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AAA Music | 25 May 2024

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Goo Goo Dolls @ HMV Forum

| On 24, Nov 2010

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London, 21st November

Having never watched Goo Goo Dolls before and admittedly knowing few of their tracks, I wasn’t quite sure of what to expect from their HMV Forum gig. After all, these guys have been around for over 20 years, which made me assume there would be a fairly older audience. To my surprise, as soon as I enter the venue I am surrounded by an equal split between teenagers/early twenties and thirty/forty some gig goers. Once I make my way to the front I realise that the first two rows are dominated by youngsten, all pressed against the barrier so to get the best spot.

I find myself thinking that if all these people must be here for a damn good reason and as soon as Goo Goo Dolls get on stage it is clear that there are many reasons why the band has enjoyed such a prolific career.

Kicking off with Sweetest Lie from their latest album Something For The Rest Of Us it is clear that Johnny Rzeznik and Robby Takac have a strong bond with their fans, who remain calm behind the barriers in mystic adoration (except some hysteria screams). Takac explores the stage barefoot (well, actually, wearing his socks), lifting his bass mid air and kicking it, in an unusual fashion for us on this side of the pond, and makes the whole show more interesting.

The tight set offers space for nostalgia and tears from the adoring crowd, with old classics such as Big Machine and Another Second Time Around sang by Takac – which offers a different angle to the Goo Goo Dolls repertoire – among the others.

When the gentle intro of Slides is played screams of joy fulfil the venue, with Rzeznik prompting us to “forget everything that is going on outside the room”, which we are all prepared to do. The audience joined in to sing the lines, helping adding a special touch to an already beautiful song.

The setlist offers room to explore their versatile style, so here it comes the grungy Dizzy and another fan favourite Dizzy Up The Girl, with another memorable moment being Black Balloon, which Rzeznik harmonises with the crowd.

The new single Home also gets played and provokes a honest cheer from the audience, to then give room to the deep, warm, piano notes of Better Days.

The almost acoustic Name won me over, with Rzeznik proving how enchanting his voice his (the scenario was perfectly set though, with him under the spotlight, his loving audience in the palm of his hand).

As I Am is played next, another great, powerful tune which does the job of boosting the crowd just fine before the final track on the setlist is played.

The set closes with what is probably one of the most beautiful songs ever written, Iris. As soon as the first notes are played, a monumental cheer and emotional status fill the air and embrace the band, who is clearly aware of it and shares the same feelings. It is mind blowing to hear everyone, regardless of their age group and background, singing every single word. They then come back for the encore and play couple more songs, but it’s clear everyone is still on hype from Iris

When leaving the venue I can’t stop but think that these guys should get more recognition in the UK: they’re down to earth and great musicians who managed to spend the past 20 odd years composing success after success, yet they lack of the recognition other American contemporaries get here. Which is a shame, because they played an amazing gig.

Author: Claire Smiths

Photos: Alessia Matteoli