Thursday November 11th, 2010
It’s been four years since we heard anything new from the Goo Goo Dolls – obviously not counting its greatest hits compilation released in 2008. Not many bands can boast over 20 years in the biz and yet maintain some sort of mainstream edge. This is something that the Goo Goo Dolls can do and not only have they survived but they have adapted. The latest album from these New York rockers, The Rest of Us, is supposed to speak to those that are starving for lyrical prose and well-polished musical ability without all the trickery, lights and stage antics. And in a way, this tour that is currently rolling through the UK is the physical manifestation of the Goo Goo Dolls overall approach to their musical art.
The entrance of the band was lacking in theatrics with the exception of some sampled noises and random audio snippets. They opened with the first track of the new album, Sweetest Lie. The song was a powerful introduction to this band’s ability to still rock out massively. Unfortunately, the audience seemed to hold back slightly. I immediately thought that if I was in America right now…I would be caught up in a wave of clambering, screaming girls in their late-20s. Maybe we’re just too sophisticated for that now?
The band maintained some gusto especially from bassist, Robby Takac, jumping about on stage and the dreamy, John Rzeznik, somewhat restricted to behind the mic.
Slide, Dizzy and Here Is Gone were introduced as “old songs” and immediately took me back to my high school days when the Goo Goo Dolls dominated the US charts and had proved they weren’t just a “one hit wonder”.
Takac took control of the vocals for the next couple of songs which harkened back to the Goo Goo Dolls’ heritage in New York punk-revival. This was followed by another trip down memory lane with Black Balloon.
Rzeznik finally emerged from the mic stand, addressed the crowd and introduced another new song, the first single off the recent album, called Home. It was the kind of song that, as a girl, made you wish he had written it for you – “Come take me home tonight – Come take me home – Oh I need you now – I’m lost without you – A million miles but I will find you – So take me home”.
More awesome tracks including Better Days and Stay with You preceded another interlude of bass on vocals. I didn’t recognise the tracks but it was in a similar vain to the previous spot filled by Takac where punchier punk dominated over poetic rock.
There was a bit of quaking from the girls in the front row when Rzeznik started in on the intro of quite possibly their second biggest hit, Name. His voice was just plain sexy with just that touch of whiskey vocal. The music was so tight that you could close your eyes and just think you were listening to the CD.
Let Love In ushered in some semblance of audience participation with some unison clapping followed by another new track, As I Am which was let down a bit by some poor sound levels.
There was a slight delay before the epic first few chords of Iris reverberated through the venue. Again, the British audience displayed respectable, reserved appreciation for this track. So what I was expecting to be the big finale was slightly anti-climatic by the audiences’ lack of enthusiasm. There was a bit of sing-along but it came only as a result of concerted effort from the band.
The band re-emerged for a two song encore including another emotional outpour in the form of Not Broken and a classic Goo song, Broadway.
Words by Juanita McGowen.
pictures provided by Mark Howell.
A large variety of Goo Goo Dolls music is available at zavvi.