Review : Goo Goo Dolls, Manchester Albert Hall

Going to see older bands is an interesting experience for me  They’ve been there and done it, which gives them an interesting drive to tour and perform in my opinion.

Goo Goo Dolls returned to the UK this Autumn for the first time since 2013, to tour their 11th studio album Boxes.  The band were formed by vocalist and guitarist John Rzeznik and vocalist and bassist Robby Tabac and hit superstardom with the release of the song Iris written for the City of Angels soundtrack.

All bands have their big songs, the ones that they are known for above all else.  That is what Iris is for Goo Goo Dolls.  When I told people who I was going to see the reply was, “Oh, they did Iris, didn’t they?”  Goo Dolls are no One Hit Wonders despite the success of the one song, but I don’t think I was alone in going to the concert at Manchester’s Albert Hall on 12th October to tick of another tune from my “Songs I Have To See Live Before I Die / The Band Dies” list, and the band knew it.

The night was kicked off by ex-Tribes frontman Johnny Lloyd.  He and band preformed a solid 8 song set which seemed a little formulaic until towards the end when turning his hand to tunes such as Pilgrim and Hello Death from his latest EP Dreamland.

Johnny Lloyd

Johnny Lloyd

The Goo Dolls kicked off their 22 song set with Over and Over and Long Way Down before things really got moving with fan favourite Slide off synonymous album Dizzy Up The Girl.  That album provided the highlights including the pre-encore finish of Iris and Broadway stirred the crowd in to the crescendo of Long Way Home which provided a fitting end to the night after two hours of guitars and brooding vocals.

The fact the band alluded to “that guy” dragged along by his significant other and who just wanted to see “f*cking Iris” so they could go home, and the crowd’s significantly better reaction to the four songs off Dizzy, one could forgive the band for going through the motions.  Five albums were recorded before and five after Dizzy, so it must in a way be demoralising to see such suggestion that they’re never going to top it.

Yet this is the thing with older bands – they don’t have anything to prove.  At times, Tabac wondered to the back of the stage and lean against a wall playing bass, looking somewhat subdued while quietly surveying.  But he greeted the end of every song with a cheer and a fist pump, and that’s the key.  Goo Goo Dolls have been there and done it.  They don’t have to prove anything to anyone.  Therefore, all they have to do when they perform is make you happy.

That’s what they did.  I walked out of that great music venue at 11pm, pretty tired but with a smile from ear to ear and the pertinent lyrics of that last song reverberating in my head.  I was happy.

I see the darkness and it’s following me here
To all the cracks and all the edges of your fear
I know where you go
You try to run away, but really you are falling
Through endless shadows made of everything you thought it was
Till you woke up

When your hope is sinking like a stone
I will take your hand, I will walk you home
If you never try, you’re never gonna know
I will take you there, but you can’t let go
Cause it’s a long way home
It’s a long way
It’s a long way
It’s a long way

I’ve seen the lights of countless dreamers burned from nothing
You have to hurt to know if anything means something more
Yeah, you’re so much more

When your hope is sinking like a stone
I will take your hand, I will walk you home
If you never try, you’re never gonna know
I will take you there, but you can’t let go
Cause it’s a long way home
It’s a long way
It’s a long way
It’s a long way

Light up the darkness
Take what you’re given
Sometimes it’s frightening
But it’s amazing
Live for the moment
We’re only human
We’re only human
We’re only human

It’s a long way
It’s a long way
It’s a long way

When your hope is sinking like a stone
I will take your hand, I will walk you home
If you never try, you’re never gonna know
I will take you there, but you can’t let go
Cause it’s a long way home
It’s a long way
It’s a long way
It’s a long way home

Long Way Home by Goo Goo Dolls

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