November 18, 2015
House of Blues - Dallas
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Terry Walsh
Photos by Terry Walsh
Souls Collected In The House Of Blues
Collective Soul is a hard band not to like. They have an amazing knack for finding great guitar riffs and wrapping them into songs that maintain balance between heavy and poppy. The end result is a catalog of great songs and credibility with fans of both styles. The band's new album, See What You Started By Continuing is a perfect example. The album is solid and consistent from beginning to end and gets better with each listen. It was no surprise then, to see a packed house at House Of Blues in Dallas, Texas.
The show opened with a trio of Collective Soul classics; "December" from their self titled second album, "Precious Declaration" from the Disciplined Breakdown album and arguably their best song, "Heavy" from the Dosage LP. "December" has long been a fan favorite, but it was still a surprise opener given it's moody, slow building nature, but it worked. Singer Ed Roland alternated between intense focus during the verses and obvious enthusiasm bouncing across the stage playing his acoustic. In fact, enthusiasm and enjoyment was apparent by the whole band throughout the entire show.
At this point the band launched into "Hurricane," "This" and "AYTA" (Are You The Answer) from the new album. This was another surprise from the show - not that the band was playing the new songs, but how good they sounded and how well the crowd reacted. Rather than polite applause which often greets new songs, these and others from the album such as Contagious and Confession went down like old favorites. Confession was especially good because it was stretched into a 7 minute slow building jam that Aerosmith or Blue Oyster Cult would be proud of.
The core of the band remains; founder Ed Roland, his brother Dean Roland on rhythm guitar and the always steady and solid Will Turpin on bass. Drummer Johnny Rabb and new lead guitarist Jesse Triplett joined in 2012 and 2014 respectively and as Ed Roland said, "have given the band a real kick in the ass." Triplett has done a great job handling the riffs of his two predecessors and adding his own sound to the new material. Johnny Rabb puts down a great groove and looks like he's having the time of his life on stage with CS. Rhythm guitarist Dean Roland may be Collective Soul's secret weapon. He doesn't do much of the soloing and has a real relaxed presence on stage, but his playing and sound are vital to the Collective Soul sound. He and his other band Magnets and Ghosts opened the show and it was quite a revelation seeing his chops on display as the lead guitarist and singer.
When the band jumped into "Why Pt. 2" from 2001's Blender album, the enthusiasm that greeted the new songs carried over. Instead of a hit restoring the excitement, the band seemed to get pushed into another gear with the bulk of the crowd joining in for the chorus. The surprises weren't finished yet though. Midway through the set as Ed Roland introduced "Goodnight Good Guy" from the first album, he said, "We have a surprise guest joining us tonight. One of the founding members of the band. A guy we haven't played with in 11 years, Mr. Shane Evans!" With the crowd erupting into cheers, former drummer Evans walked on stage and tore into the song as if he'd never left. It was joyous moment for the band with hugs all around afterwards and at the show's conclusion.
With the show in high gear, the hit parade started in earnest: "Better Now," "The World I Know" and a ripping version of "Gel," a song that was an early indicator of the riff machine that Collective Soul would become. Stepping to the mic and strumming an acoustic guitar, Roland said, "This is the first song we wrote together as a band. Not the song you're thinking!" he said with a smile, "But it still rocks!" With that, the band tore into "Where The River Flows" and then the mandatory "Shine" which put Collective Soul on the radar.
Hearing the song live and the entire crowd shouting "YEAH!" at the appropriate points gave it fresh energy. As the show drew to a close, the band remained on stage for their two encores; an abbreviated version of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love" and "Run," which became an extended sing-a-long with Roland on acoustic guitar leading the crowd with bassist Will Turpin jokingly "conducting" the singing. As the final notes faded, the band and Shane Evans embraced on stage like a band of brothers before waving good night.