Elliott Gordon Photographer/Writer
Nestled within the historic Chastain Park in northern Atlanta, the Cadence Bank Amphitheatre played host to the Goo Goo Dolls on a steamy Sunday night. With a posted capacity of nearly 7,000, this summer-months-only outdoor facility was opened back in 1944 and has been decreed as “Atlanta’s Oldest Outdoor Music Venue.” Perhaps apropos to the venue setting, the veteran rockers are out on the road promoting their latest and fourteenth studio release, Chaos in Bloom, while being supported by Texas-based Blue October.
. Starting the evening off around 7:30pm with “Coal Makes Diamonds,” the opening track from their eighth studio release Home, was alt-rock band Blue October. Formed in 1995, the band is currently composed of singer/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld, Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums), Ryan Delahoussaye (multi-instrumentalist), Matt Noveskey (bass) and Will Knaak (lead guitarist). I will embarrassingly admit that somehow Blue October had seemingly fallen through my musical net over the years, but one is easily drawn into the passionate and personal messages delivered within their melodic and energetic songwriting.
In fact, doing a little research on the band, I came to learn that many of Furstenfeld’s song lyrics were developed through an auto-biographical lens, including themes that dealt with the struggles of addiction and a bipolar disorder. Arguably their most well-known song (nearing 100 million views on YouTube), “Hate Me,” speaks to how depression and drugs damaged the relationship Furstenfeld had with his girlfriend. That isn’t to say that their set was littered with gloomy, depressing music – in fact the opposite. Blue October’s songs were insightful, intelligent, and looked to deliver upon a message of hopefulness. As irony would have it, I received a Facebook notification just this morning that Blue October would be returning to Atlanta in early December, so I am looking forward to another opportunity to catch them live later this year.
Justin Furstenfeld– Lead vocals, Guitar
Jeremy Furstenfeld– Drums, Backing vocals
Ryan Delahoussaye– Violin, Mandolin, Guitar, Keyboard, Backing vocals
Matt Noveskey– Bass, Backing vocals
Will Knaak– Lead guitar, Backing vocals
1.) Coal Makes Diamonds
2.) Oh My My
3.) Say It
4.) Fight for Love
5.) Into the Ocean
6.) Hate Me
8.) This Is What I Live For
10.) Moving On (So Long)
11.) I Hope You’re Happy
With the sun finally set and the evening temperatures a bit more tolerable, Goo Goo Dolls founding members John Rzeznik (guitar/lead vocals) and Robbie Taykac (bass/vocals) took to the stage shortly after 9:00pm to a loud and welcoming capacity crowd. Backed by touring members Brad Fernquist (guitar), Craig Macintyre (drums), and Jim McGorman (keyboards), the band launched into the first track off their new album, “Yeah, I Like You.”
Having sold over 15 million records that helped garner four Grammy Award nominations, it goes without saying that the Goo Goo Dolls owned radio airplay during the back-half of the nineties, and I fully expected (and hoped) that the night would be filled with the nostalgia hits of that era. The band delivered immediately with their second tune, performing an energy-lifting rendition of the 1988 chart-topper “Slide” from their sixth studio album, Dizzy Up the Girl.
The 21-song setlist (posted below) was a deep cross-section of their musical catalog, appealing to a crowd that saw many families in attendance Sunday night. Immediately recognizable hits such as “Naked,” “Black Balloon,” “Name,” and “Broadway” were scattered throughout the amazing song choices for the night, with strong vocal performances from both Rzeznik and Taykac. In a light-hearted moment midway through the set Rzeznik joked that “they were going to play some new songs, so gentlemen, if you have to go pee, do it now.” You could hear the laughter lead into the performances of “War” and “Going Crazy,” two of the new tracks off Chaos in Bloom which was only recently released back on August 12th.
The main setlist was closed out by a deafening performance of the Goo Goo Dolls’ signature song, “Iris.” You can watch the video below, but I can assure you there wasn’t a single person not singing along with Rzeznik. It was such a lively conclusion to the show that you almost didn’t want it to be followed by an encore. However, they did return to the stage after a brief break to play two more songs, including wrapping up the concert with a cool Tom Petty cover of “Runnin’ Down a Dream.”
The Goo Goo Dolls head to Sugar Land, Texas, on Tuesday, and continue on across the country through the end of November. This band is not to be missed, playing at a high level with a wonderful song mix that celebrates their appreciated past while supporting their more recent musical releases.
Goo Goo Dolls
John Rzeznik– Guitar, Lead vocals, Occasional keyboards
Robby Takac– Bass, Vocals, Occasional guitar
Brad Fernquist– Guitar, Mandolin, Backing vocals
Craig Macintyre– Drums, Percussion
Jimmy McGorman– Keyboards, Guitar, Backing vocals
1.) Yeah, I Like You
3.) Big Machine
4.) Here Is Gone
5.) Black Balloon
7.) Miracle Pill
8.) Over and Over
9.) Lucky Star
10.) Free of Me
11.) Come to Me
14.) So Alive
16.) Going Crazy
17.) Life’s a Message
18.) Bringing on the Light
20.) Better Days
22.) Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy
23.) Runnin’ Down a Dream ( Tom Petty cover)
Link to photos: https://allmusicmagazine.com/goo-goo-dolls-blue-october-slide-into-cadence-bank-amphitheatre-in-atlanta-georgia-on-sunday-august-28-2022/