As Saint Louis recovered from a week of hellish heat, a cool front graced us as we gathered at Saint Louis Music Park for “A Big Night Out” with O.A.R and Goo Goo Dolls.
What has quickly become one of my favorite venues for shows, Saint Louis Music Park provided another flawless night of amazing sound and nostalgia. The enthusiastic crowd shuffled in filling almost every seat in the house for an evening of legendary music.
O.A.R was an experience. I can not begin to tell you how alive this audience was as soon as this band hit the stage. The island/reggae vibes set the tone for the entire show. I will say that the smooth saxophone skills of Jerry Depizzo stole the show. The cover of Johnny Cash “Ring of Fire” with the addition of saxophone was unprecedented. Frontman Marc Roberge took a moment for a wardrobe change and threw on a Blues jersey, the crowd went feral. We were then hit with a fun version of “Hey Girl” featuring Nicholas Radina on cuatro which got the crowd geared up even more than they were. I’ve never experienced an opening crowd so turnt up and proved that O.A.R is a definite co- headliner for this tour! The guys closed out their set with “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker.” It immediately started raining playing cards as the crowd threw decks of cards in the air and created an even more memorable moment. This is defiantly a band I need to see live again!!
The stage changeover was seeming quick as we had a potential storm threat moving in. The room went dark. Goo Goo Dolls frontman John Rzeznik, bassist Robby Takac and the rest of the rockers casually took the stage, they were there to deliver a memorable show. The crowd had a much more calm demeanor as the guys opened with “Broadway.” John then made mention about the incoming weather and says,” We’re gonna cram two hours worth of a show into, well, two hours”.
Then those distinct opening chords for 1990s sensation “Slide” pulled us all right back in. The crowd was alive. The weather threat really accelerated this entire set.
There were very little personable moments in between songs, but we had a few. One story was about the meet and greet moment when a fan told John Rzeznik that he was the only thing that’s been stable in her life. He got a great laugh thinking about how bad her life could be but ultimately thanked the fan for such a divine compliment. It was the first time we had a moment with them. The next moment came when the song “Sympathy” was dedicated to Julie. I don’t know what struggles Julie faced, but we were there for you that night. “This one’s for Julie.”
A highlight of this set was seeing the reemergence of O.A.R’s front man, Marc Roberge, join the stage to sing “Run All Night.” The audience was definitely in full swing again.
Goo Goo Dolls put on a hell of a show but the real attention was focused on Robby Takac. The bare footed bassist stole the entire show. His energy and few turns solo on the mic kept me fully engaged. His smiles and crowd interactions was a direct translation that this man loves every second of every show. His punk rock roots were fully exposed, and it was a welcomed liveliness.
We closed the evening with the song we were all there for, “Iris.” His crispy vocals got us started, then we all sang along as if we were gathered around a campfire. Every single soul in attendance was right back in 1998. Word for word we all belted out this monster hit. It was my favorite moment of the evening. The boys finished their set around 10:30 pm. Mission accomplished: missed the storm.
All in all, The Goo Goo Dolls are a must-see artist for any fan of alternative rock, they bring together a fabulous performance that prioritized their chart topping hits and safety, whilst letting loose and delivering some of their all-time classics with their brand new releases. Even though the guys seem much more tepid these days, we’ll still be back for more.
Melissa O’Rourke aka WickedWitchofSTL is a jack of all trades. By day she’s an established tattooist and piercer, by night a mother to her amazing son (who is a hell of a guitarist). Melissa has a musical background and can often be found at a local karaoke joint, or a concert when she’s not driving across the country for an adventure. This social butterfly always welcomes conversation so come say hi! See y’all at the next gig!