Errols Weekly Music Update.

August 18, 2009

Concert Review: Collective Soul at Ives Concert Park on Aug. 17, 2009

Concert Review: Collective Soul at Ives Concert Park in Danbury, CT on Monday Aug. 17, 2009.

“Collective Soul Turns Up the Heat in Connecticut”

Collective Soul passed through my neck of the woods last night as they continue their summer tour with Ryan Star and Safetysuit. (Black Stone Cherry has also been on the bill in some places). As many of you know Collective Soul has been one of my favorite bands for some time now and in my eyes, they never disappoint. Last night was no different as they rocked and rolled their way through some of the new songs accompanied with many of their classics which had the crowd dancing, singing and sweating a whole lot more with their sizzling set. Make no mistake, they will surprise many, if you see them live, as they can explode at a moments notice with some of the most “rockin’ hooks” since The Cars-of whom which they dedicated the song “Hollywood” to last night. I’m telling you now folks, go see them as they turn the corner and head for PA, New York and New Jersey in the next week, you will not be disappointed. The one thing about this band, as I have seen them many times over the years, is that they seem to be having fun on the stage every time and appear to be doing it just for the music-and that is what the attraction is. Their eighth studio piece of work, self titled again but will probably be known as the “Rabbit” album is out next Tuesday Aug. 25, the same night they play the New York Fillmore at Irving Plaza.

It was almost four years to the day that they played again at the Ives Concert Park and just like in 2005, the weather was hot. (Although I have to admit it was much more unbearable heat in 2005). Ed Roland, the lead singer, at one point during the show mentioned that the band felt like they were home in Atlanta as the heat and humidity from the sun wasn’t wearing off too quickly as the night progressed-their set made it hotter. This time around, it was myself with Sal and his wife, Maria, who came back to see them again. (As a matter of fact, we seem to be the same three who follow them around the Tri-State area each year). And as an added bonus, they took their son with them as this was his first time seeing Collective Soul. No offense to Ryan Star and Safetysuit but we were there to see the band from Atlanta and I didn’t pay much attention to either. (I have to give it to Star’s people though, they were everywhere around the park-including Ryan himself- hawking Star paraphernalia). The stage was a simple setting with an elevated smaller stage that seated the drums which had three plexi-glass windows situated in front of the drum set. Will Turpin, the bassist with the cool Mohawk, stayed up there next to the drum set where he, Cheney Brannon (drums) and Ed’s younger brother-Dean Roland controlled the night with their “totally-tight” rhythm section which had to get you out of your seat. Near the front of the stage was an opening with water, this was the closest that I have ever been at the Ives and I was unaware that the stage is actually set on a small lake. We were in the sixth row on the left side of the stage. Right around 9:35, from our vantage point we could see the band walking to the stage, the new guitarist, Joel Kosche (OK he’s been with them since 2001, so we can remove the “new” label) put the guitar around his neck and was seemingly within arms reach as they launched into one of their new singles “Welcome All Again.” The song takes about a minute to really get started and then they erupted, the guitar work by Mr. Kosche was top notch as well as Mr. Brannon on the drums. As I was watching Cheney he reminded me “Animal” the Muppet drummer, as his arms was flailing widely banging the beats into the hot summer night. The opening riffs to “Heavy” hit the air and I knew it was going to be their night. They were so tight with Ed hitting the cover off the ball with his vocals. People in front of us, behind us and to the side of us were jumping up and down while doing their best air-guitar competition poses as the solo by Joel was smoking. And to make matters that much better, half of the first six songs were from my personal favorite-“Dosage.” They performed my ultimate song- “Needs” to pure perfection as Ed took the acoustic guitar and basically had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Before this beautiful song, they rocked out with another of my preferred songs from “Blender” with “Why Part 2?” Put this song on and tell me it’s not heavy? I love the guitar riff on this song probably better than any that they have ever recorded. The only way to listen to this song is LOUD and we were right next to the speakers and I wanted it LOUDER!!! “So tell me why it don’t feel the same.. tell me why I’ve got to feel this way…” Whew, five songs in and I’m flying. The middle of the show featured two new songs, one which was totally rocking and the other “You” which is the first song that they have recorded together as a band- sounded real nice.

The first highlight, in my opinion, was “December” which had the whole audience singing along word for word. Ed really was having fun up there as he was strumming the acoustic guitar and singing with fervor, egging the crowd along as Cheney was hitting every note on the drums like on the original recording. As the song progressed, I was in that zone where I didn’t care who was around me, I was floating away and the guitar solo accompanied by the feverous drum playing took me over the edge. As I was falling, they kept me wailing in outer space with their first hit- “Shine.” I don’t care how many times you have heard this song at their shows, they need to keep it in their set list for the rest of their career as I never grow tired of the classic guitar riff followed by the infamous “YEAH” \m/ \m/. Then we all blasted off as the speed of the song increased to make the it that much better- at that point I was wishing I was Joel as he wailed. After the song ended, Ed informed the crowd that their influence came from the 1980’s bands such as The Police, U2, INXS and one of my favorites-The Cars. I couldn’t believe it, they liked the Cars-another reason why I’m probably so connected with this band. As they started to play “Hollywood” I noticed for the first time last night that it sort of sounds like a faster version of “Magic” and both contain the word “summer” in the beginning of each tune. The next highlight was “The World I Know”- how can anyone not like this song? It’s next to impossible. The crowd was swaying back and forth as the bridge to the chorus was coming and let’s all sing out loud as we hold our hands next to our hearts- “So I walk upon high and I step to the edge, to see my world below.. And I laugh at myself, while the tears roll down.. cause it’s the world I know, it’s the world I know..” Folks what are you waiting for?- buy the tickets to see them already-just for this song!!!

Ed introduced the band members to the crowd and handed off the next song to Joel, who wrote a track for the album “Afterwords”-“I Don’t Need Anymore Friends”- which is a rocking tune and will exude images of Squeeze for the Squeeze fans out there. Joel hit a homer with this one with his vocals and of course his solo. They launched into “Gel” a song they recorded for the movie –“The Jerky Boys”- remember those guys? Yes that’s how long Collective Soul has been rocking their faithful followers. (“Gel” was a boot camp classic for us at MBIA-perfect song for any exercise class). Can it get any better? Well yes it did- as the last song of the night was “Better Now” from the impressive “Youth” CD. This has become a staple at their shows as there is lots of crowd interaction. For a perfect example of this song, check out their DVD (or CD) “Home” and watch this absolutely fun song. During the middle of the song, Ed and Joel were doing their best imitation of Plant and Page as Roland sang notes while Mr. Kosche matched those notes with his guitar. The crowd was singing and dancing as Ed let them serenade him with “The world’s done shaking, the world’s done shaking, the world’s done shaking me down.”As the band disappeared off the stage, the crowd wanted more and was wondering which encores they would play-as their library is pretty extensive now. When they came out, there was a keyboard in the middle of the stage-and since I had already seen the video (and have the single already) I knew it was going to be –“Staring Down.” What a perfect song, have you heard it yet? The great thing about Collective Soul is their ability to take it down with beautiful melodies such as “Staring Down” and then they can turn on a dime and hit you right between the eyes with “Where The River Flows”-which is what they did. I hold the speakers as tight as I can to my head when I listen to “Where the River Flows” and last night there was no need to as the volume cranked up as high as my emotions. Pure perfection!!! Then just like that, they came back to earth with the ever popular-“Run.” I absolutely love this song and felt like my feet were lifting off the ground. One by one the members bowed and walked behind stage as Ed strummed the acoustic guitar, strolling back and forth across the stage as the crowd was singing “Have I got a long way to run…” as Ed exited quietly-still playing- out the back of the stage, it was another satisfying experience with the band called Collective Soul. Thank you Ed, Dean, Will, Joel and Cheney for a great time. Thanks for sticking it out and continuing to make such good music.

Set List:

1.       Welcome All Again

2.       Heavy

3.       Listen

4.       Tremble for my Beloved

5.       Why, Pt. 2

6.       Needs

7.       Dig

8.       You

9.       December

10.     Shine

11.     Hollywood

12.     The World I know

13.     I Don’t Need Anymore Friends

14.     Gel

15.     Better Now

16.     Staring Down (Encore)

17.     Where The River Flows (Encore)

18.     Run (Encore)


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