Goo Goo Dolls – Manchester Academy 12/11/2010

If the songs are good and the production is right then you know already it’s going to be a good show – especially in venues as well controlled as Manchester Academy where everything seems to run like clockwork. Sharing the experience of this show with one of my close friends who, like me, grew up with this band was an unforgettable experience! The Goo Goo Dolls for me had sentimental value as they have songs that I spent weeks sat on the edge of my bed as a teenager learning their guitar parts, weird tunings and running through their lyrics. All whilst soaking up the feel and relating to the songs. I never got chance to go and see the band live so this was one I was interested in for the nostalgic moments too.

Goo Goo Dolls have two very different sounding vocalists who each bring something fresh to the sound of the band. The two vocalists take turns in commanding the microphone. During the show my friend said to me “don’t you love it when you hear a song you know being performed so well that you can’t help but smile”. Absolutely, and this is exactly what the whole room was doing – SMILING! Why? Because it was evident that the band enjoyed being on stage.

The set from start to finish was electrifying! It had FEELING and the kick drum pulsated through you as if it was beating in time with your heart. It’s great to experience music in this way, like it’s internal somehow.

I would say John Rzeznik banter on the mic did feel a little contrived at times when he leaned out over the audience saying “tonight I want you to forget about all the little troubles happening outside this room and just enjoy it”. I have heard Rob Thomas spouting this at many a show. I must admit this got the crowd on his side, which wasn’t really a challenge to begin with. I like the idea of a band using their live shows as an escape from real life and making the audience feel locked in. It feels more special.

With such a modest fanbase in the UK in comparison with USA where they dominate the radio, having more commercial chart success than Matchbox Twenty (according to Wiki anyway).

IRIS – an epic pop rock song that switches between time signatures.

You know when a line in a song resonates with people when the whole room sings it with their arms in the air. This chorus is one of those that most songwriters wish they had written. The beauty of it is that the melody is the same as the verse just sung an octave higher.

“I don’t want the world to see me, because I don’t think that they’d understand. When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.”

That feeling that no-one else can comprehend what is going on with you. Everybody gets this way sometimes.

Sometimes all we need to hear is that one song that can describe the way you are feeling at that exact moment in time. Usually this song hits you when you are least expecting, catches you totally off guard and for those 3-4 minutes you are lost in the sound and nothing else matters. The connection an artist can make to the listener can’t be rivalled. You can’t manufacture this feeling. Either you have the songs or you don’t.

As much as I enjoyed the set when I browsed their merch stand I noticed their latest album was priced at £15? Why? Was there a problem with the currency exchange in to English pounds? In this climate £15 may be standard to pay for an album at gigs (I don’t often look) but why does the band charge these prices when the same product can be bought online for £4.99! Over priced merch is not something I agree with when your fans have paid a lot already to see you play live – surely they should be the ones being rewarded for their dedication? 10 years ago this price would have been acceptable but come on guys get with it. After being screwed by a major though, merch can be one of a band’s main sources of income these days.

Everything is backwards sometimes.

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