By Alma Reed
Written By Felicia Carter
There are few experiences that can be compared to seeing 90’s pop music being played live in downtown Nashville on a summer night. Nashville, known solely on its popularity of country music, drew in a cult crowd of all ages to see The Goo Goo Dolls and Train perform their hits.
The night started with The Goo Goo Dolls taking the stage and playing, “Stay With You” which automatically engaged the crowd. People were out of their seats, shouting the lyrics, and dancing with those around them. Each song brought more smiles, and John Rzeznik, the frontman of the group, used this as an opportunity to genuinely connect with fans in the audience. He had an overall presence of warmth and the nostalgia of songs that they played made it a very welcoming, inclusive environment. He and bass player, Robby Takac, have an undeniable stage chemistry and joked around, seemingly having the time of their life.
As the sun began to set, large, black balloons floated across the crowd as the sweet sounds of acoustic guitar played “Black Balloon”. There was a sense of community as the song played, because it was as if every single person there knew every word to the song.
They played a new song, “Miracle Pill” which is a commentary of finding solace in those you love whilst trying to love yourself. It is a bright tune with dark lyrics, which echoes most 90s pop songs. This is timeless and what makes their songs still sound so so great after all these years.
They ended the set with “Broadway”, which left the crowd dancing and amped for the next band to take the stage.
The amphitheater went dark, a rushing sound began to fill the air, and suddenly you hear it: the whistle of a train. Beautiful graphics filled the backdrop and a spotlight appeared to reveal Patrick Monahan, frontman for Train.
“I need a sign, to let me know you’re here.” He sang, acapella. Music began to play and he sang “Calling All Angels.” It was a beautiful song to begin with and it set the energy for the rest of the set. Since Train is known for its catchy music and the ease of singing along to their songs, the crowd stayed engaged the entire night, dancing in their seats and belting out the lyrics to their songs.
At one point during the show, Monahan ran off stage to return wearing a Train shirt over his shirt, and continued singing. He got a marker and begin to write on the shirt, and went from bandmate to bandmate, allowing them to write as well. He then began throwing T-shirts to the crowd and removed his band shirt, only to throw it on the ground beside him. You could hear the overall discontent with the crowd, but then he grabbed the shirt and tossed it into the crowd. His ability to connect with the audience was also very beautiful. Many artists are now recording stage point of view videos for their social media, and he did not disappoint. He was incredibly interactive with the audience, displaying his sense of humor and overall compassion for his fans. He even grabbed a fan's cell phone, took a selfie, and tossed their phone back to them.
When the music began to slow, lyrics that all Train fans are familiar with began to sound. “She doesn’t own a dress… hair is always a mess…” It was a beautiful moment when everyone began to sing along.
Train has undoubtedly very romantic lyrics that you can’t help but fall in love with. “Soul Sister” was an obvious hit with every generation in the crowd and made then entire experience very heart warming. They also payed homage to Tom Petty with “American Girl.” Another crowd favourite.
They ended the night by saying, “Now I understand we are supposed to run back and wait for you to beg us to come back, however, I’m too old for that.” And began to play Queen’s “Under Pressure” which led into “Drops of Jupiter.” They saved the best for last and we didn’t even have to beg for it!
If you’re thinking of having a girls night out, or a cute date night, or hanging with the guys and you see this duo is coming to your town, you might want to really consider checking it out. It was also a very kid-friendly show!
There’s nothing like an entire audience of people, all different from each other, coming together and belting out the lyrics of popular songs that make much more sense as an adult!