Reading Band Valeras supported Goo Goo Dolls in fantastic fashion with their mix of EMO, R’N’B and flashes of Latino influences. Lead singer Rose Yagmur had an incredible stage presence that was great to watch. Valeras set the mood for the night and the crowd were warmed up ready for the main show. A fan from Newcastle said to me after Varelas set that “The lead singer is mesmerising.” The Newcastle fans said that they were pleased to have seen Valeras as they were a good band musically as well as performers.
Goo Goo Dolls need little introduction as they’ve been going strong for 3 decades together as a band with over 12 million albums sold and 4 times GRAMMY Nominated. Miracle Pill is their 12th studio album that was released in 2019 with single ‘Miracle Pill,’ ‘Indestructable’ and ‘Fearless’ were included in tonight’s show.
The stage filled with smoke creating an atmosphere as the audience eagerly awaited Goo Goo Dolls to take to the stage to kick off the night’s proceedings. Singer John Rzeznik entered the stage first, grabbing the microphone, more smoke was released and the lights were low and John started to sing. The stage filled with more smoke as the rest of the band joined John on stage and the show was in full swing from the very start. John thanked the sold out crowd for coming to see them and he said how much he loved performing in the UK and to the Leeds fans. The crowd were in high spirits as they sang and danced along in the cramped space available.
Audience members shouted that they loved Goo Goo Dolls and Rzeznik responded saying he loved them too and more people shouted back. Rzeznik smiled and continued to play their next track. Throughout the show Rzeznik and Robby Tacac covered the whole stage walking whilst playing their guitars to the edges of the stage to engage with the crowd. Just a small gesture from Rzeznik and Tacac got the crowd cheering and clapping to the beat.
The first song of the evening was called ‘Indestructable in which Rzeznik reveals his regrets over a past lover, despite the sadness coming through in the lyrics it is layered with cheery and upbeat sounds from each of the guitarists. Rzeznik joked when he said he had an ex-girlfriend from the UK but they had to end as she was a better guitarist.
The second song of the evening is called ‘Home’ from their 9th studio album ‘Something for the Rest of Us’ Rzeznik talks about how he misses being home with important people he cares about and how he desperately wants to be where he feels happy and complete.
Third song ‘Slide’ was played which is a deep song about a Catholic girl who has become pregnant and the discussion between her and her boyfriend whether they should have an abortion or get married.
When the song ‘Black Balloon’ was played mid way through the show, 100’s of black balloons released into the audience. The audience played a giant game of keepy uppy batting them around the O2. Pops were heard as the audience wanted to get back to watching the band on stage. At the end of the show a few balloons remained being passed around the audience.
Goo Goo Dolls covered their classic hits this made the crowd very vocal as they sang at the top of their lungs, arms raised in the air. The audience knew from the first few strums of the mandolin that ‘Iris’ was going to be played and they seemed excited to hear it. Rzeznik pointed the mic to crowd and they immediately started to sing the chorus. The band jammed showcasing their musical talents at their best. The music slowed in pace and the crowd were waiting for the music to drop, so they could continue dancing and singing to the remainder of ‘Iris.’ The show was nearing the end and the intensity didn’t stop as the band continued to play their two remaining well-known hits ‘Broadway’ and ‘Autumn Leaves.’ Each of the musicians fully showcased their skills as they heavily played their instruments Tacac taking the spotlight while playing the bass full throttle. Brad Fernquist played many different guitars and Mandolin demonstrating his talents throughout the show. Iris was unmistakable when Ferquis started to play. Craig Macintyre was incredible on the drums setting the pace throughout the night and he enjoyed his drum solo at the end of the show. Jim McGovern on key’s produced light and jovial tones to the contrast of guitars and drums. Rzeznik thanked their fans for coming to the show and played ‘Autumn Leaves’ before leaving the stage to bring their epic show to an end.
Words and photos by Richard Clark