And yes it’s a bit late…

It’s really no secret that Mark and I are fond of a lot of the same bands, just check out our inspiration lists on Spotify.

I’m going to take the credit to for introducing the Goo Goo Dolls to Mark. I’ll write about the Goo Goo Dolls and what they mean to me another time but this was the third time we got to see this incredible group.

We drove up on a cold February day, blissfully unaware of the Corona that was going to punch our world into lockdown a month or so later. We parked in Birmingham City Centre and headed toward that strange building that looks like a spaceship which houses the fantastic Bull Ring Mall and got ourselves a sensible Nando’s. We made our way to the Birmingham O2 Institute and cued up while some people try to buy our tickets and others tried to flog their CDs to us. Love the ingenuity.

Valeras

We got into the Institute and being the old refined humans we are, we found seats. DO NOT JUDGE. We got a couple of drinks (Cherry coke ‘cuz we’re ‘ard) and listened to the support act in the form of ‘Valeras.’

I’m not sure what box to put Valeras in, but after following them for a while now I can see that’s really what they wouldn’t want. Seeing the ‘bigger bands’ support acts can either be a delight of finding a new band or a constant watch-watching to see if they’re leaving. I like them!

They ran through their set professionally and the lead singer is engaging and makes every effort to get the crowd into their tunes. I’m fond of the song ‘Playing with a Gun,’ and I definetely recommend them.

www.valeras.co.uk

Listen to Valeras on Spotify

Third Time Lucky

Mark and I now seem to have a two year tradition of seeing the Goo Goo Dolls. I have to tell you, we saw them in 2016 and I never thought I’d get to see them. I cannot express the joy I felt the first time as it just seemed far out of what I would experience. Actually the second time was just as good as the first time.

And the third time? JUST AS GOOD. The band were touring their latest studio album Miracle Pill, which is another strong inclusion in their catalogue. They get a fair bit of criticism for not varying out of their style but you know what? It’s good so shut up.

John Rzeznik and Robbie Takac are the leaders of the group, hiring the other guys for their full performances. The two of them have been together a while and are clearly a strong unit and makes me wonder if Mark and I will be like that in 20 years or so.

Of course they blast through their 90s signature classics (including ‘our song’ Iris) with ease, the decibel level of the crowd clearly rising when these songs turn up. What interests me are the new songs of which we only got to hear five. They do have twelve albums worth of songs to pick from and keeping the punters happy is probably the key ingredient for their thirty year career.

The real standout for me was ‘Autumn Leaves’ which had an extended solo, a real dramatic air punching affair. It’s my favourite song on ‘Miracle Pill’ and absolutely piques my inspiration.

It’s after seeing a band like the Goo Goo Dolls, who I’ve been with solidly since 2007, that I get pumped for the performance. The energy of the crowd singing your songs… the joy… love it.

www.googoodolls.com

Listen to the Goo Goo Dolls on Spotify

Tom