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Thursday at 5am my girlfriend and I woke up and my mom gave us a ride to the station, to catch the first train to the airport. We had slept about 2-3 hours that night so we were exhausted! but everything for Goo right? We took off on schedule and we landed in Birmingham around 11:00 am. Then we took the train to the city centre to do some shopping and sight seeing. Birmingham is quiet a nice city with both old and new architecture. The St Martins church isn't very special on the outside, but the roof from the inside is breathtaking. It would fit in the upcoming The Hobbit movies without any problem. We found a store that sold black balloons so we bought those. After a few hours we went to the Travelodge hotel to get some rest for the concert that evening.

We had dinner at Mc Donalds and went to the venue around 5:30 pm. There was about 20-30 people waiting already, but I won a M&G so I went straight for the box office. A security guy didn't know anything about it and told us to wait at the side of the building, at the priority entrance. There was a storm forecast for Western Europe that evening and there was winds up to 100 km/h. I was so glad I brought a thick coat! We waited there for forever and a few more M&G winners joined us. Korel walked by so I said hi to him and he said hi back. There was a guy hanging promotional posters outside the venue and he gave me a few.

Then around 7am, at the same time the doors opened, they finally let us in and told us to wait at the merch booth. About half an hour later they picked us up and lead us to a corridor, up some stairs, somewhere backstage. My girlfriend couldn't come with us unfortunately, they were very strict. We had to wait about 5 minutes and I could hear the boys walking to us. I was 5th or 6th in line and when it was my turn I shaked their hands and gave them their gift. They were very excited and I told them I had brought chocolate from Holland, because we miss them and want them to come to Holland. Robby said "Holland huh?" and I could hear he recognized it. I wrapped my arms around them and they took the photo. I said thanks and bye and walked away. When I turned around to wave again, Robby waved back to me and smiled! It went by fast again, but I'm glad I finally said something this time and the photo turned out great! Later Esther told me that at her M&G the day after in Manchester, John told her they got chocolate from a guy the day before and he got a big "J"! So I know he opened it, because otherwise you can't know the J looks bigger than the R of M (because the weight is the same). That was really cool! Esther also gave them something typically Dutch, but she will tell you herself in her review.

I went back to my girlfriend and the support act Unkle Bob was just about to take the stage. It was very crowded already so we headed for a small bar at the back of the venue to drink something and wait until after the support act, when everyone's leaving their spot to get something to drink, to find a better spot. We ended up just in front of the mixing table, with our backs against an iron fence, standing just a little higher than the rest of the audience.

The concert began and I entered my one and a half hours of ecstasy. They changed the intro from the elevator music (Brian Eno) to something more loud. You can hear drums, but it's pre-recorded and Mike only starts playing at the start of Sweetest Lie. My girlfriend recorded the intro from the London show, check below. I liked all songs they played, no real favourites this time. I'm very glad I got the hear Another Second Time Around, because it's one of my favourite Robby songs. You can watch the videos my girlfriend recorded, or the photos I took, to get an idea what it was like. For those who've never been to a Goo Goo Dolls concert it's impossible to explain what it's like. Those who have will understand how I felt. The audience was alright, not as enthusiastic as Nottingham in 2008, but they did sing along to Slide, Black Balloon and Iris. John told some stories, nothing new I think. The audience had to laugh when he said Can't Let It Go was about having sex with your ex. He also told the Notbroken story and thanked us for still remembering Name.

After the concert Damage was throwing picks and I caught one. I also bought this tours t-shirt at the merch booth. Then we went back to our hotel to get some sleep.

On Friday we took the train to London, which took about one hour and a half. we arrived around noon and headed to Travalger Square to meet a girl to who I sold a spare ticket. She was really nice and gave me a guitar pick to thank me. After that we walked to the Big Ben and came across a building from the Household Cavalry. We took the underground to London Bridge for a clear view on the Tower Bridge. By then it was raining heavily so we went back to the underground to go to the Holiday Inn hotel in North Acton. We bought some food at the supermarket just across the street and had dinner in our room. We watched some TV and relaxed that evening.

The next morning we took the underground back into London, to see the change of the guards at Buckingham Palace. Some underground lines were closed so we had a nice walk through Oxford street and Green Park. We hardly saw any soldiers parading so after about 45 minutes we decided to go straight to the Hostel. Again there were lines closed, but they had replacements buses. We arrived in Brixton about 30 minutes before Esther and Lotte and waited there for them. We met each other and went to the hostel together, just down the road. Esther and Lotte got a different room and we had to share one with some long stayers, who made a mess of it. We rested for a few hours and went to Mc Donalds again to get some dinner.

When we arrived at the venue around 5:30pm there was about 100 people waiting already. we said hi to Esther and Lotte and then met Kelly and talked a while with her. By the time the doors opened around 7pm there was over 500 people already, standing around the block, I've never seen anything like this, at least not for such a relatively small venue. There was a separate queue for people with an O2 photo, who had priority access to the venue. Inside I had some troubles getting my camera in, but the security lady argued with me for about 5 minutes and finally let me in. We tried finding some great seats at the balcony, but the first row was full already and all other seats had an annoying rail blocking our sight. We decided to take some seats in the centre, a few rows up.

When the show started, everyone jumped their seats and didn't sat down again for the full one and a half hours. The show was amazing, the audience was crazy, singing along every single song. As soon as I heard Can't Let It Go we started blowing the black balloons, with some help of the people next to us. When Black Balloon started we let them loose and they all found their way down. You can see John pointing at them in the video, so I guess they liked it. A few songs after that John asked for Esthers sign, read "Amsterdam 1999? Amsterdam 2011" out loud and said "yeah, we'll come to Amsterdam"! He also read a sign saying something like: "We came all the way from Italy" and he said "Gracias, gracias" a few times. Near the end he thanked everyone from Italy and Holland for coming to the show, that was really cool! They played All Eyes On Me, including that brilliant instrumental bridge, and I'm grateful that I heard this live. Iris was the obvious highlight of the show with everyone singing along, screaming their lungs out. Although I was happy with my seat, because I was very tired and hate standing in crowds, I will try to stand again next time. The experience is just a little more intense. Nevertheless this was the best show of the three I've seen so far and I even wanna bet this was their best show of the year so far.

After the show I bought a tour programme and keyring at the merch booth and went outside to meet Esther and Lotte. I saw Katie Lucas for a second (love your hair!) when she said bye to the girls. Then we went to the back of the venue, to the buses. There was about 20 people waiting there, while the roadies were loading the truck. We met Heather there and talked for short while. More and more people were leaving and they probably weren't coming out, so we walked back to the hostel.

The hostel wasn't only filthy, but also located above a pub that has live music playing until late at night, so we hardly slept and got up very early. There was still no underground, so we took the bus again and then the train to the airport. Our plane left on time, but aborted take off because of a failing radar. The second attempt was better and we landed on time in my home town Eindhoven again.
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