AG UPDATE Goo Goo Dolls: O2 Institute, Birmingham – live review

The weather may be bleak in Birmingham, but the Buffalo rock stalwarts bring a scorching show.

“It’s great to be here. Okay, I’ll cut the bullshit…it’s fucking freezing,” laughs Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik. He’s not wrong. Birmingham is recording almost Biblical levels of downpour, everything from freezing sleet to driving rain. “Forget climate change, I’m gonna go and buy a big diesel car.”

Tonight, Rzeznik is on form in both the tunes and the charm. Dressed like the father of a Backstreet Boy – Adidas fleece, gym shoes, sweeping blonde hair – he’s not afraid to point out the bored husbands or chuckle at his own bad experiences with Guinness. It’s this easy-going attitude that has helped to keep the Goo Goo Dolls as one of alternative rock’s most lauded acts.

That and, of course, a fistful of fantastic songs. It’s been over twenty years since Dizzy Up the Girl’s polished melancholia gripped the globe, but tonight the sold-out audience swoon in delight at the string-swathed, sentimental anthems Slide and Iris. When they break out the soaring Black Balloon, a barrage of dark inflatables descend from the O2 Institute’s ceiling.

There’s nothing like a bit of vinegar to help the gooey ballads go down, however. Bassist Robby Takac injects some wreck-the-room urgency with the rollicking January Friend and Another Second Time Around.

Indeed, it’s easy to forget that before Iris provided them eternal entry to the MTV stratosphere, the Goo Goo Dolls were Buffalo sluggers. Fallin’ Down and Naked are welcome reminders that the band spent most of the 1990s as heirs to The Replacements and Buzzcocks, mixing melody and mood with loud and fast fuzz.

In recent years, the Goo Goo Dolls have followed a more pristine path. Even with the edges buffed, the quality of the songwriting remains. So Alive has the shakedown strut of radio contemporaries Imagine Dragons. Miracle Pill and Autumn Leaves, taken from their most recent record, sparkle under lush instrumentation and lilting harmonies.

Stay With You, Big Machine and Here Is Gone shine thanks to Rzeznik’s gravelly croon, arena-sized anthemics and guitar-fuelled heroics. By the time the band close proceedings with the deadbeat wisdom of Broadway, even the slumbering hubbies are singing every word.

Sam Lambeth reviews.
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Jace Media: The Goo Goo Dolls @ 02 Academy, Glasgow

Images and words Ritchie Birnie

The Goo Goo Dolls storm back into the UK for a six date tour and what a way to start with a sold out show in Glasgow.

The band had holed up in Glasgow to rehearse before this show and this definitely worked. This venue is renowned for dodgy sound but it was perfect tonight, I can honestly say I have not heard better quality sound ever in the 02.

This band really do not need much introduction, they have been about since 1986, are multi platinum and Grammy winners. They really do not get much bigger but what hits you when you see this band is how fresh they are…yeah, OK singer John Rzeznik looks far too good for his age but I am not talking that kind of fresh…and anyway, Robby Takac makes up for it and at least makes me feel I haven’t aged disastrously on my own.

The band are full of smiles and look to be genuinely enjoying themselves and that shows in the performance. The band have never been one for big shows and with just a huge backdrop and spotlights you have to focus on the music and as they kicked of with “Indestructible” from the latest release Miracle Pill the bar is set. The New Yorkers really have come up with a formula to keep fans happy and looking around the packed venue tonight They are bringing along plenty more(and much more youthful than my normal gigs).

Next up is “Home” and with its slow start it gave the sound a beautiful texture. If you love your ballad based, softer rock this band is your go to…sod Bon Jovi.

Tonight we are treated to 22 songs on the set list and from song one to the finale you will be smiling the whole way through. This is what music is about, unadulterated enjoyment. Yes, I get that there is a place for angry music but I cannot take a full show of that so tonight I am just going to take this all in and enjoy the hell out of the show.

For me the best of the new tracks is the title track in “Miracle Pill” as it is so much better live. On record it is as catchy as hell but live it sounds huge and this is what an arena rocker sounds like.

There are so many highlights tonight, the crowd participation on “Slide”, the actual black balloon’s falling during the song and the one bursting and freaking out Rzeznik, a fantastic version of “Stay With You” but the show stopper is always “Iris”. That will never change now, it is who GGD are and it is what we love. You can roam your eyes across the crowd and see the love in their eyes, you can feel the tension between lovers who have made this song theirs. It is always a magical moment to see and hear this song live.

Nothing can be taken from The Goo Goo Dolls, they are professionals, they are musicians and they are storytellers. Over three decades of playing music and delighting millions, what more can you ask of a band? This band lived their dreams and after all this time they are not jaded, they put every effort into each show because the fans in front of them put them where they are and you feel a real sense of gratitude from the band each and every night.

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Alloa Advertister – REVIEW: The Goo Goo Dolls, O2 Academy, Glasgow, Feb 19

By Iain Smith

THERE is more to The Goo Goo Dolls than Iris – indeed, there is more to Goo Goo Dolls than Dizzy Up the Girl. The proof lies in a 22-song set played before a capacity crowd.

Glasgow’s O2 Academy was close to a sell-out as the soft-rock veterans made their return to the city. Twelve albums, over the course of more than 30 years – you’d forgive the band for simply turning up, walking on and playing at a leisurely pace. But they exude such raw energy that they could well be mistaken for a band two or three decades their junior.

Song choice is right on the money. They do, of course, pay homage to their most successful album with no less than six tracks from Dizzy Up the Girl. And it’s fair to say the likes of Slide, Dizzy and Broadway were well-received – but the response was rivalled by Here is Gone, So Alive and Name.

They also performed a handful of tunes from last year’s release Miracle Pill, with the title track and the opener Indestructible decidedly punchier than the recorded versions.

It was a night of fine moments and efforts to give the show a bit of a party atmosphere – dropping hundreds of Blacks Balloons during…well, one of their songs – were certainly appreciated. They also dove way back into the catalogue to dig Fallin’ Down from Superstar Car Wash, for fans of the ‘I liked them before they were big’ persuasion.

But it wasn’t just the on-stage performers that make the night work. It is a very slick, well-organised operation with very little messing around in between songs. It just never seemed to stumble. One of the busiest folks of the night would likely be the spotlight operator following singer John Rzeznik across the stage.

Hate them if you want, but The Goo Goo Dolls’ founding members are well into their fifties and are hammering out accomplished sets from records that span a long and varied career. And they are not complacent; if each of their shows are similar to this, then it’s clear they earn everything they get.


Miracle Pill
Here Is Gone
Big Machine
January Friend
Fallin’ Down
Black Balloon
So Alive
Life’s a Message
Bringing on the Light
Tattered Edge / You Should Be Happy
Stay With You

Autumn Leaves

Shout About It – Review: Goo Goo Dolls, Miracle Pill Tour O2 Academy Leeds

Words and photos by Richard Clark

Reading Band Valeras supported Goo Goo Dolls in fantastic fashion with their mix of EMO, R’N’B and flashes of Latino influences. Lead singer Rose Yagmur had an incredible stage presence that was great to watch. Valeras set the mood for the night and the crowd were warmed up ready for the main show. A fan from Newcastle said to me after Varelas set that “The lead singer is mesmerising.” The Newcastle fans said that they were pleased to have seen Valeras as they were a good band musically as well as performers.

Goo Goo Dolls need little introduction as they’ve been going strong for 3 decades together as a band with over 12 million albums sold and 4 times GRAMMY Nominated. Miracle Pill is their 12th studio album that was released in 2019 with single ‘Miracle Pill,’ ‘Indestructable’ and ‘Fearless’ were included in tonight’s show.

The stage filled with smoke creating an atmosphere as the audience eagerly awaited Goo Goo Dolls to take to the stage to kick off the night’s proceedings. Singer John Rzeznik entered the stage first, grabbing the microphone, more smoke was released and the lights were low and John started to sing. The stage filled with more smoke as the rest of the band joined John on stage and the show was in full swing from the very start. John thanked the sold out crowd for coming to see them and he said how much he loved performing in the UK and to the Leeds fans. The crowd were in high spirits as they sang and danced along in the cramped space available.

Audience members shouted that they loved Goo Goo Dolls and Rzeznik responded saying he loved them too and more people shouted back. Rzeznik smiled and continued to play their next track. Throughout the show Rzeznik and Robby Tacac covered the whole stage walking whilst playing their guitars to the edges of the stage to engage with the crowd. Just a small gesture from Rzeznik and Tacac got the crowd cheering and clapping to the beat.

The first song of the evening was called ‘Indestructable in which Rzeznik reveals his regrets over a past lover, despite the sadness coming through in the lyrics it is layered with cheery and upbeat sounds from each of the guitarists. Rzeznik joked when he said he had an ex-girlfriend from the UK but they had to end as she was a better guitarist.

The second song of the evening is called ‘Home’ from their 9th studio album ‘Something for the Rest of Us’ Rzeznik talks about how he misses being home with important people he cares about and how he desperately wants to be where he feels happy and complete.

Third song ‘Slide’ was played which is a deep song about a Catholic girl who has become pregnant and the discussion between her and her boyfriend whether they should have an abortion or get married.

When the song ‘Big Machine’ was played mid way through the show, 100’s of black balloons released into the audience. The audience played a giant game of keepy uppy batting them around the O2. Pops were heard as the audience wanted to get back to watching the band on stage. At the end of the show a few balloons remained being passed around the audience.

Goo Goo Dolls covered their classic hits this made the crowd very vocal as they sang at the top of their lungs, arms raised in the air. The audience knew from the first few strums of the mandolin that ‘Iris’ was going to be played and they seemed excited to hear it. Rzeznik pointed the mic to crowd and they immediately started to sing the chorus. The band jammed showcasing their musical talents at their best. The music slowed in pace and the crowd were waiting for the music to drop, so they could continue dancing and singing to the remainder of ‘Iris.’ The show was nearing the end and the intensity didn’t stop as the band continued to play their two remaining well-known hits ‘Broadway’ and ‘Autumn Leaves.’ Each of the musicians fully showcased their skills as they heavily played their instruments Tacac taking the spotlight while playing the bass full throttle. Brad Fernquist played many different guitars and Mandolin demonstrating his talents throughout the show. Iris was unmistakable when Ferquis started to play. Craig Macintyre was incredible on the drums setting the pace throughout the night and he enjoyed his drum solo at the end of the show. Jim McGovern on key’s produced light and jovial tones to the contrast of guitars and drums. Rzeznik thanked their fans for coming to the show and played ‘Autumn Leaves’ before leaving the stage to bring their epic show to an end.

Maximum Volume Music – GOO GOO DOLLS, VALERAS @ O2 INSTITUTE, BIRMINGHAM 25/02/2020


Usually it is a line, let’s be honest. But Rose Yagmur – a woman you sense means every word at the best of times – has a point when she says: “This is amazing, for a little band like us….. Thing is, the Reading four piece have taken it all in their stride. Not overawed in the slightest at seeing a packed venue, instead they tear into their half hour as if lives depend it – and to be fair, it could alter their future. Their scuzzy, punky, indie 90s rock takes in all kinds of things, not least “Playing With A Gun” with its impressive chorus, elsewhere, “Oh Well” and “Louder” sort of recall The Wannadies and the likes, but in a set that seems important for all kinds of reasons, then nothing seems more vital than the last one. “Hear Me Out” is about “being gay and proud – like me” says Yagmur, who ditches her bass for the duration, instead smashing a tambourine and jumping off stage to meet the front rows. Valeras have a youthful energy and an air of unpredictability that suggests this is far from the end of the road for them, and they may well blossom into something with proper individuality.

On a night for honesty, you can’t fault John Rzeznik’s. The man who, along with Robby Takac has helmed the Goo Goo Dolls for over 30 years, knows what he is meant to say: “Hey Birmingham!” He yells, after the classic “Slide”, third song in if you please. “We’re so glad to be here! It’s warm in here ‘cos we’re altogether…..”

That’s what bands do, right? Except it’s freezing outside and sleeting. Rzeznik stops, smiles and says what he really thinks: “Man, I am not gonna bullshit you people. I am fucking freezing!”

In that spirit, I’ll tell the truth too.

Until “Miracle Pill” the bands 11th and latest record, arrived in the MV inbox last year – and the title track is the one they play after the temperature revelation – it’d been at least 15 years since I had listened to GGD.

I’d been a massive fan in the late 90s. “Dizzy Up The Girl” (just the 4.2 million records sold in the US) in general and the single “Slide” in particular, along with The Gin Blossoms and Counting Crows had defined the greatest unrequited love affair in the history of the world that went on throughout the period in my head, then I’d gone back and listened to the metal records they’d started with.

Fast forward 22 years, and I am sitting here tonight singing the words to these songs,  stuff like “Black Balloon” and “January Friend” like they’ve been on my iPod every day since. That, right there, is the mark of brilliant music. They stick with you.

And a thought strikes. That story of the girl who wouldn’t remember me and who I haven’t seen in two decades. How many people here have something similar? Some connection with GGD like that?

Who knows, probably loads. What I do know is that this version of Goo Goo Dolls is in astonishingly good form tonight.

Starting with a new one “Indestructible” is a good move, given that it immediately gives notice that this is not a nostalgia trip. Rightly so, because they have plenty to offer and plenty to say.

They’ve always been hard to read. Their early records were proper heavy affairs, for all they became later, and when they play “Fallin Down” – on which keyboard man Jim McGorman excels –  or when Takac sings “Another Second Time Around” you remember the rawness of the material, certainly the contrast with “Fearless” – the anthemic affair from “…Pill” is stark.

But then, what we are witnessing on this stage tonight is the natural evolution of an underrated band. The breadth of their stuff is shown in this 95 minutes. “Stay With You” is superb,  and the screeching solo of “Autumn Leaves” from the new one makes for a great crescendo ready for the encore.

Except there isn’t an encore. And how can you not love the fact that this, a massive rock band by any definition, doesn’t need its ego stroking by going off and on again to get applause?

They do, of course, have “Iris” in their back pocket. Number one all around the world and millions and millions sold. It’s a mega hit, and it sounds huge, but you know what? “Broadway” is better. And it is alive tonight, it still is. The passion. The desire for the music, the pride in the performance.

How do we know this? Well, this is just a guess, but Rzeznik seems angry when the Harmonica part of the song doesn’t work. He throws the instrument, and if he could have launched his guitar at somebody at the end, then I am going to guess he’d have done that too. Settling instead for throwing it down.

I have no idea why he was upset, because let’s be clear, Goo Goo Dolls were brilliant tonight. In a way though, if he was upset that proves why. Because at a stage of their career when they could realistically, just find some anniversary and an excuse to play an album all the way through, they’d much rather keep pushing forward.

Nottingham Post: Goo Goo Dolls shine at Rock City despite lead singer being called ‘knobhead’

The band had a day off to explore the city before playing a packed out gig

By Matt Jarram Senior Digital Reporter and Crime Correspondent

Rock heavyweights the Goo Goo Dolls would probably never play a venue as small as Rock City back home in the good ol’ US of A.

But then again, much of Britain hasn’t really paid that much attention to the trio – as a conversation at Pizza Express before the gig revealed.

“Never heard of them,” the twentysomething waitress said while she prepared our pizzas, before I stopped a fortysomething boss. “Is it a cartoon?” he replied.

Well, good job Nottingham has loyal Goo Goo fans, as the main room was packed to the rafters, with a good majority looking like they ran through the merchandise stall on their way upstairs.

For me, the Goo Goo Dolls aren’t half as slushy as some people think they are.

Yes, they created the tear-jerking, heart-pulling Iris from the painfully average City of Angels movie, which has now become an instant favourite at weddings and funerals.

But there is more to them that. In fact, their music is very grunge / garage rock .

Not quite Pearl Jam or Counting Crows but somewhere in between. A good place. A respectable place. A place you are happy to visit once or twice in a lifetime.

And they were ready to show us why the £30-odd ticket price was a steal – a much more respectable price compared to what they charge back in New York City.

They started with the title track from their new album – Indestructible.

It’s a bouncy number before charging into Home and Slide from everyone’s fave Dizzy Up the Girl.

Guitarist/vocalist Johnny Rzeznik, said he has spent a bit of time in Nottingham before the gig and came familiar with the word ‘knobhead.’

Someone called him it. Nice. Welcome to the city, John.

Bassist Robby Takac seemed to have a better time. “We had a day off and there was lots of bows and arrows and lots of fun.”

Johnny danced in his Adidas tracksuit top, giving the left, right and middle of the crowd equal attention, so everyone could snap a decent picture.

It’s a brilliant gig – stylish, well-polished, well-practiced rock.

And for Black Balloon they did release black balloons into the crowd.

Iris is saved for the encore but finisher Broadway is the show’s best number.

This was a mighty 22-song set showcasing the band’s extensive career since 1987.

Goo Goo Dolls – Nottingham salutes you!

Setlist at Rock City on February 24

Miracle Pill
Rebel Beat
Black Balloon
Big Machine
Another Second Time Around
January Friend
Fallin’ Down
So Alive
Life’s a Message
Bringing on the Light
Better Days
Stay With You
Autumn Leaves

Flick of the Finger: Goo Goo Dolls cast a spell on Manchester

By Billy Seagrave

Returning to the Albert Halls for a sell out gig, The Goo Goo Dolls deliver another classic performance for a very appreciative crowd.

Tonight, GGD are supported by a hotly tipped up and coming band coming from Reading, Valeras.
Having already toured with Yonaka and The Amazons there is a real buzz about this band.

What I can say it was fresh and entertaining, there’s a real edge to the music, a rock backbone clearly comes through, hints of Foals and Nirvana are prominent, delivered by a band who have simply come to enjoy and perform.

Rose Yagmur is a natural leader, its been a while since an up and coming band have caught the eye as strong as they have. I look forward to seeing these guys grow over the next few years.

A very crammed Albert Halls once again danced to the rather exceptional Goo Goo Dolls, to a lot of people they will simply see them as happy rock, that’s not what they are about, there’s a real edge to their performance from the way they deliver to the way they interact with the audience, quite simply this is a band who have honed their skills on live performances.

22 songs in this set, each one lapped up from a loyal and supportive crowd, opening with “Indestructible”, John Rzeznik is already at home strutting the stage and having a ball with the audience, whilst Robby Takac is making sure has his moments in the limelight. “Black Balloon”, “Naked” and “Fearless”, power the band forward.

Once again, the band are on a quite intense tour that will have them on the road for a while, “Stay with you”, still has the edge as the band race towards the curfew, but not before “Autumn Leaves”, “Dizzy” make way for “Iris”, which brings the greatest sing along of the evening, eventually as the band launch into the final song “Broadway”. The curtain comes down on another stellar performance.

If you get the opportunity to catch The Goo Goo Dolls put them on your list, a band with a great history, one that will go on.

Devils Gate Music: Review; Goo Goo Dolls – Glasgow

Review and images – Callum Scott

As the UK lurches from one storm to another, it’s left to a band entering their fifth decade to bring some much needed relief from the rain, snow and the inevitable public traffic chaos. But the large crowd gathered outside, shivering in the rain, don’t seem to mind the fairly unpleasant start to the evening, even though it would seem that not everyone has dressed for the weather. The multi-platinum and Grammy-nominated Goo Goo Dolls are kicking off their UK tour at the O2 Academy in Glasgow, and like a handful of other gigs on this six-date tour, tonight is sold-out.  The tour will see the New York natives working their way south, ending in London on Thursday 27th with another sold-out show, all while promoting their 12th studio album; ‘Miracle Pill’.

The hall is nicely filled by the time opening act Valeras take to the stage.  The Reading-based outfit seem, at least to my grizzled eyes, incredibly young, but what my ears are hearing is a strong, confident band of youngsters gripping this opportunity with both hands. The sold-out crowd appreciate the enthusiastic pop-rock songs that Valeras have in abundance, and the band leave the stage to genuine cheers.

Opening the set with ‘Indestructible’, from the aforementioned new album ‘Miracle Pill’, founding members John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, and assembled musicians, set the bar high for the rest of the evening. An evening which will see the set-list hitting twenty-plus songs. 2010’s ‘Home’ is up next, quickly followed by the first visit of the evening to the seminal ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’ album, with a rather splendid rendition of the chart-topping ‘Slide’. The noise from the crowd as the song ends is deafening (as it is for the remainder of the evening).

Goo Goo Dolls Rzeznik surely must have found the fountain of youth, as he looks like he has just stepped out of one of the band’s classic MTV video’s. Takac is having a ball, and has a massive smile plastered across his face from the start, and it never leaves his face all night,. A comparison could be made to Tim Minchin both vocally and sartorially, but with shoes. Rzeznik and Takac are joined by Brad Fernquist on guitar, Korel Tunador on keyboard and Craig Macintyre on drums, the drummers’ Scottish roots are mentioned and of course meet with the expected Glasgow roar. The guitar interplay between Fernquist and Rzeznik is incredible, especially when the frontman swaps his trademark acoustic for a battered old Fender.

‘Miracle Pill’ features a cracking singalong, followed by a few stops at the 2002 album ‘Gutterflower’ in the shape of ‘Here Is Gone’, ‘Big Machine’ and ‘Smash’, before ‘Dizzy Up The Girl’ is revisited with ‘January Friend’. Black balloons tumble from the rafters during ‘Black Balloon’ (naturally) and one makes a surprise interruption during the heartfelt ‘Name’ by popping mid song and “scaring the shit” out of Rzeznik…..”I’m trying to have a moment!”

Of course the biggest cheer came from the opening few chords of acoustic ballad ‘Iris’, with the crowd cheering in anticipation of the moment they’d waited for. ‘Iris’ – 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 Airplay chart in the US, and one of the biggest crossover hits in the history of popular music. Hearing such a well loved classic played live is a real treat, it’s the stand out moment in a very strong set.

Ending the set with a stunning one-two of the old and new, in the shape of the classic ‘Broadway’ and an incredible version of new track ‘Autumn Leaves’, Goo Goo Dolls proved yet again that they are still capable of producing stunning musical memories some thirty-odd years after their inception.

Total Ntertainment – UK Review; Goo Goo Dolls performed in Leeds

The Goo Goo Dolls performed in Leeds last night and what a night it was. People were literally crammed into every nook and cranny possible to see the band perform. They have just three more dates to play in the UK before heading back to the States.

To date Goo Goo Dolls’ sales have exceeded 12 million albums worldwide. Not to forget, the group have garnered four Grammy awards and seized a place in the history books by achieving 14 number one and top ten hits at Hot AC – “the most of any artist in history.” As a result they hold the all-time radio record for ‘Most Top 10 Singles’. Among a string of hits, ‘Iris’ held #1 on the Hot 100 for 18 straight weeks. Thus far, ‘A Boy Named Goo’ went double platinum, ‘Dizzy Up Girl’ went quadruple platinum and a whole host of other releases have gone Gold too.

The group were touring in support of their twelfth album, “Mirace Pill”, released in 2019 and making their first visit to the UK in a couple of years. Treating this packed room to a twenty-one song set, the Goo Goo Dolls kick the night off with a rowdy “Indestructible”. It set the tone for an evening of polished US rock full of energy and catchy as hell.

Frontman Johnny Rzeznik races around the stage pointing out to fans and looking like he’s at home on much bigger stages than this. Weighing in with four tracks from the new album, including the opener, the rest of the set was peppered with hits. Pulling from a chart-smashing back catalogue, the band head back to 1998 for “Black Balloon” and 1996 for “Naked”.

We all know that, as this is the Goo Goo Dolls, there is one song everyone is waiting for. Holding “Iris” back until almost the very end, the hit single had the packed room lifting the roof off the Academy. Following it up with the final track “Broadway”, the Goo Goo Dolls made sure that, having been four years since they were last in Leeds, their return was well worth the wait.

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Photo Copyright © Jo Forrest


The Goo Goo Dolls performed in Leeds