By Patrick Hosken
One of the most endearing things you can say to someone from Buffalo is mention the Goo Goo Dolls. The group, who have been making music together for nearly 40 years, scored huge hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s. But their mid-’90s period is remembered particularly fondly for how the band’s energy and talent were finally beginning to catch on by the larger musical world.
A new release, Goo Goo Dolls: Live at the Academy 1995, celebrates this era. The upcoming live 3-LP, 2-CD set features their entire show from November 1995 at The Academy in New York City — that’s 32 songs. It’s due out October 20, and pre-order is available now.
The show was part of the CMJ Music Marathon and found the group surging through songs from their catalog up until that point. That includes the beloved pair of alt-rock staples Superstar Car Wash from 1993 and A Boy Named Goo from 1995. The latter includes one of their biggest hits, “Name,” which hit No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The band, comprised of John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, largely left their punk roots behind by the time of Dizzy up the Girl, their commercial breakthrough, in 1998. That album’s big hit, “Iris,” helped propel them into greater success with a softer sound. But their earlier records, in particular Superstar Car Wash and A Boy Named Goo, remain fan favorites.
Live at the Academy 1995 finds them thriving during this era, in a show recorded at a venue that, like many in New York, no longer exists. Located at 234 W 43rd Street in Manhattan’s Theater District, the concert hall shuttered in 1996, months after this concert was captured.
Ahead of the release of Live at the Academy 1995, the band have released a live version of Superstar Car Wash standout “Stop the World” from that show. The band’s social media accounts announced that the full Live at the Academy 1995 collection would feature “the soundcheck, full set, and encores” from that evening. “Stop the World” is a good taste of what that energy was like.