The Goo Goo Dolls @ O2 Academy, 09/10/16
The Goo Goo Dolls are a band considered by many to be rock legends, having released 11 studio albums and 30 singles including the massive hit ‘Iris’ over the course of their 30 year career. Yet, as of recently, the band’s music has seemingly gone downhill with their past 4 albums, failing to achieve Metacritic scores higher than 59. Their most recent album Boxes received a score of 52.
This didn’t stop dedicated fans from crowding the O2 Academy to see the band live. Much of the crowd looked like long-time followers, many wearing t-shirts from their earlier tours. Despite their age (lead singer John Rzeznik and bassist Robby Takac, the only remaining original members of the band, are 50 and 52 respectively) the band was bursting with energy. Takac in particular was running around the stage, jumping around and having what looked like a great time.
Though critical reception for their new music may not have been the best, the band still gave it their all. Rzeznik took time to talk to the audience, at one point having a (short) conversation with a fellow audience member who also hailed from Buffalo, New York. The band clearly enjoyed playing for the audience, making sure to play older songs as well as new ones, and it was their audience engagement — like when Rzeznik stopped to talk about how he almost quit music until he heard their first single ‘Name’ play on the radio — that made the gig feel like more than just a string of phoned-in performances.
Based off of their music alone, it’s hard to tell how much long the Goo Goo Dolls will be able to stay relevant in the music world. Seeing them live, however, cements that the band still has the passion and energy — as well as the fans — and won’t be going away anytime soon.