Tag Archive: Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo Dolls + Uncle Bob @ 02 Academy Birmingham, 11th November 2010

Review for Birmingham Live!

Tonight it’s off to the 02 Academy to see The Goo Goo Dolls – an American rock band formed way back in ’86, from Buffalo, New York. I can’t say I know a massive amount about them, besides THAT song, which has somehow managed to sneak into the list of my favourite tracks. So tonight will be interesting, as I go with no expectations at all. (Beside the fact they play THAT track!)

The Goo Goo Dolls are promoting their new album “Something for the Rest of Us”released a couple of months ago. The band lineup consists of original members: lead singer John Rzeznik ( eye candy for the ladies) and Robbie Takac (guitar) with Mike Malinin (drums) joined by touring members Brad Fernquist and Korel Tunador.

I have yet to be convinced by the new Academy. Probably partially because of spending way too many hours in the former Hummingbird (in both incarnations) and knowing the best places to stand for a gig. So tonight is another attempt to learn to love it as a venue.  One thing I find annoying is that it you do not stand in the middle of the venue, you get distorted sound, and in this case limited vocals. It was the second song before the sound began to even out slightly.

The songs are good, listenable, middle of the road AOR, think Nickelback, Stone Sour ( in ballad mode) and Creed. In fact, I found myself singing Creed’s ‘With Arms Wide Open’ on more than one occasion.

The Goo Goo Dolls are recording breaking and a Grammy nominated and winning band. I’m sure in the States they play large venues. But here in the UK playing to a just over half full venue, in what must seem to them, the back of beyond, where most people only know THAT song, and possibly a couple of your other ‘hits.’ Must be pretty soul destroying for a band who have been around since the mid 80s and have seen others, pass them by in the success stakes, and are clearly still trying to get a break

The audience were appreciative, but not exactly blowing the roof off, and later in the set, when the guitarist tried to get the audience clapping, barely half made the effort. They were talking.  And waiting. For THAT song.

On four songs, the lead guitarist took on vocal duty. A tad bizarre, as they scooted into sounding like Blink 182, with Rzeznik quite happy to play lead. He’s an unassuming front man, great vocals, the guy with the looks and comes across as kinda shy with it.

And then they played THAT song. The crowd lifted and sang ALL the words. And it was only then the band came alive. “Iris” is 12 years old from chick flick smooze movie ‘City of Angels’. It is a classic indeed and the performance did make the hackles stand up on the back of your neck. Everyone sang along (and no doubt half the bar staff did too).

“Iris” was last song of the main set, then off and back on for the encore. But the audience had heard what they came for, and had started to leave. “Notbroken” was, as Rzeznik explained, a song about a conversation between a couple split by the Iraq war. Powerful stuff and a good song. But the audience had heard what they wanted to hear – “They should have played ‘Iris’ in the encore” a punter was heard to say on his way out the door.

Shame, the Goo Goo Dolls are clearly talented. And probably, in a different world, a great band. But luck fell with others to take the spoils. If you love THAT song, they are good enough to listen to for an hour, just to get 4 minutes of class.

******************

Set list included: Better Days, Big Machine, Slide, Dizzy, Here is Gone, Can’t Let It Go, Let Love in, Stay with You, Name, Iris;  From the new album:  Notbroken, Home, Nothing is Real.

******************

Listening :

The Goo Goo Dolls, Greatest Hits, Volume 1” [2007]

“Something for the Rest of Us” [2010]