The Short Version: The Goo Goo Dolls played an amazing show, the Counting Crows were disappointing, and the opener showed a lot of potential.
Augustana played to a mostly empty theatre, but played with heart. The lead singer did everything right: he talked to the audience a little, played his music, and asked, just once, for someone to go out there and buy his record. Classy. Apparently, it was their MySpace profile that caused Counting Crows to cherry pick them out for the tour (http://www.myspace.com/augustana). Their sound is much like CC was back in 1995, when they weren't worried about movie tie-ins and marketing for their music.
By 8:00. Augustana had finished their set and Johnny Rzeznick led the Goo Goo Dolls on stage. They opened with a song off of their new album, which the audience was ambivalent to. They followed that up with "Slide", however, garnering one of the best crowd reactions of the night. After that, they mainly stuck to singles from Dizzy Up the Girl: "Iris", "Black Balloon" (where the audience members started tossing smuggled balloons), "Broadway", and 'January Friend" among them. "Broadway" was particularly spectacular; they let the saxophone run solo, and he went wild with it. It gave the piece a lot of character, which is what it takes to pull off a piece about a tiny bar in a mega-complex such as Shoreline. They also threw in "Name", and Johnny commented about how happy he was that people remembered it.
To add a bit of a fangirl note: Johnny Rzeznick, arguably the world's hottest 41 year old, looked and pointed at me! I hope someone got a shot of him when the LCDs on the stage were all displaying flames behind him during "January Friend". I can think of no one who would make as good of an actor to play pretty anime guys... the hair type, the eyes: its perfect.
Counting Crows had a hard act to follow, especially as it became clear that many people weren't there to see them. They opened with "Recovering the Satellites", after which several people, unhappy with the flavor of the piece, left the theatre. The crowd died then, and Adam Duritz's enthusiasm waned with it. The one song that he did well was "Rain King", where he threw in a few lines and riffs from "Scarborough Fair" to great effect. Their set went RtS, "Hard Candy", "Rain King", "Mrs. Robinson", "Long December", "Mr. Jones", "Colorblind", "Hanging Around", "Holiday in Spain", and finally "California Dreaming", though not neccessarily in that order. I expected too much, maybe, but by the end, the audience was clearly bored, and the lights came on during "California Dreaming".
I still had a lovely night. I need to find out if the bands playing the show at Shoreline are responsible for the intermission music or not. If they are, I have a whole new level of respect for these people: the intermission playlist was TMBG - "Ana Ng", Dead Milkmen - "Punk Rock Girl", and Voilent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun".
I picked up the new Goo Goo Dolls record and a live Counting Crows show from Holland. For some reason, their European recordings are always much better than the local ones. For example, the most famous rendition of "Round Here" is an 11 minute version played in Paris in 1997, and nothing in the US has come close to matching the energy and length of that piece.
For now, bed. My entire body hurts from balancing on the armrests of stadium seats while shaking my hands in the air. Its a good pain, and tonight I will sleep happy.