgan added, “It’s probably my favorite song of theirs.”
The band took the stage and opened with “Dizzy,” which got the amassed 2,000 people excited for the rest of the show. A few songs later, lead singer Johnny Rzeznik asked the crowd to sing along with him on the band’s hit “Slide.”
“If you know it, sing it,” he encouraged. “If you don’t, pretend.”
The opening act for the night was the band Fastball. Tickets for the show cost $20.
Goo Goo Dolls’ performance served as the kickoff to the summer concert season. George Bieber, regional manager for Metropolitan, said that the band was “pleased with this site. They’re very comfortable and satisfied, which makes us very excited about this venue. We’re planning to do at least four or five more shows here, and I think this is a good omen of things to come.”
But the CYC’s revival as a concert venue was short-lived. The next show featured 3 Doors Down in November 2000. The Diocese of Scranton later announced that the longtime athletics and entertainment center would close at the end of June 2001. Later that same year, Lackawanna College began leasing the building from the diocese. Then, in April 2004, Lackawanna College purchased the CYC for $425,000. The building is now the student union gymnasium for the college.
Since that performance in 1999, Goo Goo Dolls has performed multiple times in the area, including three times at Montage Mountain: in August 2006, August 2010 and just last week, on Aug 1. The band also took the stage at F.M. Kirby Center for the Performing Arts in Wilkes-Barre in November 2002 and February 2007.
Brian Fulton has been the librarian at The Times-Tribune for the past 15 years. On his blog, Historically Hip, he writes about the great concerts, plays/musicals and celebrity happenings that have taken place throughout NEPA. He is also the co-host of the local history podcast, Historically Hip. He competed and was crowned grand champion on an episode of NPR quiz show “Ask Me Another.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9140; or @TTPagesPast