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The Plain White T’s came out to a very unassuming stage, a few blue and pink lights, no flashy LEDs or props.  The were there to make music and delight the ears with their essentially acoustic set. The Chicago-based band got to Saratoga early and Tom Higgenson (vocalist) decided to walk around the wonderful SPAC grounds. He took some video and photos of the springs and geyser. He asked the crowd if the geyser was real, and while it isn’t, the crowd led him to believe it is – so that’s the story he’s going to tell.  SPAC’s legacy continues to live on and another musicians top place to play. On stage, it was just the five guys playing, singing beautiful tunes to the incoming crowd.  Gates opened only 45 minutes before the set, so most people were stuck outside.  It is sad that people decide for whatever reason to miss the openers, or for venues to open gates up too late. Whether it is SPAC or a local venue, your favorite band started as an opener for someone. How cool would it be to be the one that discovered them that far back and you build that loyalty from the start. Those fan relationships are truly special and unique. The Plain White T’s did appreciate those that got inside early to hear them.  They dedicated their hit “Delilah” to the audience and changed the last verse to “Hey Saratoga, here’s to you.” After that a nice singalong of the chorus, followed by their other hit “Rhythm of Love.”

Daughtry took the stage and the screams of the 30-something girls filled the air. A battle of Chris’s powerful vocals and the squeals of fan girls reveling in his American Idol glory. The sound was dead on and the energy wasn’t lacking at all. Even a bad joke, Chris pointing out that he was wearing a plain white t and said he supporting the band that just opened the show. Not too many laughs, so he followed up with a much funnier quip “Well, that went over like a fart in church.”  Outside on the lawn, the $10 upgrades that LiveNation occasionally offers helped fill the lower seats of the amphitheater and the lawn, as usual, was packed, even for a Sunday night. Daughtry played his favorite tune “Wild Hearts”, off the new album and the band’s fourth, Baptized, which had a distinctive modern-country flare.  There is a fine line and compromise playing the bands favorites intermixed with fans’ favorites from the past eight years. When the blasting drums of “Battleships”, the latest single, blew out from the stage, the imagery of a Battleships wasn’t hard to comprehend.  The added touch of the mandolin countering the heavy drum was well composed.  The set had few more songs, including “Home” dedicated to those who’ve served and who are serving. Daughtry knowing his audience, Volvo driving soccer moms, the set was comprised of mostly ballads and very little rock.  Overall it was a fine performance, but you can’t help to hope that Chris Daughtry finds his inner rock star once again and blows the roof of things.

Upstate’s own Goo Goo Dolls absolutely rocked the stage with tunes spread over their past 20 years of success. A perennial favorite at SPAC, this was one of their strongest performances in years. Hits like “Iris”, “Slide”, and “Name” intermixed with some new songs and others sung by Robby Takac (bass). Robby’s tunes tend to be a little edgier and reminiscent of early days of pop-punk. The Goo Goo Dolls are now from California, but these Buffalo-bred rockers joked about New York still smoking pot at concerts. Commenting that in California people eat it, bake it, put it in pills, and shove it wherever they can, they don’t really smoke it nowadays because it’s so strong that you’d be high for five days. During “Come to Me”, a song John Rzeznik wrote for his wife was a good opportunity for a man in the front row to propose to his future bride (she said “yes”). This led to a humorous exchange with another woman up front, Kara, who was looking for love herself, Rzeznik described her as a voodoo hippie, the conversation continued sporadically throughout the rest of the evening. The proposal was followed by “Black Balloon” with the typical black balloons being tossed into the air. They were batted frantically toward the stage, where Rzeznik hit, or tried to at least, them away.  When he missed one, it actually interrupted his singing so he could laugh at himself.  The band played a new song “Caught I the Storm” that is worth giving a listen to if you remember the glory days of the band. It really is one of the best songs I’ve heard from the band in years and deserves a listen.  “Name” will be turning 20 next year and is further proof of the legacy the band had established for itself. From there the set finished itself out ending with fan favorite “Iris” and then a two song encore of “Sympathy” and “Let Love In.”

Setlist: Lazy Eye, Dizzy, Slide, Big Machine, Rebel Beat, When the World Breaks Your Heart, Already There, Bringing on the Light, Come to Me, Black Balloon, Stay With You, Here Is Gone, Caught in the Storm, Feel the Silence, Name, January Friend, Another Second Time Around, Better Days, Slow It Down, Broadway, Iris

Encore: Sympathy, Let Love In
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