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 – https://www.sflinsider.com/2019/07/08/goo-goo-dolls-train/