By Molly Chinner

The multi platinum-nominated Goo Goo Dolls pulled the curtain down on their UK tour with a crowd-engaging performance that can only be described as energetic and sing-along at the O2 academy in Bristol.

The Dolls sold their Bristol date out to the crack in between folks at the bar. As a Nitelife reviews writer and gig-enthusiast, I have never seen the academy so full. Promoting their new tracks Boxes and Use Me and 20 years of their iconic Dizzy Up The Girl, the seasoned rockers had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hands with their upbeat performance and husky, American drawl.

Perfecting the stage sound to mimic the exact sound of their live album Dizzy Up The Girl released in 1988 on Warner Bro’s distribution label, the multi-platinum album is a Goo-Goo Dolls fans favourite and saw hundreds of Dolls fans streaming into the 02 academy from all across the south-west for an opportunity to see their favourite rockers perform live.

Opening their show with a huge light show and a sing-along rendition of their hit You Should Be Happy and of course closing the curtains with their Billboard number 1 track Iris, which could hardly be heard over the passionate singing of the fanatic crowd. Frontman John Rzeznik held the attention of the crowd with his glowing confidence and old-rocker swagger, getting a few laughs with his chat about the sorry similarities between Donald Trump and Boris Johnson.

After Rzeznik jovially made fun of the bands interesting name choice, “We had a band called The Sex Maggots, but a promoter refused to put us on with that name, we had five minutes to come up with another name. We found a copy of True Detective magazine, found an ad for a “goo goo doll, and after we sold a few records, the name stuck!”

Famous for their soulful, acoustic ballads, The Dolls made no moves in avoiding their famous tunes and churned out the big hits one after the other to the delight of the Bristol crowd. With all the grace and wit of a comedian, Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac bounced off one another with their humorous chatter and had their adoring fans grinning from ear to ear by the time they left the academy that night. Although The Dolls are in the era of the 1980s, the band’s energy would outdo any modern boy band and the bouncy Takac made his way about the stage with his famous dance moves. The dude was possibly the most excitable bassist I’ve ever seen.

The band would later make their way outside their enormous tour bus to chat with fans and sign merchandise. Bristol was one of only three UK cities lucky enough to host the Goo Goo dolls on their Dizzy Up The Girl 20th anniversary world tour, and judging by its sell-out success, we hope they’ll stop by again soon.


By Pavel Kondov

Goo Goo Dolls are one of those bands that are primarily known for one song, but if you delve deeper, their discography gives and gives. Starting out as garage punks in the late 80s, they went on to strike gold (or rather, platinum) with their 1998 album Dizzy Up The Girl and the immortal hit ‘Iris’, making a name for themselves as some of the irresistibly catchy pop-rock out there. The Goo Goo Dolls recently visited the UK for a three-date tour, playing the final night in front of a packed audience at London’s Brixton Academy.

The opening trio of ‘Dizzy’, ‘Slide’ and ‘Big Machine’ set the tone for what was to come for the entire concert – a barrage of well-written snappy and catchy anthems to love and life. Goo Goo Dolls’ songs can sound deceptively simple, but their clever arrangements provide a diversity of tone and mood.

Frontman Johnny Rzeznik was on good form – the years have given the pleasant raspiness in his voice even more texture, whilst retaining his range. His presence was a steady hand on the tiller, conducting his fellow musicians with nods and gestures, whilst cracking the occasional dry joke at the audience. Bassist Robby Takac, the only other original and official member of the Goo Goo Dolls, was a ball of energy, constantly running and jumping all over the stage. A capable singer in his own right, he would take over lead vocals on their punkier numbers like ‘January Friend’, and provide solid backing at all other times.

For ‘Name’ – the first big hit of Goo Goo Dolls’ career – a fan who held a poster asking if he could play the song on guitar with them was brought up on stage, thanks to the crowd’s cheers over Rzeznik’s initial scepticism. The lucky fan Jake did an admirable job at the acoustic, prompting the audience to start a chant of his name, and a now guitar-less Rzeznik to joke that he’s never playing one again – “I’m gonna do half the work to make twice as much money”.

Among the newer cuts in the setlist, ‘Bringing On the Light’ stood out – sung by bassist Robby Takac, the mellow intro and anthemic chorus gave an untraditional backdrop for his voice, against a lightshow that was echoing the song’s refrain by casting projectors across the smiling faces in an otherwise dark crowd.

Eventually, it was time for the song everyone was waiting to hear – the timeless gorgeousness of ‘Iris’, a song which has surely accompanied us through many youthful triumphs and tragedies of the heart. The ballad sounded as majestic as the first time I heard it, with its lush string arrangement and that deceptively simple guitar solo that filled every corner of the Brixton Academy. ‘Iris’ is far from being the Goo Goo Dolls’ only achievement, but even if they had only produced this one song, Rzeznik would still hold a place among the pantheon of songwriters.

The encore came in the form of ‘Boxes’ off their latest album with the same title, and ‘Broadway’ off Dizzy Up The Girl – their most successful record whose 20th anniversary is being marked with a special tour of the US later this year. This encore suitably rounded off an energetic set full of familiar classics and the best cuts from the Goo Goo Dolls’ more recent material, in a concert that is unlikely to have left a single attendee without a smile on their face on their way out of the Brixton Academy.
* Click link for photos*



Written by DJ Astrocreep and Sabrina Ramdoyal   

Another night in Manchester for a first time seeing Goo Goo Dolls beckoned. Whilst I thought about quite how much of a sweatbox the venue normally is for a sellout crowd, never mind during the current heatwave, a first chance to see how Goo Goo Dolls fare in a live setting, outside of the obvious ‘Iris’, is worth it and I head off for the quick jaunt over.

We have a single support band in The Xcerts, a three-piece power pop outfit from Aberdeen. We don’t get much in terms of talking from them, as they bustle from song to song, with a brief thanks for the headliners for bringing them on the tour. They perform well as quite a tight act.

I’m kind of torn over their music though. Whilst I doubt I would be the immediate target audience, I knew a few of their early bits were closer to post-hardcore and so was expecting something closer to that than what came across to me as fairly bland indie. There was a distinct lack of any kind of edge to the music which lulled me almost into apathy, while the applause from a usually very appreciative audience in Manchester was somewhat muted, to say the least. The crowd did seem to warm to them slightly as they got further into the set, but the low level of applause at the end of the set was an indication that they didn’t go down so well. They did, however, perform their tracks well, so that balance between being good at what they do was hit, while they just didn’t seem to appeal in the main.

This was in complete contrast to Goo Goo Dolls taking to the stage though, as the crowd immediately come to life, singing away loudly from the start. It was also refreshing to see that while mobile phones occasionally came out, my view wasn’t dominated by them, as is too often the case now.

As early as the end of the second track, Johnny acknowledges the crowd, before an audience member cheekily shouts out at him, with Johnny asking if he had been asked to bend over, before – with a grin – saying he would stop, that it was the wrong city to fuck about in, which brings smiles from around the audience. It’s precisely this kind of professionalism and ease that comes with the band celebrating their 22nd anniversary this year that makes the atmosphere so good, with Johnny later taking the time to say that last he played Manchester, he fully expected to be apologising for Donald Trump, before acknowledging we have our own in someone who looks like Ed Sheeran’s dad in a nod to Boris Johnson, which goes down well with the capacity crowd.

The band perform well throughout the set, bringing the noise with 21 tracks, ranging from early crowd pleaser ‘Slide’ to ‘Free of Me’, ‘Over and Over’ and ‘Bringing on the Light’ before finishing the main set with hit single ‘Iris’.

The crowd are full of life despite the sweltering conditions, singing along happily, dancing away to the songs and making a fantastic atmosphere, which in turn seems to energise the band, as bassist and co-vocalist Robby can’t keep still, while Johnny is another energiser bunny himself. The performance actually feels somewhat more personal than I would expect in a venue the size of the Ritz and its 1500 capacity and there is obviously a lot of affection going both ways between the band and the audience.

There is time for two encores in ‘Boxes’ and ‘Broadway’ before the band eventually take their leave and I scurry quickly off for my last train, a good night had by all.–manchester-o2-ritz–25-july-2018.html

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ROCKSHOT REVIEW – The Goo Goo Dolls Slide Into Brixton Academy

Posted by Nils van der Linden | 28/07/18

The 1990s weren’t just about Britpop, grunge, the Spice Girls, and *NSYNC. They were the decade of the film soundtrack, a time when songs like (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, My Heart Will Go On, Love Is All Around, and Born Slippy leapt from the big screen to the top of the charts and into the collective consciousness.

Chances are, you still know the words to It Must Have Been Love or I Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing if tonight’s Goo Goo Dolls gig is anything to go by. Iris, their timeless contribution to 1998’s otherwise forgettable City Of Angels, prompts a singalong so loud that it just about drowns out the five men performing it through a giant sound rig.

Closing out the band’s main set, the quintessential power ballad gets the night’s most frenzied response. That’s no surprise, really. What’s unexpected is the number of people in Brixton Academy who can’t have been much older than 5 when John Rzeznik first uttered: “And I’d give up forever to touch you”.

Like audience member Jake who, after his cardboard sign is noticed from the stage, is reluctantly invited to play lead guitar on Name. It’s an even older song that, despite Rzeznik’s initial trepidation, the young fan knows inside out.

Such familiarity isn’t just down to the enduring legacy of these songs. Millennials, who’d have trouble picking Nicolas Cage and/or Meg Ryan out of a line-up, are clearly discovering The Goo Goo Dolls through the band’s new work. Up at the front Over and Over, from their current LP Boxes, is met with genuine hands-raised excitement rather than the arms-crossed indifference that tends to greet anything from any band’s 11th album.

So Alive, another new one, does a good job of melding Rzeznik’s ear for melody with massive hooks straight out of the Imagine Dragons playbook for mainstream success. It even has a built-in “hey hey hey” call-and-response section that the singer-guitarist, bounding across the stage while raising his arms like an MC, uses to full effect.

A natural evolution of the group’s sound, like the poppy Rebel Beat from 2013’s Magnetic, the R&B groover doesn’t feel out of place in a set that slides easily between the extremes of Sympathy (performed solo and acoustic by the frontman) and Robby Takac’s punk-leaning offerings.

The energetic bassist-singer, who faces the London heatwave by rolling up his jeans and going barefoot, lends his gritty voice and hand actions to such hard hitters as January Friend and Smash, leaving Rzeznik the guitarist free to roam the stage and relive The Goo Goo Dolls’ garage band origins.

Naked, from their 1995 breakthrough A Boy Named Goo, is even edgier and has the frontman blistering through a solo of unexpected intensity. But, for the most part, the 21-song set focuses on the group’s oh-so-melodic greatest hits, and the three LPs that cemented their reputation.

The multi-platinum Dizzy Up The Girl, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is well represented with triumphant renditions of the fist-pumping Dizzy and Slide, a soaring Black Balloon, and beautiful-but-bleak show closer Broadway (with its immortal line “The cowboy kills the rock star” and the less than optimistic refrain “See the young man sitting in the old man’s bar, Waiting for his turn to die”).

Gutterflower, the 2002 follow-up, gets the love it deserves as the band (also featuring touring members Jim McGorman on keys, guitarist Brad Fernquist, and drummer Craig Macintyre) give their all to the likes of Big Machine (despair dressed up as a crunchy rock anthem) and the majestic Iris part two, Here Is Gone.

And 2006’s Let Love In, while not as commercially successful as its immediate predecessors, gives us the rousing title track, eternally optimistic piano and strings ballad Better Days, and chest-thumping Stay With You. Just like the rest of the set, all three are played with passion, and embraced with open arms by young and not-so- young alike.

Review of The Goo Goo Dolls at Brixton Academy on 26th July 2018 by Nils van der Linden. Photography by Kalpesh Patel.

Photos included- click the link.

Flick of the Finger – The Goo Goo Dolls, 02 Academy, Bristol

The Goo Goo Dolls are not a band I’m familiar with, but always willing to try something new, to me.
And Wow what a great band, what have I been missing?

The Goo Goo Dolls were formed way back in 1985, In Buffalo New York, originally playing punk and rock and roll covers they soon established themselves and have since produced a series of albums, the latest one Boxes released in 2016. They have also recently released a live album The Audience Is This Way.

They played Bristol, one of only 3 UK dates in the run up to their fall Dizzy up the Girl 20th Anniversary tour across America.

Opening for them tonight is Xcerts a three piece from Aberdeen, who played a short, but powerful set that culminated with Feels Like Falling in Love, from their Hold On To Your Heart album. Although they were received well it was clear the crowd were there for the Goo Goo Dolls.

The Goo Goo Dolls came out and started with a couple of songs from their seminal album Dizzy Up The Girl, the album that took them to a new level many believe. They opened with Dizzy, followed straight after by Slide. While a third of their set was made up of songs from this album, the rest came from an impressive back catalogue, much coming from Boxes and Gutterflower.

Vocalist Johnny mentioned the last time we were here we were here was just before Trump became president, you guys got your own version what’s he called, Boris…… Tonight though the emphasis was on a having a good time while we were all together.

It was clear that while I may have been a recent convert to the band much of the audience knew their material well and were singling along with the band. So Alive saw much audience participation as Johnny announced “I’m new at this, and need help”, clearly he didn’t but it was great interaction with the audience.

About half way through the set we learn about when Johnny was living in an Attic many years ago, playing his guitar, thinking about making lots of money, when he came up with the song Name, a lovely song from the 1995 album A Boy Named Goo.

“What’s the song about is a question I get asked a lot” Johhny said: “well we often lie and make up things about songs”, but the next song is about being f***** up, being in, a bad place, as he launched into Sympathy.

Broadway went down incredibly well with the Bristol crowd, the band acknowledge this as they stop and start singing together in unison. Iris closes the set, before we head back to reality, or does it?

No, we are treated to the latest single Boxesand a cover of Supertramps’s Give a little for the encore.
What a fantastic night a capacity audience in the 02 Bristol, many of which had travelled considerable distance to be here tonight. Tonight, we forgot about our troubles and were united in music, now when are they touring again…?

Click the link for photos.

The Upcoming – Goo Goo Dolls at Brixton Academy: Everything a gig should be

With 11 albums, 19 top ten singles and now a packed Brixton Academy, it is clear that American rockers Goo Goo Dolls are not just the one-hit wonder band that outsiders today see them as. For the fans at the venue, the ensemble on stage are so much more than Iris. 2018 actually marks the tenth anniversary of Dizzy Up the Girl – an album full of hits – and the crowd is there to celebrate. They are obviously extremely loyal if they can hack the hottest day of the year in an even hotter academy. People are close to quite literally becoming boys named Goo.

The group does not keep everyone waiting long before opening with Dizzy. Even louder screams ring out as they launch into Slide. Vocalist John Rzeznik does not even need to ask people to sing along with him. The floor opens and everyone’s inner rockstar comes out for Big Machine. During Black Balloon, fitting black balloons are passed around the arena, immersing viewers in the track’s tragic story.

Bassist Robby Takac takes over the microphone in order to sing January Friend and Free of Me, before leading everyone in a singalong rendition of So Alive. Everything is so alive, not just the song. The energy flows even more as the frontman takes a note from the audience: a request to play the guitar during Name. At first, it is a “f**k no!” before the spectators demand the vocalist changes his mind. People cheer as if audience member Jake is a part of the band. Rzeznik jokes that he’s never playing the instrument again, but he does not rest. The artist paces the stage, making sure everyone is involved in the performance.

The rockers effortlessly transition from fast anthem Over and Over – where they jump, kick, and run – to slow ballad Sympathy – where the lead singer stands alone, stationary, with an acoustic guitar. The light show changes, too, in Bringing on the Light. The stage becomes a multitude of beautiful colours. Of course, the group’s set would be incomplete without their equally beautiful Iris. Phones instantly come out, hands are in the air and mouths are open. Despite playing their biggest hit, the venue demands more.

The setlist is diverse, with numbers from ten years ago flowing into tracks a couple of years old, truly showing the longevity of the ensemble’s career. The musicians extend each song with a pause or a speech, anything to prolong the show. It is what a gig should be: a totally different experience to listening to the album.


Regan Harle
Photos: Guifre de Peray

**Click the link for some great photos**


22 JULY 2018 
Sala Apolo (Barcelona) 
Text: Pau Peñalver. Photos: Live Nation

I’m still in shock. I almost missed seeing one of my musical totems. Thanks to the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’, sixth album of the combo, and to the eye of Live Nation, we have been able to enjoy John Rzeznik and Robby Takac on the stage of an intimate stage like that of the Sala Apolo . It was a rainy night, an accelerated evening of intense emotions … a state of nostalgia, melancholy of an era that has passed away. 

Despite celebrating the success of a 1998 album, I met (23 summers ago) the band from Buffalo (New York) thanks to ‘A Boy Named Goo’, round that ignited the flame and that was a before and after for the former trio.

The night started punctually with “Dizzy” and “Slide”: an authentic madness. They did not rescue anything from discs before their golden age, but they did a thorough and almost fair review of their subsequent works until the date. So, they dusted off ‘Gutterflower’ from 2002 with nothing more and nothing less “Big Machine” and “Here Is Gone”. They redirected us to 1998 showing the power of two hits like “Black Balloon” or “January Friend”. This second opened the ban on the brilliance of Takac, the bassist who has suffered and endured all the fuss and turns of the blond frontman. The faithful companion of John sang and performed with revelry, and as if it were part of Motley Crue, his historical contributions to the Goo car, such as “Free Of Me”, “Smash” or “Bringing The Light” of ‘Magnetic’ (2013). I finish with cheers. The moments with Robby Takac seemed endearing to me. The old rockers never die. Of course, for much season, those years of collaborations with Paul Westerberg of The Replacements are far away.

After “January Friend” we could delight in something as grunge as “Long Way Down”. The news of Goo Goo Dolls goes through ‘Boxes’, its reference of 2016, so “So Alive” had a place before another ovation with “Name”. In that stage they were meat of MTV. Fortunately, it did not jump off the list as it happened to “Acoustic # 3”, a fact that most hardcore fans do not think were taken delicately. To my humble understanding, the set was difficult to improve, although they had a couple of songs left over.

The current section continued with “Over and Over”. John was left alone with his acoustic before playing “Sympathy” and needed two shots to match the lyrics that, according to the singer, he had forgotten. In some moments I saw clearly that there was a meeting atmosphere, if the band had broken at some point. I also thought about an acoustic tour of the two leaders, to finish making capes about a possible solo tour of Rzeznik himself. Call me crazy, but I saw it clear and crystal clear. 

From 1995 until the recent EP ‘Tattered Edge / You Should Be Happy’ we could listen to songs of all its stages, but I was surprised that it did not sound anything of the ‘Something For The Rest Of Us’ of 2010. Anyway, it would not have changed much the script. They closed the body of the list with “Broadway” and “Iris”.

And the moment of truth arrived. The encores were a mystery. After 100 minutes. A dream fulfilled. Another concert crossed off the list. In his American manga they end up with Tom Petty’s “American Girl”. Here in the old continent they close with the smaller “Boxes”, which gives title to their last length, and they pull their version of Supertramp, “Give A Little Bit”, that appeared for the first time in their ‘Let Love In’ of 2006 Few groups could get up from my house 4 days after my first daughter Aina was born, but the opportunity was impossible to refuse. 

Finally, if we take a look at his album ‘Greatest Hits Volume One: The Singles’ that they released in 2007, we can verify that, of the fourteen pieces of that compilation, they sounded 11. Nothing more to add.

The Goo Goo Dolls say they are returning to Spain. If they have been active since 1986 and yesterday was their first visit (if we ignore their concert at the base of Rota in Cadiz in 1999), perhaps in the next I have already done my job. Anyway, hope is the last thing that is lost. They corroborated it. 

Setlist: Dizzy / Slide / Big Machine / Rebel Beat / Here Is Gone / Black Balloon / January Friend / Free Of Me / Long Way Down / So Alive / Name / Over and Over / Sympathy / Stay With You / Better Days / Smash / Bringing The Light / Tattered Edge – You Should Be Happy / Broadway / Iris. Bis: Boxes / Give A Little Bit 


Goo Goo Dolls do not think that there will ever be a ‘second Iris’

Sunday, the Goo Goo Dolls play in the Amsterdam Melkweg, twenty years after their breakthrough in the Netherlands with the song Iris. But there is never a successor to that song, expected frontman and singer John Rzeznik.

The band was founded in 1986 and has been performing for more than thirty years. “I am proud that we have been together for so long and in that time scored fourteen hits,” said 52-year-old Rzeznik in conversation with
The band members had not expected that they would still make music thirty years ago. “I thought we would be dead by now”, jokes the lead singer and co-founder of the Goo Goo Dolls. “No, but seriously: we broke up after ten years, and we had to work really hard for a bit of success.”

In 1995 the big success for the Goo Goo Dolls in America started with their fifth album A Boy Named Goo. After the release of their single Name, the real commercial success started and that led them to sign with Warner Bros, a record company. The album Dizzy Up the Girl came out on that label in 1998 and also included the hit Iris, which made the band for the soundtrack of the hit movie City of Angels with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage. In the Netherlands, the single ended up at number eight in the top 40.

Second Iris

“It was fantastic to be able to write a text that allows people to identify themselves,” says Rzeznik. He does not mind at all that a large part of the people only knows Iris from their repertoire. “The audience is singing around the world, great, is not it?” Other artists I know sometimes hate the song that caused them to pay a house in Malibu now How can you hate the song that made you a millionaire ? ”
Despite the great success the singer does not think that there will ever be a ‘new Iris’. “If I tried to write such a song now, it would not be sincere, there will never be another Iris, hell no.”

Drink and girl

The singer noticed that people treated him and his band members differently when they became more famous. “We did not change, but many people, including a lot of friends, suddenly started to act differently to us.” Some were genuinely happy that we had such a success, others were suddenly going to be hateful and claiming that we had changed because we liked it so much. The biggest misconception that exists about artists, by the way, well, if I really wanted to, I would have changed more. ”
Nevertheless, certain things are now very different compared to the early years of the band, he says. “Then we were in our twenties and probably a bit wilder, you’re really a boy, you drink as much as you can and try to get as many girls as possible, now we lead a boring life compared to then.” laughs Rzeznik.
“Well, a little duller than that, of course, we have a fascinating life in comparison with most peers: we travel around the world and make music that we can get by, how well can you have it?”
The fact that their private life looks a lot quieter now, contributes to the fact that they can still survive the band life. “When we come home there is no drink, no drugs, we do not have to go after women, it’s a simple life,” laughs the front man, who is married to Melina and has a one-year-old daughter.
“A child can make you realize that you really are not that important, and when my daughter walks into the room she immediately steals the show.”

By: Koeleman