Tonight’s show was all about two bassists – Robby Takac from Goo Goo Dolls, and Lloyd Wood from Those Damn Crows. Both men were having the time of their lives, and wholly captivating to watch. There are few things more uplifting than watching a person do the thing that they love, and rarely have I seen two people show their love of performing to this extent. Top work!
The night started with south-Wales band Those Damn Crows, a quintet whose new album Inhale/Exhale debuted at number three in the UK album chart. Their performance was flawless but entertaining, their sound rock at its best, and they delivered solid harmonies. Drummer Ronnie Huxford was on point. The band’s website describes their music as ‘modern classic rock’ and that’s pretty much spot on. They will have gained a lot of new fans tonight, but also had loyal members of the ‘Crow family’ in residence. If you’ve not heard of them, check out ‘Sin On Skin’.
The highlight of the evening was headliner Goo Goo Dolls. This is the first time they’ve played in the UK since the (sorry to mention it!) pandemic, so there was a strong sense of anticipation. The band also released new album Chaos in Bloom last year, so it’s the first chance we’ve had to hear those new songs live.
Goo Goo Dolls opened with ‘Yeah, I Like You’ from the new album, and also played ‘Going Crazy’. The set did feature songs from much of their back catalogue though, including ‘Long Way Down’ from A Boy Named Goo (1995), ‘Better Days’ from Let Love In (2006) and ‘Miracle Pill’ from Miracle Pill (2016) which is, in my opinion, one of their best songs.
Of course, much of the show came from their bestselling, and most famous, album Dizzy Up The Girl (1998). That’s the one with the songs on that you’ll know (yes, ‘Iris’ is on that one). The performance of ‘Slide’ stood out for its energy, and the crowd went wild for ‘Broadway’ which closed the main portion of the show.
Singer/guitarist John did a couple of songs acoustically on his own – ‘Sympathy’ and ‘Name’. He’s contemplative and a thinker, telling us “I’ve been doing this since I was 19 and you never know when your last gig is going to be. If this was my last, I’d be happy with that.” He also showed us his funny side, squirting water at the crowd and laughing “Yeah I know you’ve done your hair”.
The band had great chemistry on stage, and you can see they all love performing. John and Robby both sing really well, and have tonnes of energy given their advancing years. They stuck to a simple backdrop, and that was all that was needed as the performance and songs spoke for themselves. The two original members are touring with an additional guitarist, a keyboard player and a drummer.
Obviously, the encore finished with biggest hit ‘Iris’. John and Robby’s additional guitarist came out as the star of that song because he’s the one who got to play the well-known mandolin part, but of course the crowd were singing along so loudly they probably didn’t hear much else.
- Yeah, I Like You
- Big Machine
- Here Is Gone
- Black Balloon
- Life’s a Message
- Miracle Pill
- So Alive
- Come to Me
- Going Crazy
- January Friend
- Bringing On the Light
- Stay With You
- Better Days
- Long Way Down
Review: Chrissie Duxson
Photography by Ed Gregory, courtesy of PR