This” reckons Shane Greenhall, “is our “Iris”.
The Those Damn Crows singer is sitting at the piano to play “Blink Of An Eye” and in doing so he’s sort of hit the nail on the head.
Everyone who’s seen Bridgend’s finest over the last few years is surely agreed that they are a special band and one who is going to headline venues like this at some point, but they need the crossover that that these shows are going to give them.
More than once Greenhall asks “How many of the Crows family are in tonight?” and then says “We’ll win you over” to those that aren’t. It sounds like a promise.
They might start with “Who Did It” but generally speaking they tone the set down to suit their audience here. An emotional “This Time I’m Ready” and “See You Again” both from the wonderful “Inhale/Exhale” album from earlier this year, which reached number 3 in the charts, are hit singles if such a thing existed. Both make good on the aim of making new friends.
Who said rock n roll is dead? Well, actually not Those Damn Crows tonight, but no one could leave here not thinking they’d seen future stars.
Speaking of stars…
Let’s start at the end because we’ve almost got to, but there’s a moment in “Iris” where the lights go on and John Rzeznik stops at the line “Yeah, you bleed just to know, you’re alive”. The lights go on and thee tiers sing it back to him.
The Goo Goo Dolls have won another night, then.
They’d started with “Yeah I Like You”, the opening track from last year’s “Chaos In Bloom” record, the pop-infused reaction to the pandemic, if you will (the last time they’d played here was about three weeks before the world ended in March 2020) but its in “Home”, the next one, where they really find their stride. You can’t fail to notice the beaming smiles on the faces of both Rzeznik and Robby Takac his right-hand man for 37 years.
With a body of work like they have, everyone will have their own favourite so indulge me mine, “Slide” – played early but able to transport me back to the late 90s and the girl I was convinced they were singing about. Those stories will be replicated everywhere in here.
Beefed up to a five-piece live, GGD are in wonderful form here. They are on stage for 95 minutes and 33 seconds (there’s a stopwatch to the left of the stage) and every one, basically, is a banger. On their own terms, mind. For every “Black Balloon” there’s a “Smash” – a more punk-orientated thing that Tazak sings.
There’s something of an acoustic interlude in the middle, “Sympathy” (“let’s hear it for self-pity” offers Rzeznik) and “Name” slow the pace but there is a welcome inclusion of “January Friend” as Takac takes the singers roll again.
This is a superbly paced show and “Going Crazy” is arena rock in all but name, “Bringing On The Light” is power pop almost and “”Better Days” offers a beacon of hope – and there’s a general vibe of that anyway throughout.
The ever-brilliant “Broadway” gets us to an encore, which live drummer Craig Macintyre ushers in with the strident pattern for “Naked”, there’s a freedom to “Long Way Down” which brings us back to where we started and with the one about not wanting the world to see me, that you might know.
Earlier in the set though, they’d just played “Come To Me” and Rzeznik, moved by the cheering from the packed crowd, had said, “You know, I’ve been doing this since I was 19, and you never know when your last gig will be, but I’d be happy with this…..”
This won’t be the last show, of course, but the sentiment was right. The Goo Goo Dolls have morphed into a different beast on their journey, but they’ve always been superb, and right here, right now they are right where they need to be.