woodlands, texas 9.5.02
by ellie
please copy only with permission!

This story actually starts the day before the 5th. We're at dinner with the Schutmaats, long time friends of the family. I was talking to Peter, the dad, who is a construction contractor. He owns his own company. I tell him I'm going to see Goo, and he's like, "The drummer, what's his name?" I say, "Mike Malinin." He says. "I knew it. I built a garage apartment for his brother, Alex Malinin, a while back, so his 'drummer brother' could stay with him when he visited!" OH MY GOD. I was freaking out about this awesome connection that I found. So he tells me that if I see Alex, to tell him hey from Peter. So that was very very cool. Now onto the actual story!

I had insisted that we leave by 3:30. And we left by 4, which was still good. So we get to the venue, pick up our tickets and backstage passes, and we're in! My sister didn't come because she says she wasn't feeling well, so we had an extra ticket & gave it to a person that worked at the venue to give to someone. I hope that whoever got it enjoyed it.

For Vanessa Carlton, my mom, James, and I, we took seats on the lawn, so we could be together for a bit. As for VC & I was disappointed in her performance. So thankfully, VC finally ended and we went back to Fono. They played Collide again, which is the only song I know the lyrics to. I suppose I have an affinity for bassists because I totally love their bass player, Sandy. He's a black dude with awesome dreds. He had signed my stuff before & so they're playing Collide, and I'm singing along, and he sees me singing and grins at me. I got all giggly. He is the best band member performance-wise. He jumps around the stage, and does these little cute funky dances. He's great.

3EB rocked the house. Their acoustics were horrible, but they still kicked. Stephan Jenkins is great. He did so well on stage. He had charisma, and charm. Stephan acts out his songs. When he's singing, he acts out what he's saying. It's really interesting to watch him! During the last few songs, Jenkins hops off the stage and goes into the crowd!

The moment we've all been waiting for. Well me, anyways. 3EB ends, and I sit down for a rest. (My legs STILL hurt.) The girl next to me turns to me and says, "This is the best part and the worst part!!" And it really was. You're sitting there, with all this anticipation, waiting for the lights to dim. God, just thinking about it gives me that feeling in my stomach.

There was a "Gutterflower Red" curtain covering the stage. The anticipation builds & builds & then the lights dim. We jump up out of our seats and start screaming. Big Machine starts up, and you can see Johnny's shadow. The curtain falls down, and out comes Goo, jumping around and singing. That was an awesome moment. The first time Robby came up close to where I was, I freaked. He saw me and grinned. So Goo plays their songs, (I don't have the setlist, you can find it somewhere else) and I am just soooo happy. I'm dancing, and throwing my hands in the air, and singing along! Johnny was very alive, he interacted with the crowd a lot. He told the infamous "Name" story & but didn't do the "Hits of the 90's" one. Oh well. He had his little red bandana on, he was so cute. And dripping with sweat. So maybe he was better than cute. He was HOT. But my heart belongs to Robby...

It's hard to explain how awesome Robby was. From the beginning, he had that energy, that smile, that cute little head-bob, and everything else that is Robby. For most of the show my eyes were on him. He saw me almost from the beginning, I think! He was all up there, rocking, having the time of his life, and I've got my hands in the air, and I'm singing and dancing & he sees me and grins at me! That Robby grin. So, like the last Goo concert, frequently throughout it, he'd look down at me and he'd grin and his eyes would sparkle. It was amazing. Not many people knew his songs, but I did, and I sung along to every one of them! He loved that. Also, during Black Balloon, I blew him a kiss, and he saw me! He smiled right at me. He is so great.

Awesome awesome awesome concert. Totally freakin' awesome. Fono was great, Goo was great. I think my mom is now an official Goober. She loves them now.

The concert ends and I go to the place where you go backstage. Turns out they gave us the WRONG PASSES. They gave me fucking 3EB passes. So they wouldn't let us in. I cried. A lot. I was trying not to & I didn't make a scene or anything, but the tears were flowing down my face. So we go to the car, and James and my mom are trying to comfort me the best they can. On our way out we see where the backstage entry is, but again they won't let us in. I was so pissed, and so upset. So we get in the car, and my mom & bless her. She was trying the hardest she could to get me back there. Hell, she followed a car on the sidewalk! Then she had a plan. It was to play stupid until we got an important person to talk to us. So this guy comes over, and he's all ma'am, are you lost? Are you drunk? She's like, "No, smell my breath." So he gives us directions, and we're parked on the fucking sidewalk so an important person comes over. I roll down my window and explain my situation to him, and how NO ONE would let us in. He thinks for a moment and agrees to bring us back there. That was so nice of him. So I'm not crying anymore! I got to meet Goo!!!!

He led us through all these corridors and stuff. In one of these rooms, there's all these GF promo posters on the floor, and nobody's in there. So I steal 2. Hey, nobody wanted them! So then the guy leads us to the room where Goo and all these people are hanging out. They all look really snooty... and most of them were. I walk in, and the first Goo I see is Mike. I think my heart stopped. It took me a few seconds to regain my composure, and I walk over to him. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey Mike, I'm Ellie.
Mike: Hey there, what's up? (we shake hands)
Me: (I proceed to tell him about Peter.)
Mike: Hey, Alex! (the guy next to him turns around, and Mike points at me.)
Me: Do you know Peter Schutmaat? (Alex instantly remembers him, without me explaining.)
Alex: Yeah, the guy that built my apartment!
Me: He's my neighbor.
Alex: Well you be sure to tell him hey, and to remind him of his new project for me!
Me: Sure thing! (I turn to Mike.) I've got some stuff for you to sign &
Mike: Sure! (He signs a drumstick for Susan, the GF promo posters I found on the ground, and my DUTG insert.)
Me: Thank you soo much. I think you are awesome.
Mike: (he grins) Thanks. I'll see you around!

So that was me and Mike. He is so much hotter in person, let me tell you! It was great. Then I see Robby... oh my god. Just thinking about it again gives me that feeling in my stomach.

I walk over to him; he's standing in a rather large group of people. I stand by the edge, not knowing what to do or say. A girl turns to me and says, "Girl, just push your way through and say hey. Go on!" So I do. I say, somewhat timidly, "Robby?" He turns around and at THAT INSTANT, his face lights up and he gives me this HUGE hug. He says, "I saw you!! You were dancing around and singing along, you are AWESOME! I love you!" And he hugs me tighter and I hug him tighter. I melted. I think that that was the best hug I've ever gotten. And not just because it's Robby. That hug was genuine. Robby is such a sweetheart! So finally he breaks the hug (it was a loong good hug) and he's inches away from my face. I tell him, "Look at my shirt!" I made it myself, and it says "Goo Goo Dolls" on the front, and "Takac" on the back, in an arc like a baseball shirt. He's like, "That is so awesome!" He leads me aside and says, "You know what? My parents' last name really had an "S" on the end, but they took it off when they came to America because they didn't want anyone to know they weren't American." I didn't know this and I was like, "Cool!!" He says, "So, what do you have for me to sign?" I set my armful of stuff down on the table, and he begins with the GF promo posters I picked up off the ground. It was ripped, so he starts coloring the white ripped part black because "It looks better this way!" He was so cute when he was coloring. I got a good look at his awesome hair. So he colors that part, and then signs both of them. He was interrupted for a bit while someone was talking to him, but I didn't mind in the least. Hell, I was HANGING WITH ROBBY! So then I hand him DUTG. He signs it. I hand him SSCW, and instead of signing it he begins to outline "Goo Goo Dolls" on the front in black. He outlined all of them except the "S". Don't know why! So then I hand him my FR. This is what I was waiting for. He takes it, takes a good look at it, opens it up, and pointes to the studio that produced it. Then he leans in really close to me, about one inch away from my face (I'm dying by this point) and he says, "Guess what?" Again, my, "What?" "I bought this studio, it's mine." I'm like, "Oh, that's the one in Buffalo, right?" "Yep!" So he bought the studio that made their first album. I think that's awesome. Then instead of signing the insert, he draws a little cartoon. It looks like a monkey. He wrote "Horton" underneath it. He says, "This is my cartoon dude. I draw him a lot." Then he signs his name. I'm laughing at him because he's so cute. I say, "Thank you SO much! I love Horton." And he gives me ANOTHER wonderful Robby hug, and then I say, "Robby, you are awesome. You're my favorite." He leans real close in to me, touches my forehead with his, and says, "Sweetie, you're my favorite too." I think my face was going to burst with my smile. Then I say, "I've got some things to give you." I hand him the note from my sister, which has a bracelet in it that she made for him. It's black and white and says "Gutterflower". He asks me what age my sister is, I say she's 13. Then he says, "Well tell your sister to watch Leno on 9/11, and I'll wear the bracelet! We'll be singing American Girl on 9/11. How fucked up is that?" I laugh. He writes on my sister's note, "Angela, watch Leno on 9/11 and I'll wear your bracelet!" Such a sweetheart. I hand him my note and tell him to not read it now because it's really long. He says, totally out of nowhere, so randomly, "We're making a video of American Girl. We taped some of it tonight. And you're on it!" I was freaking out but I managed to keep my cool, mostly. That is SO AWESOME. I suppose the video is going to be a concert video. How fucking cool is that? Well anyways, back to the story. I then tell him about how we're moving to CT the next day, and he says, "Oh, Connecticut is a wonderful place. You'll love it." Then he raises an eyebrow and asks me, "Do you have weird freaky friends here?" I laugh and say, "Yes, most definetly." He says, "Well, make some weird ones there!" And he winks. He gives me another huge bear hug and I tell him again that I think he's wonderful. He hugs me tighter and says, "Well babe, I'm glad, because I'm going to keep doing this as long as I can!" He KISSES ME on the cheek, ends the hug with a final squeeze, then puts both his hands on my face, leans close to me, and says something like, "Babe, have a wonderful life." I died. I DIED.

I didn't get to see Johnny, he wasn't there. Oh well. Oh freakin' well. I got to actually hang out with Robby!!! I then realized I forgot to give Susan's note to Mike, so I go and do that, and I say goodbye. I waved bye to Robby, and headed out the door.

I LOVE GOO, and I can't wait until they come around again. This was definetly an experience I will NEVER forget.