Train and Goo Goo Dolls rock St. Louis

Train at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. Photo by Keith Brake.

–Photos and review by Keith Brake

 

Hello Midwest Rewind Friends and Family, it seems like it has been forever since my last review! In my time away I trust you all have been happy and healthy and enjoying the amazing Saint Louis music scene. Last night I found myself at “The Shed” (Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre) for what turned out to be a beautiful evening for a concert as we were lucky enough to catch some great weather in between storms.

Allen Stone at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.. Photo by Keith Brake.

Train and Goo Goo Dolls featuring Allen Stone. If you are like me you may have found yourself asking about the opening act, Allen Stone. Well, even though I was not familiar with this gentleman when the show started I am now and I can say I seriously enjoyed his set. Allen reminds me of an old school Motown feel blended nicely with modern pop elements. Allen and his band performed an awesome cover of Bob Marley’s “Is This Love” that blew me away. Admittedly I am a long time Marley fan but Mr. Stone’s version of this number had me wanting to watch and listen instead of snapping images. This set, I feel, was a very pleasant surprise to those in attendance, but it appeared to me the crowd will know who Allen Stone is the next time they hear the name.

Goo Goo Dolls at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. Photo by Keith Brake.

This was another on a long list of shows that Saint Louis has been lucky enough to host that features two headlining quality acts, which caused some people to question why a band the caliber of Goo Goo Dolls was not headlining. In the realm of life issues on a musical level I certainly consider this a “First World” issue, you actually have TWO awesome acts in one night. John Rzeznik and the rest of “The Dolls” took the stage just before sunset and turned in a fantastic performance. I entered the evening having known the body of work from this band but never having watched a live performance, and after what I saw, I am walking away a larger fan than I walked in. Goo Goo Dolls set featured an amazing number of hits even though they only played for an hour, and they even found time to work in some new material while reminding the crowd they are still releasing albums and making NEW music. My favorite moment of their set was when the giant black balloons came out for the crowd to bat around during “Baby’s Black Balloon”.

Train at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. Photo by Keith Brake.

Train took the stage right on schedule and the near capacity crowd was more than ready, and showed as such with a very rousing ovation as soon as Pat Monahan came into view but not before the lights were lowered to the sounds of a train engine chugging down the track. Monahan is one completely charismatic individual who dictates your attention be directed to him during performance. This is not to taking anything away from the band in its entirety because Train is as tight and polished a band one could ever want to watch, but Monahan is the front man and he owns it. I always respect those artists that pay special attention to their fans and Pat does this in a way that is his very own. While performing the song “If It’s Love” fans throw their cell phones to Monahan and he takes selfies of himself singing with the lucky fan in the background. I attend many shows thru the course of a year and this remains one of my favorite moments each time I witness it. Allen Stone joined Pat and the boys on stage for a great performance of “Bruises” and with my new found appreciation for Mr. Stone this turned out to be a stand out moment for me. Train is a FUN band to see live, you get crowd participation, confetti and an overall great atmosphere. The visuals are stellar as the band has LED screens behind them for graphics and production, while this backlighting situation is not optimal for photography it offers a very cool experience for the fans.

So, I gotta say, if you have never been to see Train or Goo Goo Dolls you really should do your best to change that. And if you see the name Allen Stone on a concert bill in the future, don’t sit by and wonder who he is, go and see for yourself because I seriously doubt you will be disappointed.

As always, thanks for all the continued love and support, peace.

Keith.

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