Author: AG Crew

Cincy Magazine – 6 Questions with John Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls

The Goo Goo Dolls will be at Riverbend Music Center on July 24

by Danielle Cain

The Goo Goo Dolls are coming to Riverbend Music Center next week on July 24 at 7:00pm for their summer tour with Train! We had a chance to chat with lead singer John Rzeznik about touring, their new single and what he likes about Cincinnati.

Q: How is the tour going so far?

A: The tour’s been going great! We’ve been having a good time with Train. The crowd has been amazing—it’s like a big sing-along every night. Everybody knows every song! Well, almost every song…

Q: Right, your new single! You’ve said “Miracle Pill” is about instant gratification and quick fixes. Do you have concerns about young people coming of age in this environment?

A: Yeah, I think that their living standard is going to be lower when they grow up. The 18-to-20 year-old kids that I know are amazing. They seem less surly than my generation, the Gen Xs, when we were that age. I think they’re more conscientious of the world. But I also think that they’re lonely and isolated in many ways. And I believe live music is one of the ways you can keep and strengthen human connections.

Q: What can we expect from the other tracks on the upcoming album?

A: There’s really only one sort of ballad on the album, so it’s kind of up-tempo. They’re just songs about being human. It’s fragile, it’s beautiful, it’s terrifying. Those are all things you have to face and cope with everyday, but also enjoy.

Q: Do you enjoy that fans bring black balloons to your concerts?

A: Yeah, they should start bringing bigger black balloons! We always blow up a bunch of beach ball-sized ones, and I like that. Except that one will hit me in the face once in a while. I won’t see it coming because there’s a spotlight in my face, and bonk!

Q: You’ve been to Cincinnati a few times (Rzeznik says it’s been over 150 times!), do you have time on tour to enjoy any of the city?

A: I think we have a day off. I’m not sure! But if I do have a day off I’ll go cruising around. There’s some really great architecture in Cincinnati! And when you go across the bridge, to Covington, that’s a cool area. There are a lot of cool things to do there. I love that building downtown, the Carew Tower. There’s something about it. That building’s got a good soul to it.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

A: The single is out and you can get it anywhere on the internet! The full album comes out in September, and we’re going to be on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in August. Come on out and see the show, man!

Billboard – Goo Goo Dolls Find the Antidote in ‘Miracle Pill’ Video: Exclusive

by Bryan Kress

Definitive alt rock duo Goo Goo Dolls have a bright idea to solve what’s ailing modern society in the paint-splattered visual for their latest single “Miracle Pill,” premiering exclusively on Billboard today (July 16).

Directed by Ed Gregory and Dan Cooper, the visual finds frontman-singer John Rzeznik and Goos co-founder and bassist Robby Takac in a sensory-deprived void that reflects the song’s meditation on instant gratification and human connection. The band tempts the white room’s equilibrium with a few spills of paint before willfully descending into unrestrained colorful chaos. With a chance to take it all back during the song’s pivotal bridge, the band makes a decisive choice and leaves a lasting impression with their unmatched swagger.

The visual brings the song’s lyrical and sonic contrast to life as the deeper message of the resonant romp is animated by a clash of dull white and bountiful brightness.

“We wanted to do something vividly colorful and chaotic, and I think we achieved our objective,” Rzeznik tells Billboard.

With a vibrant pairing of lyrics and visual, the band illustrates their ability as a rock force to paint with the whole spectrum.

“Miracle Pill” is the titular track from the band’s upcoming twelfth album, expected to release in the fall via Warner Records. The band is currently on a co-headlining tour with Train and will follow the summer tour with select dates in South America starting in September. More information can be found on their website here.

Check out the visual for “Miracle Pill” below.



Headline Planet – Goo Goo Dolls’ “Miracle Pill” Ranks As Hot AC Radio’s Most Added Song

“Miracle Pill” tops this week’s hot adult contemporary add board.

By Brian Cantor

The new Goo Goo Dolls single received a healthy amount of support in conjunction with this week’s hot adult contemporary radio impact.

Picked up by 19 Mediabase-monitored Hot AC stations, “Miracle Pill” ranks as the format’s most added song.

Jonas Brothers’ “Only Human” narrowly follows in second place. The new “Happiness Begins” single landed at 18 new stations.

Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello’s “Señorita” follows in third with 17 pickups, while an add count of 14 slots Ellie Goulding & Juice WRLD’s “Hate Me” in fourth.

X Ambassadors’ “Hold You Down,” which landed at 9 stations, takes fifth place on this week’s add board.

This week’s other notable Hot AC options: Ed Sheeran’s “Beautiful People (featuring Khalid)” (6th-most, tie), Rob Thomas’ “Can’t Help Me Now” (6th-most, tie), Billie Eilish’s “bad guy” (8th-most), MAX’s “Love Me Less (featuring Quinn XCII)” (9th-most, tie) and Khalid’s “Talk” (9th-most, tie).

Cincy Music: Interview: Robby Takac of Goo Goo Dolls

By Jon Calderas

The Goo Goo Dolls were formed in 1986 and were shaped by a lot of my favorite bands from that era– Husker Du, Soul Asylum, and most of all, The Replacements. Strong songwriting, passion and drive resulted in them breaking through with the extraordinary “Name” and the smash “Iris”.  Strong work ethic and a no-nonsense Buffalo mindset have kept them in the game ever since. Like all those bands, their songwriting and sound has continued to evolve over their catalog. There’s not a lot of similarities between Husker’s Land Speed Recordand Candy Apply Gray, but I dig them both. The Goo Goo Dolls’ latest single (“Miracle Pill”) was just released and a new album is coming this fall. They are on the road with Train and Allen Stone for another month and they’ll be stopping at Riverbend on Wednesday, July 24th.

We chatted with bassist and founding member Robby Takac about how digital tools have changed their songwriting, what continues to drive them after all these years, paying back their community, why it’s a smart idea to play QVC and whether the future looks any brighter these days.

Catch Goo Goo Dolls with Train & Allen Stone at Riverbend Music Center on July 24!

You guys are really busy lately, you’re in the middle of your U.S. tour with Train, then you’re heading off to South America later in the year for Rock in Rio. How are the dates with Train going so far? That feels like a good match up of styles and audiences.

Yeah, it’s been even better than I had anticipated. We had a feeling, like, it was gonna be cool.  And Allen Stone is on this tour as well, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Allen or not. But the combination of these three bands is like, amazing. It really is, it’s a great show, man.  And I think the three bands are just different enough from each other to where it feels, I don’t know – there’s a great vibe throughout the night. Sometimes it feels like you’re getting your head bashed in all night – you know, sometimes it feels like you’re watching the three bands and it’s the same band three times or whatever. I feel like the vibe of this show is really, really nice, man.

Right, so it’s more of a complementary thing where the bands are working together…


I’ve been at some of those shows where the bill’s really similar and it feels like I saw the same band three times, I want a little changeup. 

Yeah, exactly.

That’s great. I was listening to your new single (“Miracle Pill”) several times because it’s super catchy. That was just released. It’s an interesting sound because it’s really piano-driven and it has what sounds like either string sections or you guys have simulated string sections. As I listened to it, it almost felt Beatlesque with a bit of “A Day in the Life” vibe with that intro with the piano. But when you guys started out, you were pretty much drums, bass, guitar. So, I’m really curious how you’re approaching new compositions, especially on a song like “Miracle Pill” where piano is such an integral part of it. How do you approach that composition? Do you start with the piano, or do you start with that great chorus or are you still building up from guitar?

You know that song itself, John just had the idea of the chorus and went in and worked with a guy named Sam Hollander – he’s done some stuff with Panic! at the Disco and a whole bunch of other bands, you can look him up – the list is crazy. He’s like a songwriter/producer type. So, they sort of worked from a chorus with that song. But you know, it’s interesting, we’ve been writing with guitars for so long, like an unbelievable amount of writing went on for this record that didn’t involve guitars. There’s probably a lot less guitar on this record than many of our records, honestly. I found myself doing the same thing – I think some of that has to do with the process of making records these days. Like with MIDI and such, working in digital forms. It allows you to do so many different types of things and experiment with so many different types of sounds that a lot of the stuff you end up doing when you’re trying to figure out what the song is, is stuff that you end up keeping along the way because these electronic parts become such an integral part of your song. A lot of the stuff you end up putting together as you’re sitting around kind of making you’re demo ends up on the record. And a lot of that stuff tends to be synth-based. It’s based on the idea of wanting things to sound a little bit different and you know, the way technology goes, I think we just sort of veered that way naturally a little bit.

It’s an interesting adaptation to tools, because 25 years ago, we all barely had computers and now we’ve got these amazing digital tools

Yeah, we were literally doing our demos on a cassette recorder with a microphone at the beginning, so it’s just a lot different now.

Is that better or worse?  It seems like in some ways it might be worse- it gives you more chances to revisit things and rethink them.

Yeah, yeah, it’s maddening, that’s for sure. You know, you’re never done. We were at a meet and greet the other day and this kid, singer-songwriter kid, you know, young kid came up and said to John, [chuckling], “When do you know when you’re done with your idea?” And I laughed and said, “Dude, you are asking the wrong guy.”  You know when we’re done?  When they tell us we need to deliver the master. You know? That’s when we’re done, we’re going to mess with it until then [laughing]. So, you know it really is pretty amazing, you know, for us having made records for all these years now, it’s like, every time we go in to do it there seems to be like a new way of going about looking at making music. As long as you can keep your head in your game and kinda know what you’re doing and keep the sensibilities that make your band what it is, using all these technologies and all these new ideas, bringing in new ideas from people – it can only make for a more exciting progression for your group, I think.

For sure – I have two questions/comments kind of related to that. I saw a quote from John recently that I thought was really beautiful and striking. I’m a photographer as well and I do a lot of portrait photography. And this really resonated with me, he said, “I just want to make a real connection with real people in real time.”  I’ve been a fan of you guys since I saw the video for “There You Are” years ago, then saw you open for Soul Asylum when Superstar Carwashcame out.  Those albums brought me a lot of comfort, I felt a connection with them. And I still remember, I had just got married and I was away from my wife working in the Middle East for my job and I would fall asleep listening to Hold Me Upand  “Two Days in February “ would come on and I’d go, “Man, this makes it better and it makes it worse at the same time”…

[Laughs] Yeah, yeah, right.

A lot of bands have the same technology, a lot of bands can write catchy songs, but you have this unique ability to connect with people emotionally as well and kind of find that emotional core. How do you go about finding that? The chorus is one thing, but then being able to connect and go, yeah, that’s not just catchy, there’s something that’s resonating with the listener…

I think in our case there’s a lot of avenues to every goal. I guess our thing is, we just try to write about things that really either mean something to us or we can see really, really means something to people in our lives or within our view. And I think if you speak honestly about that kind of stuff, even in the vague terms that you write a rock and roll song in, I think that it resonates with people because you’re talking about real stuff, you know? And I think in the same way that people attach to our records, you know, like a lot of that in-the-club music stuff too – that resonates with people. You know what I mean?

Right, for sure.

Yeah, like, I mean, you’re touching this thing that people go, “Yeah, that applies to me, that applies to my life.”  But when you talk about sort of like loftier concepts and the human condition and relationships- people share so many similar experiences, but, obviously played out in different scenarios.  I think if you speak of the things that have touched you deeply, chances are those things have touched some other people (laughing), those exact same things have touched some other people as well.  And I guess, that’s the idea.

That’s beautiful. This is kind of relates to a comment you made before about keeping your head straight. I used to watch 120 Minutes (on MTV) all the time on Sunday night…


And you guys were hosting, A Boy Named Goo had just come out and I remember John introducing the top albums of the week and he just kind of laughed to himself and said, “Don’t look for us there” [laughs]…


…and then not long after “Name” took off, and the album really took off and things just exploded for you guys. I always remember that really interesting self-deprecating comment and it sounds like success really took you genuinely by surprise. And you guys have kept it going for, as an overall band, 30-plus years. How in the world do you keep your head on straight and do that? And the other thing I think is awesome is that a lot of those bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s aren’t even around anymore or they’re not putting out new material, they’re touring on their back catalog. You guys are still making a lot of new material. You’re continuing to drive that.  Is it artistic restlessness that keeps you creating?

Yeah, that’s probably part of it.  Part of it is Buffalo.


Like, we’re dudes from Buffalo, man and if we don’t get up and go to work every day, we don’t know what the hell to do, you know?  And I think…(chuckling)…there’s this thing in the back of our heads, maybe a little bit more with John than with me, but this thing in the back of our heads where we’re pretty sure every day the bus is going to pull in and there’s just gonna be nobody there.


There’s this fear we have in our minds and I don’t know if that’s part of how we were raised or whatever.  But when it’s happening, do it. Make it work. Get on. Get on to the next thing, let’s do it. Let’s keep moving. I guess the one thing, you were saying that we’ve been consistently doing it, it was never a question of ‘if’ so much as it was just a question of ‘how’.  How were we going to make this work? I think as long as you keep that in mind, then you keep moving forward. So, one of the differencesbetween us and most of the bands that are out there right now from when we started is that – we didn’t decide to like move on, decide, hey man, this wasn’t working for us anymore.  Move onto something else, spend seven years, then decide to get back together to make a little bit of money, relive that glory time again.  That was never in our vocabulary at all, you know?  I think moving forward is just sort of the way we go about our day, you know[laugh]. We never thought about anything other than that, so I don’t think it was a conscious decision in any way, other than, like I said, to just figure out how to keep it moving and hope you’re making the right move so you know, you’ll still have some people there, you can still play your songs and we don’t gotta get a job at a shoe store or something.

[Laughing] That was a lot of my motivation to go to college and work hard at it. I grew up near Cleveland and I thought, I don’t want to be working in an auto factory or steel mill, you know that was the drive, you know, that’s really hard work.

Yeah, yeah – you know, I think our band was pretty willing to try things that a lot of bands wouldn’t do when we first kind of broke. Once again, I go back to this Buffalo thing. Like, when we got offered something, we’d be like, of course we’re going to do that. Back then, like in ’95, bands all the time would get offers to do county fairs and stuff like that. Nobody would ever do them, I don’t know – they were like, “We don’t want to go out and play in the middle of a field for a bunch of hayseeds” that was their view of it. But to us, we were like, “Well, it’s worth a shot” and we started doing them and we realized that that’s the place people let their kids go. And all of a sudden, there were like five thousand more people there. And we were like, oh wow, this is great. QVC came to us at one point and we were like, “Oh, God, this looks horrible doesn’t it?” And we were like, let’s give it a whirl. And like, dude, I’m telling ya it was one of the greatest things we ever did. I don’t know, it’s weird, you just gotta open yourself up to these opportunities that come your way. I think, not be too set in your ways as to “this is what we need to happen.” So many opportunities are going to come and if you don’t accept those opportunities and make them work for you, you’re wasting energy, good energy that could be coming your way. So, I think that’s another thing – that we’ve always tried to do whatever – someone comes along and asked if we want to play on Home Garden TV, we’re in man. You know?  

[Laughing] Nice…

Yeah, yeah – you know?  Who woulda thought? Who woulda thought when we were playing at Maxwell’s and CBGB’s that we’d be having a discussion on Home and Garden TV, you know, but you know, that’s what happens.

You and the band have been really generous in giving a lot back to the community.  I know you have your own charity, the Music is Art Foundation and you guys are doing work with folks like USA Harvest, food banks and performing at Artists for Autism, which I thought was incredibly generous way of giving back your time. Is that a way of paying back some of the good karma that’s come your way?

Yeah, and I think any time you can lend your name or spend an afternoon and raise a half a million dollars for a hospital (laughs) you know, if you don’t do that then you’re just some kind of jerk (laughing) you know, right? You know, I mean really [laughing]. We get offers from people and then you start to feel that, start to see the things you can do and so it gives you ideas to do other things. We’ve got an incredibly amazing fanbase of people who have been with us for a really long time that support the things we believe in and the things we do. So, it makes it easy.  I guess if it was a struggle, we probably wouldn’t do it because it would be a struggle and we’re in own struggle here, as is everyone. But it just feels like a natural part of what we’re doing. Every year we try to do something. We’re actually in the midst of, we in the past have worked with this organization that does swabs for bone marrow transplants. We’re in the midst of putting that together to bring along on our fall tour. 

That’s fantastic

Yeah, yeah, there are a just lot of organizations out there that have figured out how to take this kind of thing and mobilize it for good, so why not, you know? [laughing]

Amen, that’s really amazing and generous of you. One last one, and this may be a quick answer. I was always struck by this lyric on “Only One.” So, 25 years ago, almost, John had this great lyric: “The past is a bully and the future’s even worse”.

Yeah, yeah, right [laughing].

So, you’ve lived a bit more of that future now. What’s your take looking back on that lyric, looking at your past and your future from that point of view? Has it been worse than expected or better?

Uh, [amused voice], I think that, uh- I’ve known him for thirty-five years and he feels the same way today

[Laughs hard].

[Laughing hard] That’s fantastic, that’s a great line to end on. Beautiful

The Sarasota Post – Goo Goo Dolls and Train Roll into the Tampa Mid-Florida Amphitheater

By Vicky Sullivan

Train and the Goo Goo Dolls, along with opening act Allen Stone, closed out the July 4th weekend on a rainy Sunday in Tampa Bay. The crowd of 11,500, didn’t seem to care about the weather but, the people on the lawn came prepared with chairs and rain gear! Nothing was going to stop their good time.

Buffalo, New York’s Goo Goo Dolls have been around since the mid-80’s, when they were playing punk, are still rockin’ it in their 50’s! After a slew of 90’s and early 00’s hits, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac are still running back and forth on the stage like they did when I first saw them over 20 years ago. Making their entrance to the opening notes of “Stay with Me”, the crowd was on their feet, moving right into the rocker “Big Machine”. RZ, wearing a black tank top, brought out an acoustic guitar for 1998 “Dizzy Up the Girl’s” hit “Slide”. Another tune from that album “Black Balloon” which has been a staple on the Goo setlist, complete with the audience bouncing black balloons around as John tells the sad story of a friend with a heroin addiction. Robby was doing his usual antics of running around but also took to the microphone for a great version of “Bringing on the Light”.

A great rockin’ anthem coming from the 2016 album “Boxes” was so “So Alive”. The GGD may be known for their 90’s hits but they continue to make new music. They gave us a sample of their new record due out in September with the recently released single “Miracle Pill”. One of the songs that put them on the map more than 20 years ago, “Name”, had Johnny humorously telling the audience that he wasn’t sure what he was going to do with his life at that time. He was bartending and working in a convenience store. It turned out alright since “Name” was nominated for a Grammy in1995. The encore was that still amazing musical emotional extravaganza of “Iris” and New York themed sing-along “Broadway”. The Goo Goo Dolls are still one of the best live bands around!

Pat Monahan with Train at the Tampa Mid-Florida Amphitheater on tour!
The band from the bay of the west, San Francisco, Pat Monahan and Train opened with their hit “Calling All Angels”! Following with “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” had the audience up and singing along! Pat Monahan’s voice is as good as it gets with that killer falsetto. Their anthem to San Fran, “Save Me, San Francisco”, came with balloons and images of the Golden Gate Bridge on the big screen. For a fun part of the show, Pat brings out opener Allen Stone for a duet of the hit “Bruises”! I will get to Allen Stone I promise! Stone’s voice is an amazing soul sound! He and Monahan really shine on this collaboration.

“Meet Virginia” is another Train crowd favorite before bringing out John Rzeznik on a cover of Tom Petty’s “American Girl with some “Free Fallin’” thrown in. The Goo Goo Dolls have had “American Girl” on their setlist for many years and has become a favorite at Goo shows! Monahan and Rzeznik are clearly having fun on this homage to Petty. The beautiful wedding song “Marry Me” shows a backdrop of wedding scenes rolling along with the song. A real treat is the cover of Queen’s “Under Pressure” with Train guitarist, Tampa’s own Luis Maldonado and bassist Hector Maldonado. “Hey, Soul Sister” has the crowd dancing in the aisles! The Finale was the 2001 “Drops of Jupiter”, with Monahan in flying position for the atmosphere! A great summer tour of music, don’t miss it!

Soul singer Allen Stone opened for Goo Goo Dolls and Train concert at the Tampa Mid-Florida Amphitheater.
Soul singer Allen Stone opened this show! Mr. Stone has appeared on “Live from Daryl’s House” and opened for Hall & Oates on their 2017 tour. His fan base has been growing as people have been discovering his sound. Stone is a modern soulster with an amazing R&B voice. Be sure and check him out on Facebook and YouTube!
Photos included – click the link below

Photos by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post

Rocket Sports & Entertainment – Train Pulls Into Tampa With The Goo Goo Dolls and Allen Stone


Allen Stone, Goo Goo Dolls, Train 07-09-17

MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre Tampa, FL

Serving up a ‘Miracle Pill’ filled with ‘Drops of Jupiter”

The tumbling grey clouds covered the sky over the MidFL Credit Union Amphitheatre, as anyone would expect for Tampa this time of year. The little bits of thunder could be heard faintly in rhythm with Allen Stone’s music.

Playing through a six-song set, Allen’s take on ‘Is This Love’ from Bob Marley was a great middle cover. Dancing in sync with his bassist and guitarist, their routine was a great way to get the intro to the show going.

Playing through ‘Unaware’, ‘Taste of You’, and ‘Voodoo’, the set was short, but entertaining. His smooth vocals, and audience participation helped to warm everything up.

Playing in the middle were the Goo Goo Dolls. Originally formed in Buffalo, NY they have been around for over 30 years, and remain largely unchanged. Their stage presence and energy has kept long-time fans coming back for more and take people ‘just there for the headliner’ and turns them into fans.

Literally jumping onto the stage in front of a red ‘curtain’ on the LED boards, lead guitarist Johnny Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac (the two original members still playing), and their touring musicians. Robbie was playing in his unconventional barefoot and rolled up pants attire and had more energy than I have seen from him in ages.

Opening up their 15-song set with ‘Stay With You’ from Dizzy Up The Girl Johnny definitely had on his singing shoes. Getting the audience on their feet dancing, and singing along, it was a great way to say ‘Hi Tampa!!’

Up next was ‘Big Machine’. Another stellar song, and had both Johnny and Robby trading out for different guitars. This was something you usually see a few times per set, not nearly every song. It just goes to show how intently and how passionately they play.

‘Slide’ rounded out the first three songs and wrapped up an opening trio from Dizzy. This greatly loved, and deeply personal song got the few stragglers out of their seats and on their feet. They started taking full advantage of the LED boards behind them, and showcased galactic backgrounds, and other things that gave a feeling of being a kid again.

During ‘Black Balloon’ they released about 30 different sized black balloons and beachballs. They were being tossed around the crowd for the next few songs too. Watching people straining across rows to get a shot to pass them along was a great sight considering how serious people take life these days.

‘Name’ elicited the biggest crowd reaction so far during the set. As their first break through song, and their first real step away from their punk roots, it’s a tune that nearly everyone over the age of 30 has a memory of. Filling the audience in on a little history, Johnny shared “this song was written as I was trying to decide what to do with my life”.

A great way to introduce new singles is to use them to follow up your top hit. ‘Miracle Pill’ is that new single. While the tone of this new single might sound familiar, the subject matter and tempo are new. It still fits their style of music perfectly. You could see some fans singing along, but many were content to just move to the groove.

‘Better Days’ was played two songs later (at 13) and this song is the ‘unofficial anthem’ of the City of Buffalo, and in particular its sports teams. For many though, it’s a song to inspire hope in ultimately more dire circumstances. Fighting cancer, facing divorce, etc. this is a song that just says it all for these big moments people face in life. Looking around the audience I caught a few people wiping away tears as they sung along.

The tears kept flowing for some as ‘Iris’ was up next. Now I’ve heard Johnny sing this as he strums his Taylor acoustic numerous times, but this time it seemed to have more passion than ever before. It really felt like he had made that connection emotionally with the audience that every fan hopes to get, and every musician needs to feel. Closing the song with an extended solo, it was a great touch.

You can’t walk off stage on a note like that though. Closing with ‘Broadway’, the band ramped back up the energy for the crowd. The sing along was louder than before, and that energy blistered through the fans as the set ended with Johnny blowing the audience a kiss before leaving the stage.

“Choo-Choo” that famous train sound roared across the arena as Train hit the stage very suddenly. As people raced back to their seats from the beer stands, ‘Calling All Angels’ came across the speakers with force. A song that still is on the grocery store playlists across the globe had people dancing in the isles and singing aloud.

Ending the song with light sparkler pyrotechnics, they rocked right into ’50 Ways to Say Goodbye’ as the second song of the 15 song main set. With a mariachi band playing on screen with sugar skulls, and red, white, & green in the background, they solidified the Mexican influence the song has on it. Capping the song off with a shower of red and white confetti, it felt out of place. These effects are usually reserved for the end of a show.

After a drum solo ‘It its Love’ played as Pat Monahan took time to encourage fans to light up the amp for him to take a video to share with everyone. Looking back, the number of lights and lighters in the sky was simply amazing.

Following up with ‘Get to Me’ a challenge was laid out; could the Tampa fans dance better? Later on it was announced that the fans danced better than the fans in Georgia. The prideful roar in response to that news was nearly deafening.

What good is one challenge without another? Pitting section against section, the first lines of ‘Save Me San Francisco’ became an audience participation contest. With no clear winner, more beachballs made their way out to the audience. Naturally of course they stayed going for quite some time.

Allen Stone made his way back on stage for his rendition of the Alicia Keys chorus of ‘Empire State of Mind’ as an into to ‘Bruises’. Pat and Allen really sing well off one another and their chemistry is terrific. Announcing the hometown performance for guitarist Luis Maldonado, he was given a shot at a solo and was just a bit less than expected. Pat gave him another shot later on, and he nailed it.

Taking advantage of this solo time Pat came back out wearing a Train shirt. While performing ’Meet Virginia’ he brought out a bunch of other shirts to toss out. Walking around he had the whole band sign the Train shirt he now had on, as he tossed it out to a kid in the front row.

Johnny Rzeznik came back out to sing ‘American Girl’ and the audience sang along as best they could. It was obvious that as much as people may love this song, many of us only know the chorus. Before Johnny walked off, they took the time to take a selfie together with the audience.

Luis took up the majority of the vocals for ‘Under Pressure’ after a small sing back and forth with the audience from Pat ala Freddy Mercury. He even joked about how we all had seen the movie and knew how this worked.

Featuring a snippet of ‘In my Feelings’ as an intro, ‘Hey Soul Sister’ and ‘Play That Song’ rounded out the main set. Pat’s voice was noticeably suffering by this point, but he was still with it. He walked off the stage first as the song ended. While some people were heading for the exits as the music went away, most people stayed and cheered for more.

Coming back out, they played a two-song encore; ‘Great Escape’ (a Pat Monahan track), and ‘Drops of Jupiter’ to end the night. As it was their biggest single, it was a great tune to end the night with.

Talking with fans on the way out, they were excited to have seen the show. One woman said “I’ve seen Train 4 times, and the Goo Goo Dolls 7 times. I’ve never heard either band better.”

The tour continues on to Alpharetta, GA on 10JUL19 and goes on through 17AUG19 in Mansfield, MA.

Click through for photo set:

SFL Insider – Generational Pop Rockers Overtake West Palm Beach

By Janice Konigsberg

On Saturday evening the Goo Goo Dolls and Train along with opening act Allen Stone performed what really can best be described as uplifting music all night long. There was just so much positivity and high energy that fans seemed to be infected frozen smiles everywhere.

Allen Stone kicked things off with a soulful performance that even had a fun choreographed dance routine during part of one of his songs. The fast-rising R&B band was definitely welcoming for the early arrivals at the show. However, chart-toppers the Goo Goo Dolls really ramped things up when they took the stage with their extensive catalogue of hits including: Iris, Slide, Sympathy, Stay With You, Big Machine, Slide, Rebel Beat, Here Is Gone, Black Balloon, So Alive, Name and Over and Over.

Their set began with the anthem Stay With You, which had the now completely filled amphitheatre and fully crowded lawn section cheering, dancing and singing along with every lyric. But, as much as frontman Johnny Rzeznik led the crowd on the ultimate sing-a-longs, bassist/vocalist Robby Takac took it up a notch with uncanny enthusiasm running, dancing and jumping all over the stage. Between the two, they’ve been performing together for more than 30 years. Yet, the pair’s theatrics weren’t alone. As a treat to those in attendance, when Black Balloon began, you guessed it, black balloons were released out into the gleeful audience and batted back and forth to the music.  As one concert goer, Jennifer, said to me online while waiting for the restroom during the band change/intermission, “They (Goo Goo Dolls) are the quintessential 90’s band, totally reminds me of my youth!”

After the super brief intermission, Train was next. Lead vocalist Patrick Monahan, bass/vocalist Hector Maldonado, guitarist Luis Maldonado, keyboard/guitarist Jerry Becker and backup vocalists Sakai Smith and Nikita Houston appeared on the stage, amid the sounds of a locomotive train horn blowing along with video and bright lights. The loud visuals immediately woke the crowd back up and not wasting any time, the band jumped right into heir monstrous hit Calling All Angels. Throughout their performance, an array of theatrics took place such as cannons shooting off confetti and streamers, plus a plethora of captivating visuals behind them on a video screen. Monahan connected with the audience as he chatted with us throughout the show and it was also clear to see his emotion and love for music, singing and performing throughout. During the song Meet Virginia, the guitar solo performed by band member Luis Maldonado was also quite impressive.

When Allen Stone came back on stage to perform Bruises with him, he joked that Stone “…agreed to sing the song with him, but not make it weird!” Following up with his antics of throwing band tee-shirts out to the crowd, having the full band sign the one he was wearing to throw out to the pit, aiming cameras out to the audience for callouts and singing along, Train surely knows how to engage their audience.  The Led Zeppelin covers of Whole Lotta Love and Heartbreaker truly roused the crowd along with Queen cover Under Pressure – talk about a sing-a-long!

After their final number, Play That Song, a continued thunderous standing ovation had Train returning to stage for an amazing encore of Great Escape and Drops of Jupiter, which only brought more and more cheers from the super hyped up crowd.

Both the Goo Goo Dolls and Train brought their greatest hits and new music to the performance with great stage presence and enthusiasm. The artists and the audience all shared in their passion for music, which I thought made for an amazing night for all. If each stop on the tour gets this kind of performance, do yourself a favor and get out there to go see them – so worth it!

Click link for photos –

Creative Loafing – An ageless Goo Goo Dolls and Train owned the stage during rainy Tampa concert

May today’s bands have as much energy 20 years down the road.

By Emma Witmer

In the modern era of music, the age of the rock band has largely given way to the single-spotlight singer. Don’t get me wrong, the band is by no means dead. Musical giants like Mumford and Sons, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend remain loyal to the united sound, single moniker image and enjoy prominent spaces on the charts today. Still, the sheer dominance of the rock band that can fill arenas has waned since the ‘90s.

But I miss rock bands. I miss the guitar solos and drums not recorded from a keyboard. The epic saga of the rock band, though, is riddled with substance abuse, infighting and earth-shattering breakups. It makes me wonder how any band could survive decades of success and still genuinely enjoy sharing the stage.

Well, The Goo Goo Dolls and Train do. Both bands share the kind of chemistry you hope to see from groups who have been playing together for so long. When their co-headlining tour hit the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre stage Sunday night, that became abundantly clear.

Whether they were in the lawn or claiming the coveted covered seats, the ‘90s and ‘00s radio-pop-rock fans bobbing along to Allen Stone’s opening performance were all soaked. Moms in old tour tees, dads hauling dueling beers to the wife, young couples on date night (and myself) all slicked back wet hair and watched the clock as the concert monsoon season raged on.

At 7:45 p.m., it was on. Former hard-living rocker and newly minted family man Johnny Rzeznik took the stage hauling a massive white guitar with black lightning bolts. Legendary bandmate Robby Takac and supporting musicians followed suit. The all-black-clad rockers launched into “Stay With You.” Headbanging commenced.

These guys love being on stage. Rocking through the band’s big hits and newer singles, Rzeznik and Takac committed to a ceaseless bounce, skipping around the stage, throwing out power kicks and thrusting mics into the air. At 53 and 54 years old respectively, these guys still bring the energy of rockers half their age. And like rockers half his age, when Rzeznik smirks at the crowd, the girls scream.

Rzeznik, in true star form, swapped guitars for every song, shredding electrics for high-energy tracks like “Big Machine,” and trading them out to pluck acoustics for undeniable sing-alongs like “Slide.” In a standout moment of the evening, all the lights dropped save a beam on the keyboard. With the melody to “Black Balloon” ringing through the air, massive black balloons rained into the crowd, bubbling from hand to hand. Honestly, chills.

Takac got a few moments in the spotlight as well, lending his vocals to “Free of Me” and “Brining on the Light.” I don’t know that I ever fully appreciated Takac until that moment. There’s a certain gruff, nasally controlled quality to his voice that is more reminiscent of the hipster folk bands of this era. I was into it. Midway through the show, Rzeznik took a moment to reminisce on one of the earliest moments of his career, the day he wrote “Name.”

“I asked myself, ‘What am I qualified to do in life?’” Rzeznik remembered, saying he reasoned he could bartend, or work at a gas station “shoving cigarettes through the bulletproof glass.” Or he could make music. So he sat down on the couch in his old apartment and wrote the now-iconic song.  With the crowd on its feet singing his legacy, Rzeznik and Goo Goo Dolls’ lasting impact on its audience was clear.

“Thank you for remembering this,” Rzeznik said.

As Goo Goo Dolls’ hour-long set came to a close, my friend Lindsey and I received a confused look of approval from a beer-hawking concessions guy. We were headbanging to “Iris.” Did I first hear that song on the Treasure Planet soundtrack? Maybe (the song on the soundtrack was actually “I’m Still Here”). Was I ashamed of that? Hell no.

After an intermission long enough for what certainly looked like every woman in the venue to hop in line for the bathroom, the faint sound of an approaching train grew louder and louder until the whole audience caught the hint and started screaming.

“Callin’ all angels!” Train lead singer Patrick Monahan yelled into the crowd, beginning the first of many call and response moments with, “I won’t give up if you don’t you don’t give up.”

Suddenly, Monahan swept his hands down to the side, and the music was wiped out. The band re-entered with an electric guitar solo that sent the crowd leaping to its feet. Like Goo Goo Dolls, Monahan can’t help but have fun; he joked with the crowd about the “beauty” of “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” (a song about telling your friend that your ex died in a variety of accidents), and inciting mom-on-mom dance-offs in the pit. As Monahan put it, “This has been the most fun tour of our lives.”

And what’s Train without a few sappy moments?

Belting out the ballad, “Marry Me,” the band was backed by romantic clips from wedding footage, culminating with video from Monahan’s own nuptials. Overhead, cameras swept through the crowd, kiss-cam style, capturing sweet moments from couples in the crowd.

After a nearly complete sweep of Train’s discography, and a duet between Monahan and Allen Stone for “Bruises,” the moment finally arrived. “Meet Virginia.” OK, so not the moment you were thinking of, but it was my moment. Guitarist Luis Maldonado stole the stage by diving into an impassioned electric solo. You would think it was enough, but no.

“You’d think he would’ve given you another guitar solo, right?” Monahan yelled into the crowd.

And he did. He absolutely shredded.

Rezeznik returned to the stage to join Train for a jamming rendition of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ “American Girl,” a nice little nod to the Florida audience. The number-one cover of the night, though, came when Maldonado broke out his double-neck guitar. Duetting with Monahan for Queen’s “Under Pressure,” Maldonado showed off his vocal range by getting about as close to Mr. Mercury as reasonably possible.

The only cringey moment of the night came when Monahan interrupted “Soul Sister” to sample Drake’s “In My Feelings.” That was truly painful.

Calling on the audience to finish “Play That Song,” the band shot red and write streamers into the air and exited the stage.

Needless to say, that didn’t last. The roar of an unsatisfied crowd brought the band back, performing Monahan’s single “Great Escape.”

Finally, the crowd went nuts as the familiar intro to “Drops of Jupiter” rang out. This was the real moment the audience had been waiting for. Train pulled out all the stops for this one. Pyrotechnics shot off and confetti rained over a crowd that was nearly drowning out the band just by singing along. As the confetti began to settle on the ground, and the band said goodnight, we suddenly found ourselves “back in the atmosphere,” hustling out to meet the traffic and ducking into the last bit of rain.

Here’s hoping that today’s bands have the same kind of longevity, chemistry and energy that these bands do in 20 years. That was hard to beat.