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Musician Encounters: Goo Goo Dolls

Goo Goo DollsFrom the first moment I heard the song “Iris” on the radio, I had a mission. Someway, somehow; I was going to meet the artists behind this incredible masterpiece.

Unfortunately, however, at this point in my life, and in history, there was virtually no way I was going to be able to accomplish my goal.  Since the internet was not widely used yet, I had no way to even look up the name of the song, let alone the band. I was left trying to listen to the radio for hours on end to hear this one song again. However, each time I heard “Iris”, the radio personalities continually neglected to mention the song or band name. I gave up and determined I would simply never find out more about the band behind this amazing work of art.

It was approaching nearly a decade later when I finally stumbled upon the name of the band who sang my favorite song.  I still remember the day I was sitting at the computer looking up lyrics and I was graced with the music video for the mystery song from my youth.  The caption read “Iris – Goo Goo Dolls.”  Then, on the sidebar, were about a dozen other songs by the same band.  I clicked each one and watched the videos with my full attention.  “Broadway,” “Black Balloon,” “Name,” “Here is Gone,” and so many more held my attention for hours.  And so my favorite band was born.

Now that I was finally aware of the name of the musicians who created all of these perfect songs, I could at last begin to work toward my goal.  But how could one go about meeting the iconic Goo Goo Dolls?  Much to my surprise, it was actually not a completely unattainable feat.

I started by joining their online fan club and finding out everything I could about the band.  By reading fan forums and following their social media pages, I found out the Goo Goo Dolls offered a meet and greet lottery for most shows on their upcoming tour.  This had my name written all over it!

I bought tickets for the St. Louis tour date and then immediately entered to win tickets for the meet and greet opportunity.  I also entered an extra promotional contest the website was running as well.  This contest would make one fan the official road reporter for that show and allow them to photograph the band from the press area.

I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.  However, much to my dismay, the concert was still months away, so the winners would not be notified for quite some time.  So I pushed it to the back of my mind and went on with my normal life.

The morning I woke up with two emails from the Goo Goo Dolls fan site was one of the best days ever!  I had been officially notified that I won both contests.  I was so excited; my dream was finally coming true!

The day of the show came and I arrived at the venue with my tickets and instructions in hand.  I swear it was the hottest day of the summer, but that did not stop me from being totally pumped.  I made my way to the meet and greet gathering spot before the show and was shocked to see that only a few other people had been selected with me.  We were then escorted to an area behind the stage, brought into a building, and lead down a hallway.  “Wow! This is really where the artists hang out!” I thought anxiously.  We were instructed to form into a line, as the meet and greet was about to begin.

When I saw Johnny, Mike, and Robby appear, I was in shock.  I could not believe this was actually happening.  The guys stood and chatted with each person in line, posed for photographs, and then gave them a signed picture.  When it was finally my turn, I was obviously nervous, but the band made me feel right at home.  They really were the nicest guys ever.  Each one shook my hand, and then they welcomed me to join them for a group picture.

When the meet and greet was over, I exited the backstage area and made my way to the press pit.  After a slight altercation with the security guard (he didn’t believe my pass apparently), I was finally granted access.  I was now standing in the press area waiting to snap front row pictures of my favorite band, what more could a girl want?

When the Goo Goo Dolls took the stage, the crowd went absolutely wild.  There was so much energy; I could barely get a clear picture.  Luckily, the lead singer, Johnny Rzeznik, stopped and posed for me on several occasions.  I got to remain in the press area for three songs and then myself, as well as the rest of the media, had to return to our seats.  I would not trade those three songs for anything!

I saw the rest of the show from my seat and the Goo Goo Dolls did not miss a note.  I could not have ever wished for a better conclusion to chasing my childhood dream.  I was able to meet my all time favorite band, and serve as a photographer in the press area; all at the same show.  That night truly was a once in a lifetime experience, and, to this day, I still cannot believe how everything fell that perfectly into place.

Want to keep up with Goo Goo Dolls?  You can purchase a CD or buy concert tickets here.

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Rachel Schuler

Music is my passion. I'm that girl with her headphones in 24/7. You might want to tap me on the shoulder before you start talking.

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