Robby’s latest blog entry for InRock Magazine


Hey Hey In Rockers and welcome to The Lobby 2020 Version !!!!!!

I just got back from a trip to Japan with my family as my wife and daughter and I visited our in-laws over the New Years Holiday in Tokyo for a couple of weeks at the end of December. We usually stay in the Shinjuku area as we know that area really well after spending so much time there over the year, but we’ve been doing our best to discover some new areas, this time we opted to stay near the Sky Tree/Oshiage Station for a change of pace. We found it to be a pretty convenient part of town for visitors and enjoyed the particular flavor of the area and my daughter loved that there were a few ice cream shops right across the street in Sky Tree City. We had been to the Sky Tree many times in the past, so we didn’t go up to the top, but we did visit the planetarium show and enjoyed dinner at the Sky Tree during our stay.

We visited with my friend NHK presenter/host Jason Hancock and his partner Masato for lunch one day in Taito City, a place we hadn’t been since we visited Nezu Shrine a couple of years ago. We were introduced to an American artist named Allen West who moved to Japan nearly 40 years ago to study traditional Japanese art. He paints many different types of pieces but is very well known in Japan for painting screens (Byobu). We got a chance to see his studio in a traditional house down a small back alley. It was truly inspiring; all of his materials paints are made by hand from minerals he finds himself around Japan. It’s so great to meet foreigners who have embraced the culture and traditions of Japan, and this was an experience we will never forget as we left with one of his pieces to bring back to our home in America.

After seeing all the signage and coverage on western TV, my daughter Hana was curious about the maid cafes in Tokyo and we felt like it would be fun to take her for a visit so she could understand what was going on there, and I felt like I could understand it all a little bit better myself! We went to “The @Home Cafe”, the largest of the maid cafe’s in Tokyo, I believe it’s 5 full floors of cafe’s, and it’s really pretty crazy… After a long wait we were escorted to our table as “Masters” and Princesses” and ordered some cute little cakes and tea from a young girl who claimed she will be 17 forever (and we believed her)! After some conversation and helping us in pulling off some great “kitty” imitations for our server we took some pictures with our hostess and made our way, slightly confused, down the stairs through the cues of people waiting to spend some time themselves in this alternative reality known as the Maid Cafe. I was amazed by the varieties of people who were there, groups of girls, solo men, solo women, people just stopping on for lunch to visit their favorite “character”, it’s really not what I expected, but then again, I don’t really know what I was expecting!

Last year we went to Senso Ji on New Years day, it was one of the most crowded places I have ever been in my life! This year we decided to visit the day after New Years Day, and truthfully it was not much less crowded, but the energy is amazing …. All of the vendors, temple staff and attendees operating as one to make this chaotic scene function, I’m really blown away when I see things like this in Japan, it feels like we could never make that happen in the US, there’s just too much chaos, not enough natural harmony and respect between the attendees and organizers. I’ve learned much from my life intertwined with the ways of Japan and I have to say this is the thing I respect the most. We waited in the long, long cue, made our way into the temple, threw some coins made some wishes and headed boldly into 2020 ….

Goo Goo Dolls have just announced a performance at The One Asia Festival in Singapore this spring. Could we be headed your way soon ? I’m really, really hoping so….stay tuned and I’ll keep you all in the loop!

I hope things have been great for you all so far this year, and I look forward to keeping up with you all for another year in the pages of The Mighty In Rock !!!!




Albumism – Goo Goo Dolls’ ‘A Boy Named Goo’ Turns 25/ Anniversary Retrospective

Happy 25th Anniversary to Goo Goo Dolls’ fifth studio album A Boy Named Goo, originally released March 14, 1995.

By Jeremy Levine

Most people don’t know that The Goo Goo Dolls used to be a punk band. For most of their early output, they peddled shouty vocals and three-chord progressions, sometimes successfully (see 1990’s Hold Me Up) and sometimes less so (don’t see 1989’s Jed). Of course, they would eventually reach mainstream success with International Superhit “Iris” in 1998, but there’s one record that sits in the liminal space between mainstream-focused pop rock and the early punk days: A Boy Named Goo (1995).

In spite of its simplistic structures, punk is limitless—it certainly outlasted the Goo Goo Dolls’ own time in the genre—but maybe there’s only so much one group can pour into that format before they leave it behind for the next group of kids with distortion pedals and the same three chords. On A Boy Named Goo, we see a group figuring out this moment of transition, taking some more risks in terms of form and instrumentation, and seeing whether they want to stretch the limits of their familiar genre.

Sonically, this tension results not just in a polishing of a punk sound (as was the approach on 1993’s Superstar Car Wash) or a loudening of a mainstream sound. Most tracks on A Boy Named Goo luxuriate in the fuzzy border between the two sounds, creating some of the most dynamic work in the band’s now-sprawling repertoire. “Only One,” for example, jumps to half-time after the second chorus, then makes a jump to light speed for one magnificent couplet before crashing to a final refrain.

Then there’s “Burnin’ Up,” which ends its first chorus with some magnificent Takac shouting, leading to a bridge and verse at full throttle before hitting a final chorus that replaces the shouting at the end with unexpected vocal harmony.

Maybe most interesting is “Flat Top,” the second-slowest track after “Name” and the longest in the band’s discography at the time of recording. It’s also the most lyrically punk cut on the album, taking aim at television, consumer culture, and slacktivism. Other miracles lie elsewhere: there’s the strong relationship between vocal delivery and lyrical meaning on “Impersonality,” the incredible tightness of “Somethin’ Bad,” and the a cappella bridge of “Naked.” While the band’s punk lineage (and sometimes punk itself) is still present on A Boy Named Goo, there’s a conscious broadening of horizons.

You’d think that the case in point here would be “Name,” the only acoustic song on the LP. This track would become the first Goo Goo Dolls song to reach the Billboard Chart, and it’s the thing that made them popular enough to get Johnny Rzeznik the job of writing “Iris” for City of Angels. Without “Name,” there’s almost definitely no polished second act to the Goo Goo Dolls career—certainly no “Better Days” or “Rebel Beat.”

Putting “Name” in the context of A Boy Named Goo is somewhat perplexing. You’ve got a massive mainstream hit sitting smack in the middle of a punk-adjacent record that ends with a track called “Slave Girl.” It’s tempting to say that “Slave Girl” and “Name” exist on opposite ends of the sonic spectrum that define the record, but that’s not entirely true.

The Goo Goo Dolls had been pulling this trick for years. Both Jed and Hold Me Up close with acoustic numbers (“James Dean” and “Two Days In February,” respectively) while Superstar Car Wash features “We Are The Normal,” which features rich acoustic instrumentation and a songwriting credit for Paul Westerberg. Breaking up their frenzy with something more low-key had been part of the Goo playbook for years. None of the previous acoustic efforts were hits, but they give us an aesthetic template for understanding “Name” within A Boy Named Goo outside of the “you’re a sell-out, maaaaaan” trap that the single’s place in history implies.

It’s also a bit of a trap to think about punk only as a sound. It’s also a community, a response, a position. If you watch Goo Goo Dolls footage from 1995 or 1996, while the transition period that I’ve been peddling in this essay was supposedly going on, you’ll find yourself watching a punk show. Everything about the energy—the full-throated singalongs, the crowd surfing, the clothes—is fully punk. Maybe it’s because crafting a new sound in the studio, where you have the benefit of overdubs and second takes, is more feasible than embracing a new identity on stage. Or maybe it’s because the audience didn’t buy in to the change in direction. Regardless of the reason, the Goos’ aesthetic in live performance reveals that so much of the punk ethos that defined their music up to this moment was still part of them.

A Boy Named Goo is both punk and not, both mainstream and not. It’s a convergence of many things that the Goo Goo Dolls had always been up to that point, with the encroachment of the future mixed in. Call it a harbinger of things to come, call it a swan song for a sound at the end of its run. Regardless of what it represents (or doesn’t), it’s still a singular artifact in the band’s catalogue, a collection of their most interesting songs and arrangements, a unified piece that’s uncertain of its past and future but confident in its present.

A New Goo Goo Dolls show, plus Compass House Auction details!

Find out about new upcoming Goo Goo Dolls shows PLUS we’ve got more details about the upcoming Rock The House auction benefiting Compass House, Buffalo’s only center for runaway and homeless kids! And of course, some additional true crime longing by the girls. Warning: Gen and Annie have had a LOT of caffeine prior to taping.


Sync Music Blog – Live: Goo Goo Dolls, Roundhouse London

By Selena Ferro

With more than three decades together and over 12m albums sold, American Rock band Goo Goo Dolls have been touring the UK in support of the release of their 12th studio album Miracle Pill.

Formed in Buffalo, New York in 1986 by John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, the four-time Grammy-nominated band has earned their page in the music history books by achieving the all-time US radio record for Most Top 10 Singles. Their song Iris was number one on the Hot 100 for 18 weeks and was named number one Top 40 Song of the Last 20 Years.

For the London leg of their tour they played the gorgeous Roundhouse, wrapping up the final date of the run in style with a sold out show.

As soon as I enter the venue, there is a big queue to get into the main room which is already quite packed. Once I reach the photo pit, I can spot some of the most dedicated fans standing in the front row and super excited and ready for a mx of those nostalgic feelgood vibes.

The set features an electric mix of new and old, rock and mellow, showcasing the wide range of talents the group has perfected over the years. They start off by the fun singalong Indestructible as Rzeznik led the crowd into a fun singalong that brings the crowd to that sense of liberation that one feels at a Goo Goo Dolls concert.

Other songs included in the set included Here is Gone, Black Balloon and Slide. But of course, no Goo Goo Dolls set would be complete without Iris which got the entire venue on their feet dancing and singing along to one of the most iconic songs of the late 90s.

For this tour, they decided to use the Cinebody app to allow fans to film the all concert experience; quite cool!

Seeing them live reminded me about why they were at the top of the mountain for a long time. Their songs are catchy, fun and all carry a message of hope that broke generational barriers. The band have still got it and they show that they will continue to have it for years to come.

Click the link for photos –

Patchchord News – Goo Goo Dolls Treat Roundhouse Audience to a 23 Song Show

By Claire Stones

The Roundhouse is a great venue to watch a band at, even if on a cold winter’s day you get to queue for an hour to get through the doors, only to queue for another 30 minutes to put your coat in the cloakroom.  Well, on the 27th February, a sell-out crowd did just that to watch the Goo Goo Dolls.

For those who aren’t familiar with the band, the Goo Goo Dolls formed in Buffalo, New York in 1986 and are best known for their single Iris – from their quadruple platinum (in the US) selling album Dizzy Up The Girl – which featured in the Nicolas Cage/Meg Ryan movie City Of Angels.  With John Rzeznik on guitar and vocals, and Robby Takac on bass and vocals, the Goo Goo Dolls took to the stage the a huge cheer from the crowd and started with Indestructible from their latest album, Miracle Pill.  They went straight into Home and then Slide, both of which were accompanied by much of the audience audibly singing along.

As the night went on, the Goo Goo Dolls continued to mix old and new, with songs ranging from Fallin’ Down from their 1993 album Superstar Car Wash, to Fearless from their latest release.  Lead vocal duties, as always, switched between John and Robby.  They put on a good show, treating the audience to a 23-song set, lasting more than 90 minutes, and included six from Dizzy Up The Girl.

This was a gig for fans, with great moments such as the dropping of black balloons during Black Balloon and more songs from their back catalogue than you would expect from a tour promoting a new album.  They may not have ended the gig with Iris – but it was the penultimate song – and it was paired beautifully with Broadway.  There are some people out there who would be willing to pay for a ticket just to hear them play Iris.  If you are one such person, go for it – it will be worth it.

Miracle Pill: Goo Goo Dolls on Longevity in the Music Business ~The VH Interview

Frances Salter caught up with the Goo Goo Dolls ahead of their show at London’s Roundhouse to chat booze, sentiment, and rock ‘n’ roll welfare.

“What do I know? I write sappy love songs, for housewives.”

I’ve just asked Johnny Rzeznik for his secrets to lasting in the music business, which – sappy love songs or no – is something he knows a thing or two about. Since their mainstream breakthrough in the early nineties, Goo Goo Dolls’ record sales have exceeded 12 million albums worldwide, not to mention the four Grammy nominations. They’re now touring 2019’s Miracle Pill, wrapping up the UK leg at Roundhouse a couple of hours after we speak.

When pressed, he’s got some quite specific advice. “Don’t sell your publishing. Do all the drugs and drink – as much as you want – until you’re about twenty-six, and then knock it off. The myth is that booze and drugs make you more creative, but no: they lessen your inhibitions. After a while, instead of being an asset to your work, they become a liability.”

Miracle Pill is the latest step on a remarkable journey together for John and Robby, from their early punk-rock days in Buffalo, New York, through to commercial success that has seen their music covered by the likes of Taylor Swift. Nonetheless, they’re keen to emphasise that it was far from an overnight success.

“Everyone starts by mimicking other people’s voices,” says Johnny. “But the trick is to keep after it until one day your own unique voice comes out. Unfortunately, a lot of people just aren’t given the opportunity to become fully-formed artists anymore. Everything is disposable now, and very few artists are doing anything that will sound good in twenty years. When we were coming up, our record label let us ride along for three albums.”

Or, as Robby puts it, “We were on rock ‘n’ roll welfare.”

“I feel sorry for the new kids coming up because they don’t have that trajectory. Now you have to be ten different things: a DJ, a producer, a philanthropist, a marketing expert. No, no. Your job is to sit and perfect your craft. If ‘Stairway to Heaven’ came out today, it would probably be overlooked unless someone caught Robert Plant on a viral video, or if there was a famous rapper in the middle of it. It’s about the things surrounding the art you create, not the thing itself. But maybe I’m just saying that because I’m old.”

So, after so much time in the public eye, what do people not know about Goo Goo Dolls? “People have all kinds of assumptions of people that they see on stage. That they’re happy, that they’re rich, that their lives are better than other people’s. It’s not true.”

The new record, from which they’ll play a half-dozen songs that night alongside older material, is a reflection of the Dolls’ talent for – as Johnny terms it – ‘brutal sentiment.’ The titular ‘Miracle Pill’, the band have said, is a metaphor for the speedy gratification of the Instagram age, in which we can demand instant elation from chemicals and instant approval from the internet.

By contrast, it may take more than twenty years to build a body of work you can stand behind, but as the Roundhouse crowd will attest, it’s worth it.

Miracle Pill: Goo Goo Dolls on Longevity in the Music Business (The VH Interview)

QRO Magazine – Review: Goo Goo Dolls at Leeds Academy 2/22

By Ian Pickles

There’s packed out shows and then there’s packed out shows, but I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere that seemed quite as full as the Leeds Academy on Saturday night, February 22nd, when The Goo Goo Dolls brought their ‘Miracle Pill’ tour to town. Shooting from front of house I arrived 45 minutes early and the place was already so full that even at the very back we were standing on each other’s toes as we strained to see the stage. It was four years since the boys from Buffalo had played Leeds and it was clear that they’d been missed.

The set list for the night offered something for everyone – a greatest hits package for the seasoned fans and plenty of the new stuff. If you haven’t had a chance to hear Miracle Pill yet you should give it a go, not for the philosophy but just for the sheer exuberant synth driven dad rockiness of it all.

The Dolls are one of those bands that can be relied on to put on a no quarter asked or given show, playing the whole crowd, front back and balconies, not just the front few rows, and if you’re partial to a spot of slightly overblown, highly sentimental rock music played with real energy and style then they’ve got it in spades. They’re a band that can evoke happy resonances of whoever it was you grew up with. Me I heard early Bruce Springsteen in the semi-spoken introductions, hints of Tom Petty in the sharp little pop verses, but you may hear someone else entirely.

Of course there’s no doubt about the highlight of the show – and they left it to the encore, which opened with “Iris” and closed with “Indestructible”.  “Iris” is one of those songs that seems to stop the world in its tracks – and the band allow the melody to unwind with enough subdued spaces to allow for plenty of audience participation. “Name”, from 1995’s Boy Named, has similar power to get a room full of strangers singing together like old friends, which is possibly the key to The Goo Goo Dolls success. Not only do we like them but there is something about them that means we like other people who do too. Packed to the gunwales and hot as Hades it may have been, but there was a real feeling of community about the place (apart from the occasional fight, but hey this is Yorkshire).

Among the new material it was “Autumn Leaves”, which closed the main set, that the fans seemed to have taken most to their heart, falling silent for the slow burn introduction and then coming massively alive as the band turned things up a gear, with Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac striking some great poses – they’re old hands at the giving great show and nothing that they did on the night was less than fine.  “Life’s a Message” and “Fearless” went down pretty well too, and judging by the amount of singing along to the new stuff, the fans have taken Miracle Pill to their hearts already.

Hopefully it won’t be another four years before they head this way again.


Roundhouse, Camden. 27th February 2020

Words: Paul Monkhouse Photos: Steve Ritchie

The term ‘cult band’ is a funny one. Whilst some can be niche in their appeal, others have hugely impressive material that should bring them massive success globally.

It could be argued that the Goo Goo Dolls fall into the latter category, absolutely huge in their native United States but less well known in the rest of the world barring breakthrough hit ‘Iris’. This relative lack of exposure this side of the Atlantic has done nothing to dampen the ardor of their very vocal fanbase who pack every show on their regular UK tours, as the rafter shaking response of the sold-out Roundhouse crowd attests.

Following a stirring support set from Valeras, the lights dim and backlit by a sole orange light and clutching an acoustic, frontman Johnny Rzeznik looks every inch the rock icon as he strums the opening chords of ‘Indestructible’. When the band join him in a burst of technicolour light, the song explodes with its chiming guitar and frenetic, feel good energy, the floor of the venue instantly transformed into a sea of swaying bodies, caught up in a mass celebratory fervor.

Whilst Reznik has gone for an urban look, clad in a black tracksuit, his partner in crime, bass man Robbie Takac, is his usual punk rock self, constantly charging from one side of the stage to another in a whirl of energy. Barely pausing for breath, ‘Home’ keeps up the momentum, all jagged rhythms and some great backing vocals by keys player Jim McGorman but that was just a warm-up for ‘Slide’, the song eliciting the first of the evening’s full-throated singalongs.

It’s not just the older tracks that go down well, with newer fare like ‘Miracle Pill’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’ proving that, even after twelve albums and almost three and a half decades together, there’s still plenty of juice in the tank. Fan favourite ‘Black Balloon’ sees a hundred of them released from a net on the ceiling, the band playing as they firstly rained down on the crowd and then spent the rest of the song bouncing around over heads.

Another heavy hitter followed, the staccato riff and percussive force of ‘Big Machine’ provoking another breakout of movement, yet again backing up the fact that their catalogue is full of highly impressive gems. Takac also gets a chance to exercise his vocals and front the band, singing lead on four numbers including Springsteen meets Green Day ‘2nd Time Around’ and the psychedelically tinged ‘January Friend’.

Never afraid of showing the breadth of their material, boneshaking rocker ‘Dizzy’ sits alongside the feel-good sing song rap of ‘So Alive’, the latter prompting a highly infectious call and response section. Another distinct change of gear follows as the rest of the band leave the stage as Rzeznik performs a beautiful solo acoustic ‘Name’ that sees the singer’s image being caught in a sea of mobile phone cameras. ‘Fearless’ is another new pop rock anthem and ‘Better Days’ plaintive optimism perfectly captures the sense of kinship between performer and audience, looking towards a future that offers bigger, wider horizons.

After the rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Stay With You’, what follows next is arguably one the biggest highpoints of the evening as the band break into a skyscraping ‘Autumn Leaves’, the song bursts and blooms from a pinprick to something that seems to engulf not just the North West London venue but the whole universe. Sounding like the music of the spheres, its otherworldly feel gives the chance to let firstly Brad Fernquist and then Rzeznik solo, their guitars ringing out loud and true.

There was really only one song that could top that and with teased opening acoustic notes and mandolin the roar that greeted ‘Iris’ was at once deafening but also euphoric. Still one of the greatest pop rock crossover ballads ever written, it has the ability to just lift the listener and transport them body and soul into a place where music is everything.

Every syllable of every word is sung back to the band as the audience competes with the p.a. to see who can be the loudest, the dynamics of the song structure building and building up to the glorious slide solo and closing, triumphant chorus. Closing the set with the breathless tilt of ‘Broadway’ the Goo Goo Dolls left the 45stage, their place in the hearts of the faithful assured and London well and truly at their feet.

‘Cult’ band or not, they’re still one of the finest acts on this, or any other, planet.

Photos at the link –

Rockshot Magazine: Goo Goo Dolls Prove To Camden Crowd They’re Indestructible

by Bernadette O’Malley

Thursday night at the Camden Roundhouse marks the culmination of New York Rockers Goo Goo Dolls’ UK tour dates endorsing their 2019 LP – Miracle Pill. As 9pm approaches, the lights dim and the crowd still themselves for the band to take their places on stage, background music teasing as the Goo Goo Dolls make their way to the stage, the crowd erupting as the lights come up and Johnny Rzeznik, without skipping a beat, launches straight into Indestructible, the opening track to Miracle Pill. While it’s clear that not all of the crowd are familiar with this particular song, it doesn’t stop them from joining in and adding backing vocals where they can.

Home follows and puts the crowd more at ease, but it’s track number three that sends them into a frenzy, with a swift transition from electric to acoustic Rzeznik invites the crowd to sing along with him to Slide, one of the many hits from their seminal 1998 record Dizzy Up The Girl.

The crowd are in their element now reveling in the atmosphere and the music they’ve grown old to. When you see the energy behind the songs and the way Johnny bounces around that stage it’s hard to think that this band formed way back in 1986, but when you look around the crowd, you start to notice that it’s certainly an ageing audience here tonight.

But if you take the time to look up to the balcony seating area you’ll spot a few young rockers up there, presumably brought along by rebellious parents (considering it’s a school night!) passing on the joy and energy of live music to the next generation – a great thing to see.

Tonight the hits just keep on coming and amidst them the Buffalo, New York-born frontman introduces Black Balloon, as if it required one. The Camden crowd sing along with all their hearts and they howl in glee as from the ceiling, what fells like hundreds of, black balloons cascade down and then Johnny jokingly exclaims, “Well that’s it folks, goodnight everybody!” before continuing on with the rip-roaring set list consisting of 23 tracks incorporating cuts from across the catalogue.

Everything from 1993’s Superstar Car Wash, 1995 record A Boy Named Goo and hit 1998 record Dizzy Up The Girl through to 2006’s Let Love In, Something For The Rest Of Us, Magnetic, Boxes and of course last year’s Miracle Pill are touched upon, demonstrating the band aren’t resting on their bygone hits to play shows but continue to innovate and stay relevant.

Rzeznik isn’t the only one on the mic tonight, his vocals take a rest while bassist Robby Takac’s raw and husky vocals take the lead for Another Second Time Around, January Friend and new track Life’s A Message, the crowd savour this and relish the change in tone.

Later, during So Alive, the 54-year-old frontman regrets starting the crowd off on a clapping chorus but then gets himself back on track and follows it with an impeccable solo rendition of 1995 single Name, a clear crowd favourite. But its two songs from the end when the crowd erupt as the undeniably recognisable opening chords of Iris spew forth and the crowd unanimously cheer, now roused, the whole venue is singing along anthemically.

Start to finish there is not one person in this crowd who isn’t singing at the top of their lungs. It doesn’t stop there though, Iris. The night climaxes with upbeat Dizzy Up The Girl single Broadway. And while we lose some of the crowd who make an early exit to beat the crowds, there is still reason to stay and many do and take it all in. Rzeznik thanks the crowd and the lights go back up, a wholly satisfied throng exit the building out into the blistering cold London night, buzzing.

Reading four piece, Valeras are tonight’s opening act and they don’t disappoint with an eruption of punk-infused rock. The quartet started out as a quintet of strangers, known as Area 52, who met in 2013 at the Reading Rock Academy, a charity rock school type music project. Knives & Flowers, released in 2017, was their first release under their new name – Valeras.

Tonight they open their six song set with In Time, It’ll Be Easier For Us which receives a good reception. And by the third song in their set, the crowd is well and truly loosened up and front woman Rose Yagmur closes out the group’s set with Hear Me Out which she informs us “is about being Gay and proud, and that’s exactly what I am”.

In my experience you don’t regularly experience a supporting act that stands out and warrants further investigation, but I think on this particular occasion Valeras are the exception to the rule and are definitely one to watch. Valeras are currently touring and have upcoming gigs in London and Reading, with tickets costing less than £15 they’re definitely worth a gamble.

Click the link for photos – 5 star review of Goo Goo Dolls at Roundhouse, London

This evening sees New York rockers Goo Goo Dolls conclude their UK tour in support of 2019’s ‘Miracle Pill’ LP. Roundhouse, Camden the venue. Excitement and anticipation, the atmosphere.

9pm strikes, lights fade and conversations run dry; Goo Goo Dolls have arrived. Head to toe in black attire, John Rzeznik’s silhouette like portrait contrasts the vivid, vibrant pink lighting perfectly. Aesthetically pleasing. Beautifully sounding. A mix like whiskey and coke.

‘Indestructible’ initiates proceedings on the latest ‘Miracle Pill’ LP and serves the same purpose this evening. Microphone in hand and guitar merely hanging midriff, Rzeznik makes full use of the stage covering every inch simultaneously acknowledging the exuberant crowd. He’s at home.

Speaking of home; ‘Home’ follows the set opener and in a fast four minutes encapsulates Goo Goo Dolls sound. It’s the voice. The riff. The melody. Precisely what this sold out crowd is here for.

Electric now traded for acoustic, the opening riff to ‘Slide’ achieves the most resounding response thus far. Camden’s voices are ostensibly turned up a notch. Rzeznik’s remains pitch perfect. An inevitability.

The set itself is meticulously thought through. Whilst undeniably plugging their new tracks, it refuses to neglect the band’s punk rock roots. Tracks such as ‘Fallin Down’ and ‘Another Second Time Around’ momentarily rewind us to 1993’s ‘Superstar Carwash’ LP. A personal favourite. A refreshing reminder of youth and nostalgia.

Midway through ‘Black Balloon’, hundreds seemingly fall from the sky as Rzeznik asks ‘Why did that happen?!’. Balloons appear to fall from the very same place the song fell from. Undoubtedly a classic and an essential Goo Goo Dolls track.

The set consists of twenty three tracks and incredibly, the same amount of guitar changes. Famed for his love of distinctive and abnormal tuning arrangements, Rzeznik has as many guitars as he has songs. Some feat.

Tracks such as ‘January Friend’ and the new ‘Life’s A Message’, offers Rzeznik the opportunity to rest his vocal cords. Bassist Robby Takac takes to lead vocals, offering a noticeably rougher and more punky approach.

An exquisite rendition of 1995’s beauteous ballad ‘Name’ offers the backing band a chance for a deserved drink as Rzeznik starts solo. An acoustic and a voice. The pinnacle.

The crowd are in awe and a small stumble as I rush towards a rare empty bar only confirms this further. Goo Goo Dolls are not to be missed.

Yet another guitar change and ‘Iris’ begins. An anthem which gains five thousand voices all striving to hit those chorus notes. Only one achieves. The rest are left striving. But with beaming smiles.

Rzeznik thanks the crowd and Goo Goo Dolls leave us with ‘Broadway’ which can only mean one thing. One more guitar change…

Sensational. As ever.