Categories
Event Reviews

Collective Soul

Collective Soul

Capitol Theatre, Clearwater, Florida • April 19, 2019

Collective Soul is one of the most underrated bands to emerge from the 1990s. The fact that they are STILL doing it, and doing it smashingly, is a testament to just how formidable they truly are. Fresh off the Jon Bon Jovi “Runaway to Paradise” rock cruise on the Norwegian Jade out of Miami, the band kicked off this leg of their tour in Clearwater at the fabulous Capitol Theatre. There wasn’t a seat to be had at the sold-out event and the crowd stood for the entire show, proving that these guys STILL seriously know how to rock. When I say that there wasn’t a seat to be had, I mean it. Our seats were high-back chairs smack up against the soundboard. We loved every minute of it.

Michelle Wilson


Michelle Wilson

At 8:10pm, the lights dimmed and Elvis Costello & The Attractions’ “Pump It Up” got everyone on their feet dancing, followed by the entrance of founding member and lead singer, Ed Roland (opting now to be known as E Roland), who headed straight for the far side of the stage to play keyboards. Along with Roland’s brother, guitarist Dean Roland as well as bassist Will Turpin, the three original members were joined by guitarist Jesse Triplett and drummer Johnny Rabb.

Michelle Wilson

Opening with “Observation of Thoughts” (also referred to as “Observation of Thought”), a new track off the band’s forthcoming release, Blood (June 21), the band immediately kicked it into high gear and set the tone for the evening. Several cuts from the unreleased record have been in the set rotation for many months now (six of them on this show’s set list), meshing seamlessly with the group’s established catalog. They are still delivering the riff-heavy intros and catchy hooks that established them as one of the premier post-grunge bands, and they continue to thrive.

Michelle Wilson

Frontman Roland had a wonderfully easy rapport with the crowd and was full of hilarious one-liners, such as “As you can tell I grew up on Elvis and Pepé Le Pew.” and “The life of a rock star. Where do you go? SeaWorld.” But he was serious about thanking the crowd. He thanked us for our patience in listening to the new music. “We gotta do this. We’re gonna play a couple of new tunes. By the way, you’re gonna fucking love ’em!” One of those new tunes was “A Good Place To Start,” which has major echoes of Cat Stevens. Also on tap from the new effort were “Now’s The Time,” “Over Me,” “Crushed” and the first single, “Right As Rain.”

Michelle Wilson

But new material wasn’t the only choice on the menu. Throwing it back to Dosage (1999), the boys dug deep and pulled out “Tremble For My Beloved.” “This is one we put back in the set list for this run. Hopefully I remember it,” Roland teased. They also did a killer version of “Heavy” and a very special performance of “Needs” off the same record during the main set. Roland brought up two fans who are also cancer survivors. He spoke at length about the women, pointing out that one had attended 55 Collective Soul shows. Following a false start, Roland and company restarted and pulled off a heart-wrenching execution of “Needs” as both ladies held the lyric sheets for Roland and even sang a bit. “My wife and brother said we need to play it. I’m like, fuck, man,” admitted Roland. As he played acoustic guitar and sang, standing between these two brave fighters at the mic, he joked “How cool am I right now?” There were lots of hugs, kisses, tears, and cheers, and it was just the thrill of a lifetime for these two diehards and a very tender moment indeed. “Thank you guys for letting me do this and once again, FUCK CANCER!” It’s defining moments such as this that endear this band to its long-standing fan base.

Michelle Wilson

Covering a wide range of their discography, the crowd also was treated to “Why Pt. 2,” “Better Now,” “Precious Declaration” and “AYTA (Are You The Answer?).” Of course, no Collective Soul show would be complete without the heavy hitters: “Shine,” “December,” “The World I Know” and “Gel.”

“I want to thank you for allowing us to live a dream for 25 years and releasing our tenth record. Thanks for allowing us to feel like family and friends this evening. We love this venue!” shared Roland sincerely.

Michelle Wilson

Closing it out with “Where The River Flows” and “Run,” the band members all moved to the front of the stage, kidding around with each other, waving, fist-bumping with fans and smiling the genuine smiles of a group of men who truly love what they do and who also love each other, but who also appreciate their fans. As Roland continued to play acoustic guitar and the adoring crowd belted out the chorus to “Run,” the band took their leave with another spectacular show in the books.

Michelle Wilson

Collective Soul continues to tour and I highly recommend that you catch their show if it comes nearby and grab their new record, Blood, which drops on June 21. It will be some of the best money you ever spend.

Check out the full gallery of photos from Rock Legends Photographers.

rocklegendsphotographers.smugmug.com/ROCK-CONCERT-PHOTOS/COLLECTIVE-SOUL-Capitol-Theatre-Clearwater-FL-4-19-19

www.collectivesoul.com

Categories
Event Reviews

Chicago

Chicago

Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL • April 19, 2011

As an old-school pop/rock aficionado reviewing a recent onslaught of modern-day, heavy metal vomit fests, I’d been looking forward to this particular show with great anticipation. Despite some slight cloud cover and a few intermittent sprinkles, this was an overall fabulous springtime Florida day, and the experience only got better from there. My girlfriend and I arrived at will call and quickly discovered that the envelope containing our press passes seemed a bit thicker than usual. Bingo — two tickets and two after-show cloth stickies! Upon entering the venue, I was equally delighted to learn that the typically standing-room only main floor of Orlando’s Hard Rock Live had been modified for the night, offering us old timers comfortable, reserved seating. This revelation became especially awesome once our buff young usher, sporting a tight-fitting staff T-shirt, guided us to our fifth row, center seats!

Christopher Long

With no disposable, mind-numbing opening act to mar the evening, Chicago took the stage. As the band kicked off the set with their classic “Make Me Smile,” I realized that our seats were so close that we could hear the actual raw sound of their legendary horn section directly off the stage. It also occurred to me immediately what a truly amazing live band they are. Oh sure, I’d been a Chicago fan since I was a kid growing up with AM radio in the early ’70s, but to see them live, this close — fugidabowdit! Even after an unbelievable forty-four-year run, this band is still full of energy. In fact, co-founder and trombonist James Pankow delivered such a passionate, on-fire performance, I often found myself out of breath just watching him. Simply put, they looked and sounded great, and as expected their musicianship was impeccable.

Along with Pankow, co-founders Robert Lamm, Lee Loughnane, and Walt Parazaider led longtime members bassist Jason Scheff, drummer Tris Imboden, guitarist Keith Howland, and newer recruits, keyboardist Lou Pardini and percussionist Drew Hester, through a career-spanning, non-stop smorgasbord of crowd pleasers. With a catalog of hits as expansive as Chicago’s, fans would have to expect them to miss at least a couple of personal faves (No “Harry Truman?” CRAP!), but they did do a pretty darn good job of including most of the must-play biggies in the two-hour set. And for me, as long as that included “Call On Me,” “Old Days,” “(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” and “Just You ‘n’ Me” (which it did), I was more than satisfied!

Also impressive was the unique connection the band had with the fans, as various members engaged in personable in-between-song banter with the audience throughout the show. At one point, Lamm apprised the Orlando crowd of Chicago’s continued involvement with The American Cancer Society. One of their recent related efforts is an online promotion where fans in the various cities on the current tour can bid on the opportunity to join the band onstage to sing “If You Leave Me Now” — with proceeds benefiting The American Cancer Society. And on this particular night, twenty-seven-year-old Orlando resident Candice Casey provided vocals to the 1976 chart-topper.

As for the after-show experience, the guest list was minimal (about a dozen fans) and the backstage atmosphere was subdued. Huh? No stripper stories or tales of decadent rock star behavior? Sorry to disappoint ya, kids. The band members appeared as cordial, personable, and down-to-earth offstage as they were onstage — truly a class act!

Chicago: www.chicagotheband.com