SAN FRANCISCO — The Goo Goo Dolls’ sound is is so affiliated with ’90s alt-rock that it might surprise the uninitiated that the Upstate New York band’s 1998 breakthrough album, Dizzy Up The Girl, was their fifth LP. Frontman John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and their bandmates at the time released their first record in 1987. The band had hits prior to Dizzy Up the Girl, yet it was that album that pulled the Goo Goo Dolls into the national consciousness, selling 6 million copies and going four-times-platinum, with five top 10 singles including “Iris” and “Slide.”

Rzeznik and Takac, the only members left from the 1998 version of the band (Mike Malinin, who played drums with the band at the time, left in 2013), brought the Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary Tour to the Fillmore Tuesday for a sold-out show at which they played the record in its entirety and dug up some much older tunes, B-sides and other hits. The Goo Goo Dolls played for more than two hours and showcased a catalog that spanned much more than 20 years.

Dizzy Up The Girl composed the first part of the performance, with Rzeznik and Takac and their three touring musicians kicking off with the propulsive, woozy “Dizzy,” seminal hit “Slide” and “Broadway,” with its well-worn grooves. On all but the first 60 seconds of the show opener, when the band seemed to be either out of tune or not in-sync with each other, the songs retained their studio quality. They, along with “January Friend,” “Black Balloon” and others were a bridge to the past, with Goo Goo Dolls not deviating from the versions that fans fell for in the beginning. The band played in front of a floor-to-ceiling, gold-framed album cover.

Rzeznik didn’t talk much at first, making a few stabbing attempts at the evening’s news—”Looks like the Democrats are gonna take the House!” which drew mostly cheers but a few scattered boos as well. “Someone booing that here is like finding a unicorn,” he quipped, adding how he doesn’t mess with politics anymore because both parties lie.

The fans sang the first verse on “Broadway,” and Takac sang lead on “January Friend,” the first of several. During hit “Black Balloon,” a handful of fans released black balloons, which would remain aloft for the remainder of the set. The frontman and bassist have a similar type of gravelly voice perfectly suited for ’90s alt rock, with the bassist’s a bit heavier. Not all of the album’s songs were hits, of course, and there was a bit of a lull between “Black Balloon” and the slowed acoustic pace of the appropriately titled “Acoustic #3.” That stretch of lesser-known songs, all upbeat rockers, could have passed for Soul Asylum tracks, especially when Takac handled vocal duties.

Rzeznik introduced the layered, intricate “Acoustic #3” as a really depressing song. The folky tune, awash in a sea of ’90s reverb, got the packed crowd moving again.

“You guys are cheering depressing music,” the frontman said.

That led into the theatrically dramatic “Iris,” on which the guitarist played a mandolin intro. The musicians perfectly recreated the song’s guitar solo, and fans belted away to the chorus. The set ended two songs later with album closer “Hate This Place,” after which the band cleared the stage, and a crew unceremoniously ripped the album cover from its frame, which was disassembled and carried away in pieces while Muzak played over the speakers.

Rzeznik then emerged by himself with an acoustic guitar for three songs: “Better Days,” off 2016’s Let Love In; “Sympathy,” from 2002’s Gutterflower; and “Come to Me,” from 2013’s Magnetic. He first talked about how a tour like this reminded him why he hasn’t played some songs in 20 years, implying that he’s botched a few performances along the way. Though he stumbled a bit on “Better Days,” he laughed it off and kept going. This stripped-back arrangement worked really well and was one of the highlights of the concert, along with the hits. Every note rang our clearly, alongside his gravelly voice, creating a nice change of pace from the first portion of the performance.
The rest of the band then returned for another eight or so fully electric songs, including “Fallin’ Down,” “Lucky Star” and “Stop the World,” which had  a soulful organ breakdown midway through. Rzeznik then introduced the next song as “the first song that I ever got played in the radio.” He spoke about how the band wrote its first hit, “Name,” off 1995’s A Boy Named Goo, in a stuffy attic in Buffalo.

Click the link for photos!

Pure Grain Audio – Goo Goo Dolls @ House of Blues (Boston, MA) on October 17, 2018 [Photos & Show Review]

By Nathan Katsiaficas

The Goo Goo Dolls have been mainstays of American alternative rock for two decades now. In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of their ground-breaking album, Dizzy Up The Girl, the band has been touring across North America playing the record in full as part of two sets performed for their diehard fans. We caught up with the run as it made its way to a sold out House of Blues in Boston, MA on Wednesday, October 17th.

The queue to get into the venue that night stretched all the way down the street and wrapped around to the next one. As such, the band delayed their start a bit to allow every fan lined up to get in. And it showed–the venue was completely packed. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the venue so full! The crowd was a mix of lifelong fans and those who were familiar with the big hits. At last the Goo Goo Dolls emerged, with the cover of Dizzy Up the Girl hanging as a backdrop. The Goo Goo Dolls took stage and opened with the track “Dizzy.” Frontman John Rzeznik took some time to address the momentous record being celebrated on the tour, exclaiming, “This tour is both exciting and sad. It’s exciting because it means the music has held up, but also I’m really old!”

The rest of the first set was comprised of the remainder of the record, from start to finish, but tracks “Slide,” “Broadway,” “Black Balloon,” and “Iris,” elicited the biggest responses from the crowd. Rzeznik didn’t shy away from interacting with the exuberant fans, applauding a woman in the front row at one point for knowing all of lyrics to the songs, which he joked proved helpful for when he inevitably forgot the words. He also wasn’t afraid to call out bad behavior, saying to one concert-goer who had been on his phone since the start of the performance, “I applaud you sir for coming out to a concert that you clearly don’t want to be at and probably paid for.”

Following this with an anecdote, “My wife, who is Latina, dragged me to see Enrique Iglesias. I absolutely didn’t want to go, but by the end of the night I was a fan boy! I found myself yelling ‘el guapo!‘ The point I’m trying to make, sir, is it’s a learning experience. You need to open your heart because I’m about to play a song that I know you probably won’t like.” The crowd erupted with laughter at this, cheering Rzeznik on as he proceeded to strum the opening notes to “Black Balloon.”

The second set began in a slightly cringeworthy, yet hilarious way, with only Rzeznik and a wheeled video screen on stage. Rzeznik began by talking about how bands often bring famous guests on stage, but quickly stated how he “hates famous people because they are all obnoxious and annoying.” He then turned on the video screen to introduce the crowd to their only famous friend, which in a strange plot twist was just a pre-recording of Rzeznik himself.

The two Rzezniks’ bickered for a short while in scripted banter, with each one upping the other until finally (the real, not recorded) Rzeznik yelled at his recorded self, “If you really want to go there I can tell everyone how you pissed the bed until you were 15!” The video screen Rzeznik quickly said, “Let’s just play the song!” The two Rzeznik’s then played acoustic duets of the songs “Better Days,” and “Can’t Let It Go.” After the two songs bassist Robby Takac came onto stage and began to hassle Rzeznik (real) saying “I see how it is, you send all the other band members off stage to just play with yourself!”

The second set would go on to contain fan-favorites from the albums, Let Love In, Hold Me Up, Superstar Car Wash, A Boy named Goo, Something For the Rest of Us, Boxes, and Gutterflower. It was a perfect representation of the Goo Goo Dolls past and present. They closed out their set with their first big hit, “There You Are.” The Goo Goo Dolls closed with an encore of “Big Machine” and “Flat Top.” You can catch them on their special tour celebrating 20 years of Dizzy Up The Girl through November 10th. The remaining tour dates are below!

Remaining Tour Dates:

11/01 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
11/03 – Seattle, WA @ The Paramount Theater
11/08 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
11/09 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
11/10 – Las Vegas, NV @The Joint


Twin Cities Media.Net – The Goo Goo Dolls Thrill Fans At The State Theatre

By Markus Akre

Show biz and real life share one common question that Janet Jackson asked in a song: “What have you done for me lately?” With many bands touring to celebrate albums that were released years ago, it raises another question. Are fans in the mood relive their past glory days?

It has been 20 years since the Goo Goo Dolls’  album “Dizzy Up The Girl” was playing non stop on many radio stations. The State Theatre was sold out and the crowd reflected the wide appeal the Goo Goo Dolls still hold.  The majority of the audience were couples who might have had their first date at one of their shows, but the next generation was well represented as well (so were fellows in brewery shirts and baseball caps).

As the lights dimmed, everyone in the crowd go to their feet even before the first note rang out. The intro was interesting – a deep drone with flashing lights – not what I expected. “Dizzy” the first song of the set made it seem like no time had passed since the band’s heyday. Everyone in the crowd was singing along – even the techs at the sound board who see this show every night. John Rzeznik paused after the first couple of  songs thanking fans and said that the 20 year anniversary of the album left him both proud and at the same time amazed at how old he had gotten.  He also mentioned being quite high on cold meds. There was an easy in his interaction with fans that I don’t recall from past shows. It added a good vibe on top of the nostalgia.

He jokingly mentioned that they had not played many of the songs in a long time. After the first set the Goo Goo Dolls returned for a second set featuring their hits. It started slow with Rzeznik performing the first two songs acoustic. In the end fans were treated to 24 songs. The audience certainly had a good time. Other than a couple of all ages shows, this was by far the most energetic crowd have seen at the State Theatre.

So are fans in the mood for some nostalgia? Well, in case of the Goo Goo Dolls, that question was answered with a resounding “Yes” last night.

Set List:

Set 1 – Dizzy Up The Girl: Dizzy \ Slide \ Broadway \ January Friend \ Black Balloon \ Bullet Proof \ Amigone \ All Eyes on Me \ Full Forever \ Acoustic #3 \ Iris \ Extra Pale \ Hate This Place

Set 2 – Hits and Deep Cuts: Better Days (solo) \ Sympathy (solo) \ Fallin’ Down \ Lucky Star \  Stop the World \ Name \ So Alive \ Notbroken \ Another Second Time Around \ There You Are

Encore: Big Machine

The Georgetown Voice – The Goo Goo Dolls Dizzy Up The Anthem With Their 20th Anniversary Tour

By: Mary Shannon Tompson 

Dizzy Up the Girl may have been released in 1998, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the look of the crowd that filled the venue. Standing in the middle of The Anthem, I was in front of a middle aged couple, next to a group of twenty-somethings on a girls’ night out, and behind a man that looked to be in his sixties, each of them equally eager for the show to start. I could sense the timelessness of the music before the band even took the stage. The crowd’s anticipation was infectious, as everyone waited to hear live music they had been hearing through headphones for 20 years.

The stage set up was simple: a huge framed copy of the Dizzy album art that features a girl lying on a bed, her piercing stare turned towards the viewer and her iconic pink boots up in the air. During the first set, different patterns of light, corresponding to the song, were projected onto the photograph, combining the classic image with a new, high-tech twist.

The concert was split up into two sets. The first half consisted entirety of the album Dizzy Up the Girl, in order of the its tracklist. There were no strategically placed #1 hits to draw the audience back in, no planned slow songs to calm the crowd. The band relied on their album planning from 1998, letting the music speak for itself. And it worked.

The opening song of the album, “Dizzy,” sparked energy in the room, preparing the crowd for “Slide,” one of the Goo Goo Dolls’ most popular songs. The crowd sang and danced  along with abandon, almost drowning out the band itself,

As the first chords of “Black Balloon” rang out, black balloons descended onto the audience from the stage, and floated above the crowd for the remainder of the show. Fans put their hands in the air to show their absolute awe. People around me closed their eyes as they sang, trying to absorb the emotions radiating from the song, which tells the story of a man trying to save his lover from her heroin addiction.

“Acoustic #3,” one of the Goo Goo Dolls’ less well-known songs on the album, captivated the audience. A hush fell over the crowd. This was one of the few songs from the album to which few people danced or sang. The stage lights went down, and the only sounds in the venue were the haunting strum of an acoustic guitar and Johnny Rzeznik’s voice.

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. With the very first notes of “Iris”—a song written for the soundtrack of ‘90s romance movie City of Angels, but has since taken on a remarkable life of its own—thousands of individual voices became one.“And I don’t want the world see me/ ‘Cause I don’t think that they’d understand/ When everything’s made to be broken/ I just want you to know who I am.” The lyrics speak of a deeply personal struggle, but one that perfectly captures a universal human experience. Everyone from the married couples, to the 18-year-old girls, to the people who were actually old enough to be rock fans at the time of the song’s release sang the lyrics freely. The chorus was repeated many times, and each time the room became more invested in the song.

After a brief intermission, the band played a second set that began with a part-music, part-comedy bit, during which frontman John Rzeznik joked and sang with a life-sized video recording of himself. The music quality was consistent with the first set—Rzeznik is undeniably talented—but the bit felt gimmicky. He opened with “Better Days,” one of my personal favorites outside of Dizzy Up the Girl. The performances that followed, including “Can’t Let It Go,” and “Two Days in February,” were musically flawless, and when the rest of the group eventually joined Rzeznik on stage to complete the set, the crowd’s attention returned after the initial confusion caused by the video bit. Although the second set was somewhat unnecessary, it did not invalidate the spectacular first set, which truly showcased the band’s unbelievable talent.

The Goo Goo Dolls’ Dizzy Up the Girl 20th Anniversary tour represents the incredible power of music to unite people. Music like Dizzy brings us together, even 20 years later, to laugh and jump and sing and dance. It has no specific demographic. It only has an undeniable energy that makes people listen, and a timeless honesty that makes them stick around. The genuine, universal emotion imbued in every performance makes Dizzy relevant to all. It’s music that never goes out of style.


Billboard – Goo Goo Dolls on the 20th Anniversary of ‘Dizzy Up the Girl’ & Plans for 2018 Album

by Gary Graff

“We’re doing all these old, old songs on this tour, and it’s been fun,” Goo Goo Dolls’ Johnny Rzeznik told the crowd at the Fillmore Detroit at a recent stop on the group’s trek celebrating the 20th anniversary of its multi-platinum Dizzy Up the Girl album. “But,” he continued, “I’ve gotta be honest — I really want to go home and write some fucking new songs.”

Rzeznik and bandmate Robby Takac are doing just that, in fact, with plans to release a follow-up to 2016’s Boxes next year.

“We’re working on it right now,” Rzeznik tells Billboard. “We’re both working on stuff; We probably have half of the album written. We’re going to start putting it together soon, maybe early next year — January or February.” Rzeznik does have a few conditions for the Goos’ next project, however.

One is finding “one producer who can kind of mastermind the whole thing with me,” according to Rzeznik. That will be a change from the multi-collaborator approach of the group’s last few albums, but while he’ll continue to write with others Rzeznik doesn’t want a committee to be in the room this time. “I love the collaborators I work with, but this time I just want something to tie it all together,” he explains. Rzeznik adds that this time he’ll also “put a time limit on how long it’s gonna take me to do it. When we go in the studio, it’ll be, like, eight weeks from downbeat to the final mix. I want the band to play live, all together, which a lot of people don’t do anymore. But I want that feel with a live band again.”

Right now Rzeznik and Takac are still working out who that producer might be — as well as where the 12th Goos studio album will be recorded. “I’m trying to find a weird studio,” says Rzeznik, who lives in New Jersey these days. “There’s one in Asbury Park and one in Long Branch that are awesome, so hopefully we can get into one of those and bash this out.”

Before that, however, the Goos will continue their Dizzy tour, which runs through Nov. 10. The quintet is playing the album in its entirety, with a second set that includes a three-song Rzeznik solo acoustic set and a selection of deeper cuts over the course of two hours. “Somebody brought it up to us, and it was like, ‘Let’s do a show in Buffalo, one in New York, one in Chicago and leave it at that,'” Rzeznik recalls. “But then, of course, the booking agent and the manager were like, ‘Why don’t we do a whole tour?’ and, y’know, I can’t resist a tour, so it was like, ‘Let’s do it’ and I sat down with my laptop trying to learn a few of the songs I literally haven’t played since we were in the studio trying to get ’em down.”

Rzeznik says the 20 years since Dizzy “feels like, ‘Wow, that went by so quick.’ I mean, we were working. We were all working really hard and keeping going and everything. I’m really proud of that and record; Listening back to it there’s a few spots I wish I could change, but whatever. All in all I’m pretty proud of it. And that was an important record for a lot of people, not just us. For a lot of people, that was THEIR album, for whatever reason.”

Dizzy, of course, followed the Goos’ first big hit, “Name,” and cemented the group’s transition into the pop mainstream. Rzeznik recalls a bit of apprehension about how it would be perceived but feels the results were worth it. “Any time you do something different you’re running the risk of, ‘Am I gonna lose what I have?'” he says. “But you’ve got to take that risk. When we recorded ‘Iris’ for City of Angels, that orchestra came in and started playing and Robby and I looked at each other like, ‘I dunno, man…We’ve turned a corner and there’s no going back. Are you cool with that?’ ‘Yeah, let’s go…’ I really sort of developed this attitude of, ‘OK, I can’t think about the outside world at all.’ It scared me, but it didn’t stop me. You can be afraid if you want, but you’ve got to keep going. That’s just the way it is.”



There’s something innately familiar about a Goo Goo Dolls show.

It might be that their songs are bred into the DNA of anyone with a radio in the late 90s and early 2000s.

But, it might also simply be front man Johnny Rzeznik’s voice.

From one of the best first lyrics, “and I’d give up forever to touch you,” to even the quick “yeahs” he’d yell into the microphone between verses, his voice is its own instrument in the band’s beloved sound.

That familiarity only further lent itself to this tour, which was in honor of the 20th anniversary of their 1998 album, “Dizzy Up the Girl.”

“I’m f**king old,” Rzeznik said with a laugh, going on to say that people ask why they don’t just play some new shit.

But first – like anniversary tours that have come before – they played that album in its entirety for the first half on the sold-out show at the State Theatre in Downtown Minneapolis Saturday.

The tribute to the staple alt-rock album was not lost on the audience from the first song in, as the driving rock and response-worthy, back-up vocals within “Dizzy” kicked off the night.

But almost too quickly, the first “hit” of the night arrived, and the nostalgic triplet-esque opening riffs of “Slide” started. While he sang out about sliding into rooms, running away and getting married, the sounds of every instrument on stage were also married perfectly: the drums behind a sound wall weren’t overbearing; the two guitars complimented each other well; the keys provided wonderfully glittering backing riffs to the rock bops.

Bassist Robby Takac then took over lead vocals for “January Friend,” keeping everything aligned with the original recordings. While his voice is admittedly more punk and less crooning, he was no less a lead man with the sheer energy he had when bounding around stage or triumphantly throwing his fist in the air after each song.

Now back to the main front man, it would be a good time to mention that Rzeznik, himself, said he was “very, very high on cough medicine” onstage. But between occasional coughs, his vocals were seemingly flawless, so no one would’ve known.

Well, that is, apart from his monologue rants.

“I feel like one of those mumble rappers,” he said, wiggling all 10 fingers in the air. “Do you know what those are, you old people?”

He even went on to explain, PSA style, what “purple drank” is and why jolly ranchers are involved…

But despite any of these tangents, they just kept on playing through the 13 tracks of the album, and “Acoustic #3” was one of the highlights of the latter half, as Rzeznik said he wrote it with his mother in mind.

Then, it happened. A collective sigh could be felt when the beginning notes of the mandolin in “Iris” rang out. From the belting chorus and the heart-tearing verses, every word was sung along by everyone in the theater. During the solo breakdown, the band was even backlit with white lights, which gave the small theater a stadium feel.

It was a moment that, at its very essence, was pure nostalgia. At this point in their careers, the band must know it’s a moment concert goers look forward to, and the song did not disappoint.

A few songs later, Rzeznik was onstage alone with his guitar as he told the room that “this was one of the cities that opened up its arms to us before the rest of the world.”

After briefly chatting about how he thinks the world has changed, every opinion will always upset someone and that times were simpler, he then broke into (aptly timed) 2006’s “Better Days” and “Sympathy,” which is four years its senior.

His strong voice again shined as he played through his cold, as he has no problem playing with just his guitar. His incredible songwriting could just even more clearly be seen.

After playing so many hits, however, there was a bit of an energy lull for the next few tracks before “Name” brought it back again, and the show ended a handful of songs later.

But all in all, the tour stop was primarily a nod to “Dizzy Up the Girl,” which brought the Goo Goo Dolls into the musical forefront of the time; The night was evidence that the band perfected the art of the driving, heartfelt rock of the 90s and 2000s.

Their music has continued on since then, but the nostalgia trip was much appreciated at the State Theatre Saturday night.



October 26, 2018
GGD-2 Steph Wetzel
Assistant Features Editor

The Goo Goo Dolls performed last weekend at Shea’s Performing Arts Center. Their album “Dizzy Up The Girl” was the focal point of their show and of the entire tour. They played the album from top to bottom to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

The Goo Goo Dolls attract a very specific crowd. The majority of the people there were middle-aged with a very specific style including leather jackets, ripped t-shirts, gaudy jewelry and dark makeup. Coming to The Goo Goo Dolls’ show brought out the older crowd’s younger side and they were able to act like millennials for a night. They were taking selfies before the show started, and when the band entered the stage for the first time, nearly every person whipped out their phone to take pictures and record the band.

After singing a couple songs off the album, lead singer Johnny Rzeznik said a few words to the crowd. “Nice to be home again,” he said. They never fail to mention that they’re from Buffalo whenever they perform here, whether it’s at Darien Lake or another venue.

Rzeznik also pointed out that he recognized some members of the crowd. “I seen some faces that were here last night,” he said. “Thanks for coming again.”

The band again acknowledged that this was the 20th anniversary of their album “Dizzy Up The Girl.” They explained that it’s something they’re proud of because of how popular the album was and even still is. However, they said they’re sad it’s been twenty years because that just means they’re getting old.

They performed the song “Acoustic #3,” a song that Rzeznik claimed he never finished. This song reminds him of his mother and the unhealthy relationship she was in. They had violinists performing for this song. Rzeznik messed up the beginning of this song and had to start over, yet the audience cheered even louder.

They also performed a song they wrote during the recession of 2008, “NotBroken.” Whenever the band would play an older song not from the album “Dizzy Up The Girl,” they would hear the audience singing along and would thank them for remembering that song. When they performed “Iris,” Rzeznik held his microphone towards the crowd, and the crowd shouted the words perfectly.

Later into the performance, Rzeznik pointed out that he doesn’t have a lot of famous friends, particularly because he doesn’t find them to be kind people. However, he wanted to have a special guest perform with him. This “special guest” was a pre-recorded video of himself displayed on a screen. One would play the guitar while the other would sing and vice versa for a couple songs. The whole bit was ironic and meant to make fun of himself. The crowd was all about it, laughing along with Rzeznik.

They also performed some of their other hits including “So Alive” and the band’s version of a Christmas song “Better Days.” When performing “So Alive,” Rzeznik again aimed his microphone at the audience claiming he was told he’s not good at engaging with his audience. He was trying to get the audience into the song while being sarcastic about the whole situation. The audience didn’t fail to sing along, just as they didn’t fail to enjoy the entire concert.



By Gary Graff ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com

DETROIT — Johnny Rzeznik was, by his own admission, a bit dizzy as the Goo Goo Dolls celebrated the 20th anniversary of its multi-platinum “Dizzy Up the Girl” album Thursday night, Oct. 25, at the Fillmore Detroit.

“I’m so (expletive) high…I think I’m hallucinating,” the singer and guitarist told the crowd early in the show — not from rock star indulgence but from medications Rzeznik was taking to overcome a respiratory infection that postponed the Fillmore show from its original Tuesday, Oct. 23, date and caused the cancellation of Wednesday’s concert in Grand Rapids. “Do I sound like I’ve got a cold — ’cause my hair hurts.” he asked later.

The leather-jacketed Rzeznik was, in fact, feeling limited pain throughout the two-hour show. His between-song patter that rambled a bit more loosely than usual as he waxed about divorce, couples therapy, the state of the world and the recent political bombing scare — even tossing a lyrical reference to the latter into “Better Days” — and good-naturedly rejecting fan requests for particular songs. He also shouted out Detroit’s longtime support of the band and remembered an early show at the now-defunct Blondie’s — and the rough neighborhood around the club.  Rzeznik struggled at times and even cut two songs from the planned set list, but his declaration that “my voice sounds like s*** tonight” was a bit overstated.

The good news was that in presenting the Goos’ “Dizzy…” album in its entirety, Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and company had plenty of singalong help from the Fillmore crowd, which bolstered performances of hits such as “Slide,” “Broadway,” “Black Balloon” and “Iris.” The presentation — in front of a large, framed version of the album’s cover that hovered behind the band — also gave the quintet a chance to haul out less-celebrated album tracks such as “January Friend,” “Bullet Proof,” “Amigone,” “Extra Pale” and “Hate This Place,” all exuberantly performed and enthusiastically received.

The Goos, currently between albums, used the rest of the show to continue the dive into its past, including a welcome four tracks from 1993’s “Superstar Car Wash.” Rzeznik — who stopped the show during “Lucky Star” while Fillmore security tended to a young woman who passed out near the front of the stage — also played a three-song solo acoustic set that included “Better Days,” “Can’t Let It Go” and “Sympathy,” while a ringing rendition of 1995’s “Name,” the Goos’ first bit hit, offered a totem of the group’s transition from bratty punk to polish pop.

The latter was particularly showcased with a late-show rendition of “So Alive,” an anonymous contemporary pop track from 2016’s “Boxes” that stood out — not favorably — against its more substantial setlist neighbors. A rushed encore of “Big Machine” notwithstanding, it was a special kind of show, something Takac noted “we may not do…again” and that was well worth waiting a couple of extra days to see.


A photo set from the show can be found here:


By Kara Love

My dad introduced me to music. He loved The Beatles and Vietnam War protest songs. Something else he loved? The City of Angels soundtrack, specifically “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. Having only heard “Iris” and “Name” (off their previous album ‘A Boy Named Goo’), I almost immediately fell in love with Goo Goo Dolls. My first copy of ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’, released in 1998, was played in my room, my parents’ cars, and everywhere I walked (thanks Walkman)!

Twenty years later, I can still sing along with every track. For me, returning to ‘Dizzy’ is like going home – with all the warmth and sadness I’ve come to associate with that. So imagine my reaction when I read the email that asked if I would like to interview John Rzeznik, lead singer and guitarist of Goo Goo Dolls. Hint: I cried. Like, a lot.

After taking a few days to compose myself, I was able to speak on the phone with Rzeznik about their “Dizzy Up The Girl 20th Anniversary Tour”, the importance of family in shaping our lives, and bands he thinks we need to be listening to.

I feel like the meaning of songs can change overtime. Something you may have connected to a personal memory back when you wrote it, might feel different to you now that you have extra perspective on it. Is there any song from the album that you feel differently about now?

Wow, that’s a good question. I think I kind of understand them from a different point of view, yeah. Sometimes when I’m writing a song, I have no idea what I’m writing about. But things are rolling around in my head, and sometimes things just sound really cool… and then the meaning will reveal itself at a later date. I think I really had a moment with “Acoustic #3” when I was playing it in the context of the album, where I realized I had written that song for my mother. I just had this weird feeling when I was playing it, sort of like it really captured her life in a certain moment. You know, she had a hard time and a lot of disappointment. Sometimes you use music like medicine.

Kind of like a written form of therapy?

Yeah, kind of.

You lost both of your parents at a pretty young age. Have any of your other songs from later albums come through to you in a moment of “Oh, this is about my parents?”

Definitely there were other things. The topic of my father’s alcoholism is sort of thinly veiled in a couple songs. I find myself writing now, lyrically, about what it’s like to be a human being in an incredibly confusing world that seems to be getting more unfair and confusing all the time. I worry about what kind of world my daughter’s going to be left in.

You have a two year old, right?

She’s almost two.

Almost two. What kind of music is she into?

I play Michael Jackson for her. And I like playing her 70’s soul and pop, like Gloria Gaynor. That kind of stuff, like disco music. She bobs her little butt up and down [with the music.]

That’s so cute!

She’s adorable.

You’re about to play 3 nights in Buffalo, your hometown. “Broadway” was originally written about how it was kind of a decaying town. Everyone was moving, the jobs were moving, and it was kind of a bleak picture. How do you feel about Buffalo now? Has it improved?

Buffalo is going through an enormous renaissance. When I wrote that song, it was pretty bleak there. But it’s reinvented itself; it’s prospering. It’s beautiful. It’s someplace where I would be perfectly content living for the rest of my life… but I live in New Jersey.

[Laughing] “I would like to live in Buffalo, but I don’t.”

[Laughs] I would love to live in Buffalo, but my wife’s mom lives with us and she does a lot of the heavy lifting with my daughter. I want my daughter to have that family.

Is your wife’s mom a Jersey girl?

She’s from Argentina, so she speaks Spanish to the baby. She doesn’t speak English to her, only Spanish. The baby just loves her. She’s an important person in our lives, and we love her very much.

I think it’s great to have multiple generations taking care of children.

I agree. My family lives in Buffalo; we’re always flying them down or flying up there so that my family gets represented pretty well in the situation too. I want Lily to know my sisters because they’re really smart, but they’re also like a tribe of women. I want her to have a big tribe of women to teach her everything. My sisters are very smart and they’re very, very funny. I think that they’re going to be a really good influence on her. [pauses] Or a really bad influence, but that’ll give her character.

So, Goo Goo Dolls has had music featured in numerous movies and TV shows, but obviously your most famous is… [dramatic pause] “I’m Awake Now” from Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.

That is not the most famous one. [laughs] Wow.

I know, I know, it’s “Iris.” But I was wondering, since it’s October – in the spirit on Halloween, what’s your favorite scary movie?

My favorite scary movie? I’ve gotta think… Well what I consider scary, I can’t watch slasher movies or Halloween-type movies. The kind of movies that scare me are like documentaries about the financial collapse. That’s my idea of a terrifying movie. Anything that affects the real world terrifies me.

That’s too scary for me to watch.

Yeah, see. See? Who’s scared now?

[laughs] So you like to force yourself to watch documentaries about how bleak everything is?

Anything that promotes a fit of anxiety and motivates me to work harder, I’m in. When Lily was born, I said two things to myself right there as they put her in my hands for the first time, “One, don’t fuck this person’s life up. And two, you better work way harder than you have been.” And those are my two rules.

I think those are great rules. I have daughters of my own, and that’s how I try approach it. I need to make this world better for them.

Like what they’re going to be dealing with… I don’t know. It certainly has forced me into the person I should have been all along. Where like I used to be slack about things… nope. Gotta make that bed in the morning, gotta shower!

In an interview with Billboard this summer, they asked what you were listening to. Personally, I love pretty much everything you listed: Atlas Genius, Fitz and the Tantrums, Arctic Monkeys. A lot of our readers are interested in finding new artists that haven’t been broken yet. So I wonder, what are some artists who you’re listening to that we may not have heard of yet?

There’s this really kind of hypnotic rock music [from] this band Small Black that I really like. And a band called Day Wave, which I think in the next couple years are going to do something really special. I love it; it’s got this very liquid sort of feel to it. Very like… swirling, and reverbs, and delays, and things. And the voice is very breathy. There’s also a guy and a girl called Oh Wonder.

Oh, I love Oh Wonder!

Yeah, I really love them. It’s sappy, but I love it. I love the purity of the recordings. It’s them; it’s just them. I dig it, but I’m a sap for a good love song.

So, you haven’t touched some of the songs on this album since the time it was released. You said you’re feeling more [emotions] about “Acoustic #3”, you’ve made that connection with your mom’s life. Is there a song that, as a band, you’ve all really had fun revisiting?

There’s a lot of songs. There’s a song called “All Eyes On Me” which is really like this rock epic. I wanted to write a rock epic and was like, “I’m doing it! I’m gonna write this in three parts. It’s gonna be a big deal.” And I did that, and it was cool.

I’m very excited to see it [live.] It’s almost like a concert in two parts, so you’re playing straight through the album and then you have special treats at the end of it like different singles. Do you have any new stuff that you’re working on that we’ll hear?

Nooo, no no no. No. Never bring a new song out that people haven’t heard before. It could be the greatest song you’ve ever written, but if people don’t know it they’ll go, “What the hell is that? Why are they playing that song? What is that?” So I learned the hard way not to play new material in front of people.

Well maybe I’m one of the few people that disagree. I’m excited when I hear something new.

[laughs] Well, you’re in the minority.

The Goo Goo Dolls are on the road for several more weeks in support of Dizzy Up the Girl’s 20th anniversary, catch them in your city! Full list of tour stops and tickets can be found here.



Live Music Reporter Devon Seaman had a one on one phone interview with John Rzeznik, the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls.

D: Alright, so you guys have your 20th anniversary tour for the album “Dizzy Up the Girl” coming on.

J: Uh huh.

D: And how’s that been going?

J: Um, every show has been sold out. Most of them are sold out I think, but I think there are still some tickets left for Kansas City. It’s been a lot of fun to play these smaller shows for our really hardcore fans.

D: I do have to say that you’re fulfilling a high school fantasy of mine just by talking to me today. (laughter)

J: Thank you. I appreciate that.

D: So a little bit about the album. If ever there were an album to represent the sound of the late 90’s pop rock, you definitely made it.

J: Thank you very much. I appreciate that.

D: I feel the show is not only going to be geared towards people of my generation, but also the younger generation.  It timeless music.

J: I’m actually surprised to see some teenagers and some in their early twenties showing up at these shows. You know, it’s exciting.

D: How did you come up with the name for the album?

J: “Dizzy Up the Girl?” Well, I’m going to tell you, the honest to God truth. I was driving…. (sound of a baby heard in the background) oh, you got a little baby!

D: Yeah, he’s playing in the back. Sorry.

J: No, that’s awesome! I love kids! Um, I was driving down a street in Los Angeles and I was just rolling down the road and I hit a speed bump and my whole car just went “ba-dum-boom-boom-boom-boom.” And literally that title it just like popped out of my mouth. Right at that point. That’s how I got the title for the album.

D: So it was your exclamation? (laughter)

J: I was like “dizzy up the girl!….what’s going on here?” Now that’s literally how the title came into my head. I rolled over a speed bump and, you know, it jarred it loose. (laughter)

D: That’s always a fun story. I mean, hey it worked! Now, is there a specific song on the album that has more of a special meaning to you than the others?

J: I mean “Iris” was just a huge song and that was when I felt like my songwriting had hit a point where I was like ‘ok, I’m starting to hit a touch of legitimacy in what I do.’ You know? Um, “Acoustic #3”….

D: That’s one of my favorites.

J: …which you know, sort of speaks about my mother. That was sort of the situation. Being even in like the 70’s when-  you know women wanted to get a divorce, it was kind of different back then. There was a lot of shame attached to it. I grew up in very catholic house; a very catholic neighborhood. You know, and my mother had to leave my father. And uh, she was shamed for it.

D: I get it. There were a lot of expectations back then and there was a certain way that people did things. That’s pretty brave that she did end up leaving him.

J: It’s sad because I loved my dad. He had his problems, but he had a good heart.

D: Sometimes things just don’t work out. That’s how life is and honestly that makes for some of the best songs ever written. Just being able to put your heart out there and have others’ receive it.

J: I think the weirdest thing about “Dizzy Up the Girl” is it was one of those records where it was all written around the same time. So I started to notice these themes running through it. Not that it was a concept album or that it was meant to be played as one piece, but the songs are about that specific time in my life and they are pretty personal. Even if they are a little bleak. You know, at times it’s just room for interpretation which is something that I love putting in my lyrics is a bit of room for people to interpret it their own way and make the song their own. That’s something that you aren’t supposed to do in music anymore. You’re supposed to be very direct. Very direct. Like, I’m doing this and I’m doing that.

D: It doesn’t enable the listener to really think.

J: No…no, you know, I mean. I hate it.

D: Now how long did it take you to write the album?

J: That was written over about a 4…5…6 month period, maybe.

D: Is that usual?

J: I learned to work a lot faster over the past 20 years. You know, now the way the world is working, it’s so quick. It’s like you gotta keep moving, you know? I haven’t had a vacation in years.

D: Especially now that you’re a father – which congratulations!

J: Thank you.

D: Are you loving life?

J: I love it, but I’m tired. How old is your son?

D: He’s actually not my son. I’m a nanny.

J: Oh, you’re a nanny?

D: I am.

J: That’s awesome!

D: It’s a little boy. He just turned one in September so it’s pretty fun.

J: Aww, that’s cute. That’s awesome.

D: I mean, it’s a great age just to see them grow and develop.

J: They’re so sweet. My daughter is just entering….she’s going to be two in December and it’s showed up early. I’m like “oh my god….god forgive me for the things I’m thinking about this kid…”

D: (laughter) They test your patience, that’s for sure.

J: Oh my god, they push the lines! And you know, you’re like ‘I gotta go to the book and see what it says’

D: (laughter) Sadly, there is no manual that comes with a baby. You just kind of have to do it to the best of your ability.

J: Yeah, I mean because I know what happened to me when I got out of line. You got the “pow-pow”.

D: I grew up in that era as well.

J: Oh and there’s no “pow-pow” anymore.

D: Oh no, things are so different these days and I was actually meaning to ask you- you know, it is a scary time to be raising a child, a daughter in particular, with our current political climate. Did you have any reservations when you decided that you wanted to have kids?

J: Did I have any reservations as far as like….well, as far as what?

D: Well, nowadays people are choosing not to have children because they don’t want to bring them into the world around us right now.

J: Yeah, I used to think that I would never have kids. You know, but I was lucky enough to meet a really beautiful, strong woman and we were together for ten years before, well ten, twelve years before we decided to do it and she’s been with me through the worst time in my life….and the best. Now we’re living the best part of our lives and it’s like I never ever wanted to have kids, but my life feels so much bigger. And on one side it’s terrifying that she going to grow up in it, but on the other side – what’s the potential, you know? I mean, there is potential and you know I don’t get into politics very much anymore – I used to, but the gloves are off and it’s not fun anymore.

D: I know, it’s terrifying.

J: It is terrifying, I mean the supreme court thing – that’s what has worried me the most. The supreme court is political appointees basically and I just don’t see the balance. Anybody can be a very very neutral jurist, but I just don’t know. Because your moral, your values, your beliefs are going to influence your interpretation of the constitution and the laws of the country. I completely believe in a woman’s right to choose and I grew up in a house full of women and I was the only boy. By default, I got stuck being a feminist whether I wanted to be or not. (laughter) You know, I hated girls!

D: (laughter) But you understand us so much more now…

J: Ehhh, no. (laughter)

D: (laughter) still a mystery

J: No, no women are these amazing, beautiful things with too many moving parts. I don’t know, it’s always a mystery. I guess that’s why I love ‘em too.

D: Well it sounds like you found a pretty great partner in your wife.

J: She’s strong you know, she’s strong. She’s ok with me being gone.

D: So they don’t travel with you when you’re on tour?

J: Sometimes. Sometimes. She (Lili) is getting old enough to come with us, but then it’s exhausting. She’s wakes up at 6:30 and she stares right in my face and says “Hi Daddy”. (laughter) Uh oh! – you’re getting up and she wants breakfast and then our favorite game when we’re traveling is I bought one of those big red kickballs you know the ones that make that sound, “donk!” And she loves this ball so her favorite game is to go out in the hallway of the hotel and I kick the ball down the hallway and she chases it. And we just go back and forth and back and forth kicking this ball.

D: Wear her out for naptime!

J: Wear ME out for naptime! (laughter)

D: So now, with her being almost 2, does she have a favorite song that she likes to hear?

J: No. You know, she came to a show and she actually stayed up long enough to see the show. And when she’s angry or scared she opens her eyes up really wide and she balls up her fists like she’s going to punch you or something. And she looks at me and she gave me the fists and I’m like “what?!” I’m right in the middle of the show and I’m like “what are you doing to dad? What’s wrong with you, kid?” (laughter)

D: I guess that’s not what she wanted to hear right then, dad. (laughter) So with you having the daddy- fever and everything, are you interested in writing for anymore family features like you did with Treasure Planet?

J: I mean, if somebody offered me something, yeah. And you know, I don’t want to exploit my daughter in writing music. I don’t think I’m gonna be….they call it “daddy-rock.” And I’m just like “nah, I don’t think so.”

D: It’s not uncommon for musicians to come out with a lullaby album after they’ve had some kids.

J: Well, it depends on my financial situation, but you know. I never say no to nothin. (laughter)

D: It’s been a decade since you were inducted into the songwriters’ hall of fame. Which is a very prestigious honor and certainly validation to your musical abilities. And most accomplished musicians have a good story about the moment they’ve realized they “made it.” So what’s your story?

J: When I realized I made it?

D: Uh huh.

J: Um, when I was standing in front of Mount Rushmore and I got a phone call from my business manager, my accountant and he said “why didn’t you tell me you never paid your student loans back?” (laughter) and I was like “cause I never planned on paying them back.” And he’s like “No, no, no, no. You’re officially middle class now. You are paying off your student loans!” (laughter) And then he hung up on me. I’m like “ wow, I actually had the money to pay back my student loans. That’s cool.”

D: (laughter) I mean, that is definitely a “made it” moment if I’ve ever heard one.

J: Listen, you know you’ve made it if you’ve paid off your student loans. (laughter)

D: That’s awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me.

J: Right on. It was nice talking to you.

D: Well, you guys have a wonderful rest of your day and we look forward to seeing you October 28th at the Uptown.

J: Thank you.