A Great Night for Great Music From Goo Goo Dolls Friday Night in Saint Louis

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

 

–by Vicki Lee and Randy Thompson

–photos by Sean Derrick

It was a beautiful night for a Goo Goo Dolls concert on Friday at the St. Louis Music Park. Full disclosure: We did not realize who the opener was going to be on this night when we first arrived. When we discovered that the band Blue October were going to open the show, we knew that we were in for a treat… solid alternative rock from two veteran bands, in a near perfect acoustic venue, with a very enthusiastic crowd. Once again, no one went home disappointed on this night.

Blue October performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Blue October came out strong with thundering, powerful, rock songs that had the crowd standing and dancing immediately. The band made an immediate connection with their audience, and they never let up. The bands lead singer, Justin Furstenfield, is a complex writer and storyteller, and many of the songs have a heavy layer of auto-biographical content.

Blue October performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Furstenfield and the band have suffered through his drug abuse and they have actually made a documentary about the experience called “Get Back Up”. Many of the songs that he has written allude to his struggles with bipolar disorder which eventually led to a destructive addiction problem. All of this history was tightly bound in songs such as “Hate Me”. Yet in the end, the songs were hopeful and insightful.

Blue October performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The music blends powerful guitar work with thoughtful songs while traveling the road from self-loathing, to hope, survival and tonight…celebration. There was no doubt that this band appreciates and loves its fans, their families, and sobriety. Furstenfield summed it all up by proclaiming “this is what I live for” and the band took it home with several high-powered hits to end their set for the delighted crowd.

Blue October performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

At this point, the audience was rocking and ready. The Goo Goo Dolls came to the stage. They are comprised of founding members John Rzeznik (guitar/lead vocals) and Robbie Taykac (bass/vocals). The touring band includes guitarist Brad Femquist, drummer Craig Macintyre, and guitarist/keyboardist Jim McGorman.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

This is a group who has gone from being a cover band to performing punk, moving on to alternative and then pop rock, staying relevant while maintaining all of those styles to this day.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Their biggest hits came in the mid 1990’s. Yet they have never stopped recording and producing music that their fans appreciate and show up for. Their latest album Chaos in Bloom frops everywhere August 12 and they performed three songs from the new album including the kickoff song ”Yeah, I Like You”, along with “War” and ”Going Crazy”.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The crowd was on their feet for the entire show. After starting with the catchy “Yeah, I Like You”, Rzeznic discussed the bands frustration with the pandemic, which interrupted their touring and connecting with their audience for the past two years. He then mentioned how much they regretted the cancelations of the St. Louis shows during that time.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

Rzeznic also talked about how they came to the point that they said “fuck it, we’re done with this and that’s what makes America great. We got sick of being sick”, which is a theme in many of the songs that they played tonight. Songs that reflect Rzeznic’s decision to end his own drug addiction and self-destructive ways played a big part in this tour.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

The band then kicked into high-gear, playing old hits, new songs and even a cover of Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” in a stunningly powerful presentation of incredible guitar skills and true rock and roll energy. The crowd danced and sang to songs such as “Iris” and “Black Balloon” and “Name”.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

They played with an energy and skill that can only come from performers who have gone through early struggles, got to the top of the mountain, and then continued to please with a style appreciated by their true fans.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

This was a night of musical revelation, a celebration of joy from past success, and a look at the continuing growth of a band that has never ceased to please its core audience and make new fans.

Goo Goo Dolls performing at Saint Louis Music Park Friday. Photo by Sean Derrick/Thyrd Eye Photography.

If the Goo Goo Dolls proved anything tonight, it is that they are not going to stray from their sound while never letting their fans down.

Check out the gallery of clickable photos after the setlist below.

Goo Goo Dolls Setlist:

Yeah, I Like You

Slide

Big Machine

Here Is Gone

Black Balloon

Naked

MiraclePill

Over and Over

Lucky Star

Free of Me

Sympathy

Name

So Alive

War

Going Crazy

Life’s a Message

Bringing on the Light

Broadway

Better Days

Iris

Tattered Edge/You Should Be Happy

Runnin’ Down a Dream (Tom Petty cover)

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