GOO GOO Dolls and BLUE OCTOBER Live! – Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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Blue October’s Justin Furstenfeld

What better place to spend a beautiful end of summer evening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa than at the McGrath Amphitheatre for a Goo Goo Dolls show? Well, the weather was beautiful. We won’t mention the slight bug issue as the sun went down on the Cedar River. Besides, some good music and a few cold beverages and those little nuisances can easily be forgotten.

On September 13th at a little after 7:00 pm, opener Blue October took the stage and a large portion of the crowd was clearly as excited as they would be for the opener. The band performed several of their most popular tunes such as Oh My My, Say It, and Into the Ocean. Vocalist Justin Furstenfeld was full of energy on stage, although he did mention that pesky insect situation when he thanked Goo Goo Dolls for having them there so that he could swallow so many bugs. Those in the crowd who might not have been as familiar with Blue October perked up when the band played their most well-known song, Hate Me. The set ended with I Hope You’re Happy and an announcement from Furstenfeld: “We’re Blue October. Don’t forget that shit. Listen to us. It’ll change your life.”

Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik

The crowd took off for the beverage lines while the crew quickly set the stage for the Goo Goo Dolls. John Rzeznik took the stage in a black jumpsuit and the band went straight into Yeah, I Like You from their 13th studio album, Chaos in Bloom, quickly followed by an older favorite, Slide. Next up, Big Machine and Here is Gone. Before breaking into Black Balloon, Rzeznik announced to the crowd that, “It’s good to be in the middle of America at the end of summer.”

The band then began to play Over and Over, from the 2016 album Boxes. About halfway into the tune, as the refrain, “turn it up” was being repeated by the crowd, the sound suddenly went out to the disappointment of the crowd. From the stage, Rzeznik motioned for the crowd to quiet down so that he could yell out, “We broke it!” The situation was quickly remedied (although it appeared as if there may have been a little time before the band could hear themselves in the monitors again), and the song continued as fans now even more excitedly yelled out, “Turn it up!”

Goo Goo Dolls’ Robby Takac

Bassist Robby Takac then took over on vocals for a couple of songs: Lucky Star and Free of Me, grinning the entire time before handing the reins back to Rzeznik for Come to Me, Sympathy and Name, with the crowd loudly singing along. Rzeznik thanked the crowd for “keeping this band alive” before launching into So Alive. Other highlights included Takac’s next moment in the vocal spotlight with Bringing on the Light and Rzeznik pulling out the harmonica on Broadway.

As it was clear the evening was winding down, the band then blessed the crowd with two favorites that they had all clearly been waiting for in anticipation, Better Days and Iris. Rzeznik worked the front of the crowd and held out the mic for the excited crowd to sing along. The encore was another song off Chaos in Bloom, Day After Day and then the crowd began to make their way out of the venue into the September evening.

Despite the bug situation (which seemed to calm down as the sun went down), and annoyance expressed by many concert-goers at the fact that the beer lines were so long because cans were not being allowed and they had to wait for the staff to open a can and pour it into a cup before enjoying their chosen beverage, the overall sentiment of the evening seemed to be that great music never dies. Cedar Rapids thanks you for a great evening, Blue October and Goo Goo Dolls!

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