Northern Quest kicked off its outdoor summer concert season Sunday night with Train and Goo Goo Dolls.
The bands also had just kicked off their co-headlining summer tour. Sunday’s show was their third stop – and their third stop in Washington. From the looks of it, everyone is enjoying themselves.
Goo Goo Dolls opened the show with “Stay With You.” And as John Rzeznik had promised in an interview with The Spokesman-Review before the show, the band filled its set with hits from its three-decade career, a few lesser known songs and a dash of new material.
“Big Machine” was followed by “Slide,” which brought cheers from the audience and Rzeznik encouraged everyone to sing along.
Though the weather was nearly perfect (mostly overcast and in the 60s) for an early June outdoor concert, it was too bright for the audience to get the full effect of the lighting – and too breezy for the fog machines to keep up. A few songs in, when “Black Balloon” started and large black balloons were released into the crowd, the breeze carried them to the side, many ending up over the wall of the concert area before the song was over.
Still, as Goo Goo Dolls’ set continued, the crowd became more engaged. Rzeznik got the crowd going with a call and response during “So Alive.” He followed that up by introducing the band’s first song played on the radio.
“It’s amazing how a little success can ruin everything,” he said. “But we managed to hang on, and we get to be with you tonight. Thank you all for that.”
Then it was just Rzeznik and his guitar for the first verse of “Name,” with the rest of the band joining in.
“Name” was followed by “Come to Me.” Then Goo Goo Dolls introduced “Miracle Pill,” a song from an album set to be released later this year, with Rzeznik asking the crowd to “pretend you know it.”
As he had earlier in the night on “Free of Me,” bassist Robby Takac took over vocals for “Bringing on the Light.” Rzeznik followed with “Over and Over.”
“Tonight is perfect,” Rzeznik told the crowd. “The world is crazy, but this space is awesome. We gotta stick together.” He then launched into “Better Days.”
Goo Goo Dolls finished in crowd-pleasing style with “Iris” and “Broadway.”
After about a 30-minute break to switch the stage over, sounds of a locomotive, plus video and bright lights, brought everyone to attention. With that, Patrick Monahan and Train launched into “Calling All Angels,” with oversized sparklers shooting up from the stage and a call-out to Washington.
Fortunately, the sun had set, so the lights and video screens could make their full impact. That came into to play right away on “50 Ways to Say Goodbye,” with video of a mariachi-style brass section filling in those parts for the song.
Train kept knocking out the hits, with “Get to Me” and “If It’s Love.” Monahan, promising to throw in some weird stuff during the night, seemed happy and relaxed, dancing and walking around the stage while singing. He attempted to ask the crowd if he should be referring to the concert location as Airway Heights or Spokane, but settled on Washington instead. “Washington feels good,” he said.
Rapper Travie McCoy made an appearance via the video screens (and a faux FaceTime call) for “Call Me Sir.”
For “Save Me, San Francisco,” balloons – this time white – were released again. The breeze had died down enough that the crowd was able to keep them bouncing around, with one lasting to the next song, “Cab.”
Instead of relying on the video screen for Ashley Monroe’s part on “Bruises,” Monahan welcomed Spokane singer Sedona to the stage, saying “She’s going to be a big star.” It’s a part Sedona has sung before, including at Train’s Northern Quest show last summer.
“Drink Up” was followed by the band’s first hit, “Meet Virginia.” After the guitar solo, Monahan introduced Luis Maldonado as being from Spokane, which was likely a joke. “I thought for sure he would give you a better solo than that. Shall we give him a second chance?”
With that, Maldonado took off again on an extended solo. Meanwhile, Monahan was tossing Train T-shirts into the crowd, including one that he had put on and had everyone in the band sign.
Next, Monahan said it was time for some sentimental songs before getting back to the hits. The band played “When I Look to the Sky,” then Monahan played guitar on “Marry Me.” “I wrote this song in Sammamish, Washington, about 10 years ago,” he said. “I still can’t play it very well on guitar, but here goes.”
Rzeznik came back to the stage for a rousing cover of Jackson Browne’s “Running on Empty.” Then, it was back to Train, with “Drive By,” “Angel in Blue Jeans” and “Sing Together.”
Monahan mixed in some hip-hop on “Hey, Soul Sister,” then finished the set with “Play That Song.”
It was a very short break, though, before the band came back out with “Great Escape.” They closed the night with more pyrotechnics and “Drops of Jupiter,” which brought cheers from the crowd.
“Washington, can you feel love love out there?” Monahan asked, drawing more cheers, before later adding, “So much better than California.”
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