By Tammy Greene
It’s that time of the year when FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, California kicks off their summer concert season.
Sunday, June 16th, Train and the Goo Goo Dolls on their co-headlining tour along with Allen Stone, made a stop on an unpredictable day, weather-wise.
In the past, it’s taken me a minimum of an hour and a half to get to FivePoint if all goes well, so I take the train (Railroad). I have my gear, (camera bag, and lens belt) and I’m ready to catch the train, on a sunny 90-degree day.
Arriving at Irvine Train Station, which is across the tracks (5 min. walk) to FivePoint, there is no sun, and it’s not 90-degrees, the sky is dark, and the threat of rain looms.
Once inside the Amphitheatre the fans are filing in, they all know something I don’t, wearing jackets and carrying umbrellas, but I still had hoped we would get through this show fine.
That didn’t last long as we started to feel a light mist, heading to the photo pit for the openers Allen Stone. Their short set was a great warm-up, with a combination of Soul/R&B.
Up next a band I have seen several times over the years, and it never gets old.
The Goo Goo Dolls have plenty to celebrate, three decades Goo have been rocking the masses, the 20th Anniversary of their Grammy-nominated quadruple-platinum album Dizzy Up The Girl. That’s not all, releasing later this year is their twelfth studio album Miracle Pill.
Weather update….. it’s raining. The fans are getting anxious; us photographers are doing our best to keep the gear dry, I notice the stagehands putting covers over the guitars in the rack. A little rain didn’t stop the capacity crowd from having a good time.
As the Goo Goo Dolls enter the stage, everyone seemed to forget what was falling from the sky. Guitarist Brad Fernquist, keyboardist/backup vocalist Jim McGorman, and drummer Craig MacIntyre, bassist Robby Takac, frontman/guitarist Johnny Rzeznik kick off the set with Stay With You, from the album Let Love In.
Yep, just like I remembered it, all was well at FivePoint from then on.
Big Machine, from the album Gutterflower, followed, rounding out the first three songs with Slide, from the album Dizzy Up The Girl. It was now time for us photographers to leave the pit, as Rzeznik address the fans, stating “it’s not a good hair day, let it go” I glanced up at him, smiled and laughed as I was leaving the pit.
This show took the fans down memory lane, songs in the set were from albums, Dizzy Up The Girl, Gutterflower, Let Love In, Magnetic, and Boxes.
Also, from their 1995 album, A Boy Named Goo, Rzeznik remanence about three decades of the Goo Goo Dolls, he recalls sitting in an attic apartment in Buffalo, New York approximately nine years into the band, when he wrote Name. “This was the first song I ever wrote that got radio time, so it was our first hit song.”
Rzeznik speaks about their new album, stating they are a working band they still put out new music, as the fans cheer, “don’t cheer yet you haven’t heard the song, pretend you know it.” Miracle Pill from the upcoming album with the same name. By the fan’s reaction, the song was a hit.
No Goo Goo Dolls show is complete without fan favorites, closing out their set with Iris and Broadway from the album Dizzy Up The Girl.
Stay With You/ Big Machine/ Slide/ Rebel Beat/ Here Is Gone/ Black Balloon/ Free of Me/ So Alive/ Sympathy/ Name/ Miracle Pill/ Bringing on the Light/ Over and Over/ Better Days/ Iris/ Broadway
I was excited to see what Train has put together, this being the first time seeing them live. Train is touring behind their Greatest Hits Album, released on November 9, 2018. This album features fan favorites, Meet Virginia, Drops of Jupiter, Hey Soul Sister, a cover of George Michael’sCareless Whisper featuring Sax man Kenny G.
After a thirty minute break to change over the set. There’s a Traincoming, blasting the horn, blinded by the headlight.
As you see the silhouette of frontman Patrick Monahan front and center, along with bassist Hector Maldonado, keyboardist Jerry Becker, guitarist Luis Maldonado, backup vocalist Nikita Houston and Sakai Smith, opening with Calling All Angels from the album My Private Nation.
50 Ways To Say Goodbye from the album California 37 followed, I love this song, the lyrics make me laugh, the tempo is upbeat and fun. At the beginning of the song, a cameraman came through and notified us, photographers, that confetti shoots off during the song, so be aware of the cannons.
Not knowing when, we went on with our business of photographing, poof the cannons shot off streamers, with the air being so heavy due to rain, it shot over us like a net, it was hysterical trying to get out of it.
Rounding out the first three songs with If It’s Love from the album Save Me San Francisco, Monahan working the stage, taking out his cell phone to snap a couple of photos. Time to put the gear away, go to my seat, and enjoy the rest of the show.
White balloons bounced around the fans during Save Me, San Franciscofrom the album with the same name. Monahan calls out Allen Stonefor Cab, from the album For Me, It’s You, and Bruises from the collection California 37.
Monahan explaining they both were a mentor’s on American Idol, as Monahan asked if they could be best friends, Stone’s response you’re damn right we can be Pat!
By now I am thoroughly impressed, I love Monahan, he is a showman, working the stage, always smiling, having fun with the audience, he has a vibe that draws you to him.
There is a little history, as Monahan explains, “true story this is from our first album that was recorded right here.” Meet Virginia from their self-titled album, the crowd singing every word. After the first guitar solo, Monahan introduces guitarist Luis Maldonado, stating he was from here, probably stretching it a bit. He thought Maldonado would of giving the fans a better solo, he’ll give him a second chance.
While Maldonado shreds the solo, Monahan is tossing t-shirts it the crowd, taking out a sharpie and signing the shirt he was wearing, making his rounds to the other band members for them to sign.
Fans rushed to the front waving their arms, wanting that shirt, Monahan faked a toss, and dropped the shirt, it was like all the air got sucked out of the Amphitheatre with the sigh from the fans, before the end of the song Monahan tossed it to a fan.
Performing a couple of tributes to phenomenal artists, we have lost. Tom Petty cover American Girl with Free Fallin outro. And a Queen cover Under Pressure, both done to perfection.
Closing out their set with Hey, Soul Sister from the album Save Me San Francisco following with Play That Song, from A Girl, A Bottle, A Boat. Leaving the stage waving to the crowd.
As the fans continued cheering, Train came back to the stage for a two song encore.
Opening with Pat Monahan’s solo work, Great Escape from the album Last of Seven, followed by fan-favorite Drops of Jupiter, from the album with the same name.
Rain brought a different elements to the show, we all were in it till the end, making new memories.
Catch this show, the tour runs till the middle of August, you won’t be disappointed.
Calling All Angels/ 50 Ways to Say Goodbye/ If It’s Love/ Get to Me/ Save Me San Francisco/ Cab/ Bruises/ Meet Virginia/ American Girl (Tom Petty cover)/ When I Look to the Sky/ Marry Me/ Drive By/ Angel in Blue Jeans/ Under Pressure (Queen cover)/ Hey, Soul Sister/ Play That Song
Great Escape (Pat Monahan song)/ Drops of Jupiter
Till next time….