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Live Review

It was a 'long way down' to Leicester to see Goo Goo Dolls and I didn't think I'd make it on my own' so seeing as I had two tickets I took my girlfriend and when we got there they didn't play 'Long Way Down'. I like that one! Still as the band from Buffalo, New York has been around for so long now (25 years!) it probably gets difficult to fit songs from nine studio albums into about 90 minutes of live action.

The Goo Goo Dolls have genuinely enjoyed a long reign as a very impressive touring rock band with a number of very strong studio albums. Their relative age is evident when surveying the audience - there are young girls and guys, students from the local university, 30-somethings, (me) and anything upwards.

I have to admit my main interest in the band began after they achieved a breakthrough into mainstream popular culture after their biggest hit 'Iris' appeared on the soundtrack for the Nicolas/Meg Ryan film City of Angels back in the mid 90s. I bought a few of their albums and loved them, but as time went on I slightly lost interest in their newer studio releases after the darker, more introspective, Rzeznik-divorce-inspired Gutterflower (2002) so when the band hit the stage and roared through a couple of well-received tracks I was a bit lost... until they moved onto a few tracks from their 'Dizzy Up The Girl' album - 'Dizzy' and 'Slide' which were met with even more excitement from the audience.

The O2 Academy is an excellent venue with a split level area for standing whilst watching your favourite bands. It offers good visibility of the band for most audience members even my girlfriend who is only 5'1" and often can't see anything at other venues. It's still not perfect... some big oaf always wants to stand in front of you, doesn't he? The amount of fights I'd get into... it's not worth thinking about.

I saw The Goo Goo Dolls once before, travelling all the way to London that particular time to see them at the Astoria. It was a good gig and this one was shaping up to be a good night out as well. John Rzeznik, vocalist and bass guitarist, Robby Takac are covering every inch of the stage between them, running from side to side and interacting with the audience. It's impressive - they still play their instruments with aggression and genuine verve, they still seem like a 20-something garage band. It's also great to see Robby Takac take over lead vocals on four songs and there are guitar changes for every song, very cool, all differently tuned I'd imagine, but they look fantastic as well.

'Iris' is the last song before a brief encore break - Rzeznik thanks the audience for playing along with the whole 'will they come back and play more songs?' charade. It's a humorous moment and shows that the band have a good rapport with the fans. They do come back of course (despite possibly infringing the 10pm curfew? Very rock and roll!) to play a trio of tracks including 'Black Balloon' and 'Let Love In' which go down especially well with the audience who are happily singing along - which to be honest they've been doing all night anyway.

Rzeznik and Takac discuss amongst themselves at a couple of points if they've been to Leicester before, with the help of the audience (Rzeznik admits that he "used to drink a lot" and "remembers s**t"), they agree that they haven't, but it's clear that although this might have been the first visit to Leicester, it almost certainly won't be the last.

Kevin Stanley
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