ONE OF THIS SUMMER’S HOTTEST TOURS AT MUSIKFEST: TRAIN / GOO GOO DOLLS| Review & Photographs by Diane Fleischman

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Review & Photographs by Diane Fleischman

On day five of Musikfest The Windcreek Steel Stage presented a triple bill, opening the evening was Allen Stone, originally from Washington state, who describes himself as ‘a hippie with soul’. The perfect opener for the evening, Stone brought his R&B influences, his enthusiasm to get everyone in the audience engaged, and a whole lot of soul.  He covered the stage well, he threw in some rap style dance moves when not strapped to a guitar.  Stone brought the integrity and clarity of amazing talent, he certainly is an artist on the rise to follow.

 

The one thing I know to be true about The Goo Goo Dollsis that they love to tour over the summer.  With a catchy new single “Miracle Pill”, and a new album release in September, The Goo Goo Dolls will continue to tour into the fall.  It was great to see them back at Musikfest.

 

For many, the surprise of the evening was that The Goo Goo Dolls opened for Train. Even though the tour is advertised as ‘co-headline’, Train took the stage last, and has done so consistently on this tour. One would think that the more established group would be the headliner, but as this review continues, you’ll understand why.

 

The drums pounded as “Stay With You” (Let Love In), kicked off their set.  Robby Takac and John Rzeznik greeted the crowd, both appeared trim, lean, and without a doubt, ready to rock.  “Big Machine” (Gutterflower), followed, then “Slide” (Dizzy Up The Girl).  Rzeznik joked with the full arena, “I thought you might remember that one.”

 

The hits continued with “Rebel Beat” (Magnetic), “Here is Gone” (Gutterflower), “Free of Me” (Boxes), and the black balloons were traditionally sent into the crowd for (you guessed it) “Black Balloon”.

 

There was a feeling so empowering and declarative as Rzeznik powerfully belted the lyrics to “So Alive” (Boxes), and yet so humble with “Name” (A Boy Named Goo), their first hit, as Rzeznik gratefully commented, “Thank you for remembering that one.” After their 20th anniversary tour of Dizzy Up The Girl, it may have provided the realization that this group has in fact turned another corner, a career span now over several decades and still continuing to thrive, all supported by their fans, and Rzeznik and Takacappeared completely appreciative.

 

The fifteen-song set winded down with “Over and Over” (Boxes), which was full of energy, and one of Rzeznik’s most poignant songs, “Better Days” (Let Love In).  Next was “Iris” (Dizzy Up The Girl), a crowd favorite, and “Broadway” (Dizzy Up The Girl) closed their show.

 

It became crystal clear why Train is headlining this tour from the very first song.  They brought all the toys, bells and whistles for an arena tour. The use of pyros and confetti guns exploded as they opened with “Calling All Angels” followed by “50 Ways to Say Goodbye” set the tone of what would continue through their set, a high energy performance.  Front man, Patrick Monahan, had several tricks up his sleeve that ensured the crowds’ attention as he brought out his cell phone and asked the fans to scream their loudest as he recorded.  There were also Train tee shirts thrown into the audience, one shirt autographed by everyone in the group for one lucky fan to catch.

 

Like The Goo Goo Doll’s set, Train’s selection of songs was also a greatest hits collection.  “Save Me San Francisco” got the crowd on their feet as they danced and sang along. Show opener, Allen Stone, was invited back on stage for “Bruises”, and the dancing and singing ensued during “Meet Virginia”.

 

Train also threw in several cover songs, Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind”, “American Girl, Free Fallin’ “ by Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” with a snippet of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” tacked on the end, andQueen’s “Under Pressure”.  All were performed well, but it seemed the latter was the best received by the crowd.

 

Monahan reached deep down for that emotional loss in “When I Look to The Sky”, and as he introduced “Marry Me”, he reminisced of forgetting to call his wife on their anniversary. He described a conversation he had with Goo Goo Dolls bassist, Robby Takac, with a most spot on imitation of Takac I ever heard, it was a good giggle.

 

The last four Train songs were the most successful and loved by the crowd, the pyros and stream guns made a return visit for “Drive By”.  “Hey Soul Sister” followed, and then “Play That Song”, with “Drops of Jupiter” closing the show.

 

The Goo Goo Dolls/Train tour continues on through the summer.  These combinations of bands compliment each other and showcased their hits and crowd favorite songs making this tour one hot show to catch.

 

 

 

 

Train – https://www.savemesanfrancisco.com/

Goo Goo Dolls – https://www.googoodolls.com/

Musikfest – https://www.musikfest.org/