Usually I don’t enjoy seeing bands at food festivals. I’ve seen a few and they are not good. Bad mixing, it’s outdoors, people are pushing to get up front…it’s just normally not a good combination. But on this night, where I wasn’t expecting to see a show but happened to walk into it as I was going for a walk in downtown St. Louis, I found the setting to be appropriate for this band from Stockbridge, GA and the entire evening was quite entertaining!
Collective Soul is one of those bands that I have been listening to for years but never had a nagging urge to see live. I suppose it’s because most of their music is really good, but there are somany guitar bands around, they just never stood out for me. For me, the guitar rock sound was beaten into the ground in the mid to late 90’s. But CS has been around for quite a while (since 1993) and have paid their dues and they DO have a good catalogue of pop rock hits…and that served them well as they hit the stage to perform a 75 minute set here in the Arch City.
Opening with their their biggest rock hit, “Heavy”, lead singer Ed Roland came out wearing a white long-sleeved button-down and a purple scarf. With his long hair flying all over the place, he danced with the mic stand, whipping around the stage and trading barbs with his bandmates. At first I found it a little odd, but as the night wore on and once he began to interact with the audience, you could tell that he just seems to love performing! Even though he told us he had a small bout of laryngitis, he still sang pretty well and even though he couldn’t hit some of the high notes, he still sang in such a way that you could hardly tell there was anything wrong.
Along with “Heavy”, the band played a strong set of all of their greatest hits. From early classic, “Shine”, to their hit ballad, “The World I Know”, where Roland performed acoustically for the beginning and then the rest of the band jumped in mid-way. There were 2 memorable moments during the set that I thought really made the evening entertaining. The first was during the performance of MY favorite CS song, “Feeling Better” when Roland and lead guitarist, Joel Kosche, faced off in a singer/guitarist duel. And then before performing “Hollywood”, Roland told us that the song was inspired by pop rock bands of the 80’s, including The Cars. With it’s “Magic”-like intro, the band sounded great during this song and then midway, they paused to do some AC/DC riffs and Roland told us that he learned to play guitar to “Cat Scratch Fever” and he ripped into the intro. It was playful and fun and all of the band members seemed to be having a blast on-stage.
All in all, Collective Soul was a great show! I honestly didn’t expect much considering the venue was an outdoor park where they were having a “Rib America Festival”, but Roland and the band sounded fantastic and the crowd seemed to appreciate their efforts as the setlist went on and everyone knew all the songs. I figure the next time they are coming through my town, I’ll probably go see them again! And so should you…
Here’s their setlist (in no particular order and I may have missed a couple…but you get the gist.):
The World I Know
Welcome All Again
What I Can Give You
Aaaand a few others that I can’t recall…