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!
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 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 by Vicky Sullivan / The Sarasota Post