Goo Goo Dolls & Collective Soul – Maine State Pier, Portland, Maine, August 17, 2016

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The day was just about perfect for an outdoor concert – not too hot, not too cold, and not raining like the last show I shot here – and by the way the audience filed in, I wasn’t the only one who noticed the beautiful weather.

This was another show with an early start, and as I waited in the que to enter the venue the first band, Tribe Society, hit the stage. By the time I made my way through security and past the general admission area, they were on their third song.  Given that the concert photographers are given the first three songs to shoot, I had some work to do. I did my best.  The band was entertaining and got a good response from the crowd.

Next were Collective Soul. This was my first time seeing these guys perform, but I do have an interesting story… Several years ago I was managing a bike shop in Portland, and this guy came in on a mountain bike asking about good trails to ride. I started telling him places to go using commonly known landmarks around town.  He stopped me and explained that he wasn’t from around here. Later in the conversation he told me he was the guitar player in Collective Soul, and we got into this conversation of how bad the record companies were – including their company who had shelved the band’s release and put all their effort and money into this guy going by the name Kid Rock. (Hmmm…Remember him?)  He was a great guy and even invited me to the show and told me he’d leave passes for me, but I had my own gig that night and couldn’t make it.  So because of this, and the fact that I had never seen them before, I was looking forward to their set on the State Pier.

I was not disappointed.  Although a short set, Collective Soul put on a great show and had the audience on their feet dancing and singing along to most of the set. Singer, Ed Roland, sounded great, and with his eccentric stage movements made it a fun shoot. His brother, Dean (whom I believe was the guitar player who came into the bike shop, so many years earlier) played some great guitar.  These two and bassist, Will Turpin, make up the original cats in the band. Johnny Rabb, on drums, and Jessie Triplett, on lead guitar, may be the new comers with only a few years behind them in this outfit, but they held their own and helped the band shine.

As I readied myself for the Goo Goo Dolls’ set, I thought about the first time I had heard of them. I was working at a local record store, Recordland, and I had made friends with a record A&R guy out of California by the name of Bret Hartman.  He would send me promotional items that I could not get from our East Coast distributor. He would also send me tickets and passes for shows of upcoming bands that his company was thinking about signing, asking me to go down and check them out and send him my feedback. Along with that, he would often send me early demo tapes of unsigned bands – you guessed it, one of these bands was Goo Goo Dolls. I remember liking them a lot although the demo was much more punk than the finished product, but either way I followed the band as a fan and was happy to see them still enjoying doing what they do.

Goo Goo Dolls set was great, and the sun set while they played, giving a nice warm glow over the stage and allowing the stage lighting to come into use (stage lights for the first two acts were pretty null and void due to the daylight setting.) The girls in the crowd still go crazy when singer Johnny Rzeznik walks on the stage, and many “I love yous” filled the air. Bassist Robby Takac still keeps the punk alive and is a mad man on stage, racing around from one end to another screaming and carrying on. The only face that has changed is the drummer, like Spinal Tap the band has gone through a few drummers.  The latest, Craig Mcintyre, has been with them since 2014. The band also has a couple touring members, Brad Fernquist and Korel Tunador, who have both been with them since 2006 and do a great job with the band’s guitar and keyboard work, as well as wearing other hats during the live performance.

Goo Goo Dolls are one of those concerts where I am reminded of just how many hits the band created.  I find myself thinking “Oh, I forgot about this one” over and over.  The show was great both in sound and stage show and the audience left with smiles all around.

Collective Soul setlist: Heavy – Gel – Better Now – Contagious – Ayta – Shine – December – World I Know

Goo Goo Dolls setlist; Over and Over – Long Way Down – Slide – Big Machine – Rebel Beat – Here is Gone – Black Balloon – Smash – Bringing  on the Light – Name – So Alive – Naked – Souls in the Machine – Better Days – Already There – Never Take the Place– Come to Me – The Pin – Stay With You – Iris – Broadway – Long Way Home

 

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