Goo Goo Dolls

Rock City, Nottingham on Mon 24th Feb 2020

Goo Goo Dolls made a welcome return to Nottingham, or more specifically Rock City as part of their “Miracle Pill” tour.

Fans of the band had willingly parted with the best part of thirty-five pounds to purchase tickets to have the pleasure of catching a band that in the grand scheme of things don’t really dominate the UK music charts. Despite the cost of the tickets, Goo Goo Dolls had managed to sell out Rock City, therefore they must be doing something right.

Initially formed in 1986, the Goo Goo Dolls over the years have had band members leave, so the current line-up consists of  lead vocalist Johnny Rzeznik and Bassist Robby Takac as the only original band members.

goo Goo Dolls

Lead vocalist Johnny Rzeznik and the band bounced onto the stage like a possessed billiard ball, creating a wave of energy through the audience as they opened the set with “Indestructible” taken from their current album “Miracle Pill”. In lightning quick succession, the fans had their senses pleasured with “Home” and “Slide”. Goo Goo Dolls appeared to be firing on all cylinders and clearly had turned up to deliver the goods.

It is always an interesting experience looking around the audience at a Goo Goo Dolls gig because there is always a proportion of the audience who are clearly there just to hear “Iris” and they are easy to spot as they don’t seem to know any of the other songs, whereas the rest of the audience are in attendance to appreciate the brilliance and incredible song writing talents of the Goo Goo Dolls.

Johnny Rzeznik sounds incredible live, even after almost 34 years of singing, his voice seems to have improved unlike some other vocalists who have deteriorated over the years.

The music is brought to life when the band play live and herein lies my only minor criticism of the Goo Goo Dolls, there seems to be a huge difference in how they sound on recordings to how the music comes across live. In a live venue, their music is incredible, engaging, exceptional, inspirational, and emotional. However, on some of their recordings this does not come across. Some of the guitar solos on their records don’t have the same intensity as they do live. (I’m guessing that the guitar notes are the same on the recordings as they are live, so it’s not because they are playing different music).

 The band were on tour to promote their current album “Miracle Pill” and both Johnny and Bassist Robby were fully aware that some of their fans might not know the new material, so Johnny told the audience “If you don’t know this, pretend that you do” in a light-hearted manner.

Their new material was entwined expertly in-between their older material, leaving you with the feeling that they would obviously like you to buy their “Magic Pill” album but didn’t come across as shoving it in your faces all night.

Long-time member of the band Robby Takac (Bassist) at times took to the microphone to sing some of the songs throughout the evening. Robby has a completely different style of singing; he has a more rock music orientated way of delivering the vocals, so they are more punchy and faster than Johnny’s delivery. Both styles add to the melodic anthems that Goo Goo Dolls are so clearly the masters of.

The only other downside for a band that has had such a long career in the music industry is that they won’t be able to please everyone due to time constraints and the huge back catalogue of albums that they have recorded. Goo Goo Dolls certainly made a great effort to include tracks from each of their albums including a couple of songs from their album “Superstar Carwash”.

If my memory is correct, the band had manage to squeeze in tracks from “Dizzy Up The Girl”, “Magnetic”,  “Gutterflower”,  “Something for the rest of us”, “A Boy Named Goo” and “Boxes” as well as “Let Love In”. That is no easy task when only having around 90 minutes for a set.

Goo Goo Dolls had managed to treat the fans to 22 of their songs, in a set which contained no gimmicks and just the odd little bit of talking to the audience. This is clearly a band who believe their live performances should be all about the music, and let’s be honest, when you have that sort of high calibre song writing ability and musicianship, then you don’t need gimmicks.

It goes without saying that they played their biggest hit “Iris” as the penultimate song of the night. Even after 22 years, “Iris” is performed with such passion and intensity that the band make it look like this is a song that they have only recently wrote. (Maybe in the back of their minds they are thinking, oh not this song again!). The fans lapped it up, singing along and gently swaying their lights from their mobile phones from side to side.

The band brought the night to a close with “Broadway.” Despite the sell-out crowd chanting for more, the band did not return for an encore.

Once again, the Goo Goo Dolls set the bar high when it comes to playing live, no gimmicks, no tricks, just relying on their music to do the talking for them. Leaving the fans feeling good and high almost like they had taken a Miracle Pill.

article by: Luke Seagrave

photos by: Luke Seagrave

published: 25/02/2020 13:53


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