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Review: Goo Goo Dolls @ O2 Academy

When I saw that Goo Goo Dolls were playing a show in Bristol, I jumped at the chance to go and check it out. Admittedly, I knew very little of their material - the infamous 'Iris' being pretty much it - but this concert was simply brilliant.

By Susie Long, Music Subeditor

Packed into the O2 Academy on one of the hottest days so far this year, the band had attracted a wonderful crowd ranging from uni students and young people to senior citizens and parents with their young children. And really, it’s no surprise.

So many of Goo Goo Dolls’ songs - like 'Slide', 'Here is Gone', 'Sympathy', and their latest 'Run All Night' - have a certain quality to them that instantly renders them as timeless classics. Their discography has such a great range that there really is something for everyone, whether that’s a quintessential nineties’ rock-and-roll hit or a heartbreakingly beautiful acoustic ballad.

With powerful vocals from both John Rzeznik and Robby Takac alongside the masterful instrumentation provided by the touring band (especially keys player/backing vocalist Jim McGorman, whose harmonies were so clean I was often distracted from the band themselves), it’s no wonder Goo Goo Dolls are as successful and popular as they are.

Opening the show for Goo Goo Dolls was Welsh rock band Those Damn Crows. I personally hadn’t come across this band before, but I wish I’d encountered them sooner. With a hard and heavy rock sound reminiscent of Foo Fighters or Metallica, the band brought an amazing energy to the venue, setting the night up wonderfully for the main event.

It was obvious as soon as Goo Goo Dolls first appeared on stage that they really belonged there: it seemed like home to them. The band has a stage presence that can only really be achieved after years in the industry - these guys gave everything that you would expect from rock veterans. Chatting and laughing with the crowd, sharing personal anecdotes about the songs, their tour, and plenty more, it felt so natural to see them perform and their showmanship just shone out. Between these interactions and their stunning set list, the atmosphere inside the Academy was magical and almost tangible.

And then, just to perfect these magical vibes even more, 'Iris' starts playing. Hearing 2000 people singing their hearts out to this beautiful, iconic song alongside the band was incredible - it would’ve been hard to not be moved by it. Whilst Goo Goo Dolls have a plethora of amazing songs that I’d highly recommend listening to, there is something undeniably special about this one and it’s effect on people that now extends generations.

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Suffice to say, seeing Goo Goo Dolls - and their support act Those Damn Crows - live was a great experience.

Featured Image: Susie Long

Have you seen Goo Goo Dolls live?