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4th July 2023

The Goo Goo Dolls Live: Unforgettable smash-hits

New York rockers the Goo Goo Dolls delivered an energetic performance in Manchester, their first in three years.
The Goo Goo Dolls Live: Unforgettable smash-hits
Photo Credit: Claire Marie Vogel

Alternative rock band the Goo Goo Dolls have finally returned to Manchester three years after their last visit, now following the release of their newest album Chaos In Bloom. After almost 40 years of success, their most influential song ‘Iris’ hitting one million streams, and a massive US tour, the band finally had a chance to take root in the setting of Manchester Academy with thousands of adoring fans perfectly reciting the words back to the exhilarated band.

The band’s variety is still rather surprising and for those who are unsure where they have heard them, lead singer John Rzeznik has sung ‘I’m Still Here’ for Disney’s Treasure Planet and, as a band, ‘Iris’ featured in 1998’s City of Angels. However, The Goo Goo Dolls’ appeal doesn’t stop here, and their set featured numerous unforgettable smash-hits.

Starting with their newest song, the band opened with the massively chantable and bouncy ‘Yeah, I Like You’, kicking off the night by introducing a fresh yet nostalgic 2000s party sound. This aesthetic was reinforced through the energetic jumping of guitarist/bass guitarist Robby Takac and Rzeznik hyping up the crowd as energetically coloured lights flooded the stage.

Next up were ‘Home’ and ‘Big Machine’, both having elements of punk rock and a message of love and belonging that lit up the audience with a contagious energy of excitement. Other hits included ‘Slide’, ‘Dizzy’, and ‘Here is Gone’, before an unexpected pause in the show as the concerned band called for paramedics as a girl in the front had fainted. After a few moments of checking on the fan and talking with the audience, they began again, in their own words, “From the TOP!!!.” The Goo Goo Dolls showed care, consideration, and adaptability for their audience.

In fact, the fans were probably the biggest surprise of the entire event, with almost every audience member singing the lyrics as loud as possible, several bantering or bringing signs to the band that proudly displayed that they were their biggest Italian fans, or even throwing black balloons in the air for the song of the same name. Despite it being one of the hottest concerts I have ever been to, it was also one of the best and most energetic, as the audience – some with tiny handheld fans, others with refreshing pints of beer – proudly enjoyed every second of the concert.

There’s something about their unforgettable vocals and harmonies, the headbanging percussion and gorgeous looping guitar riffs that create such an uplifting and unforgettable experience. Truly, the Goo Goo Dolls are masters of the genre, and performers at heart, swapping out their instruments between sets and even using a harmonica for one song.
While many of their songs like ‘Broadway’ or ‘Life’s a Message’ are rather upbeat with exciting rhythms, and lyrics asserting the importance of making “your life a message and bring light to all you see” or making “your life a storybook with no apologies”, this is intermitted by the more intimidating key riffs of ‘Miracle Pill’, the solemn sounds of ‘Name’, and the message of self-importance in the laid back ‘So Alive’.
After teasing the audience with a quick getaway, the band hurtled back to stage one last time for their encore: ‘Naked’, followed by the most popular fan-favourite ‘Iris’, which was as perfect as ever. Rzeznik even paused to bring a young fan he’d met previously on stage to sing in the finale and boy, were the two of them a powerhouse together!

All in all, The Goo Goo Dolls are a must-see artist for any fan of the rock genre, bringing together a fabulous performance that prioritised fan enjoyment and safety, whilst letting loose and experimenting with some of their all-time classics.

You can listen to the Goo Goo Dolls on Spotify here.

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