By: Cameron Reynolds
When it was announced that Collective Soul would be celebrating their 25th anniversary tour at the Sandy Amphitheater with Gin Blossoms, I knew this was a show I had to go to. Two of my favorite bands from the 90s and early 2000s in one show at a great venue, sign me up! As I walked into the amphitheater there was a noticeable buzz in the air. If the show wasn’t sold out I’d be surprised. The Sandy Amp was packed! I was on the lawn behind the seats and was happy to get there early enough to be at the front of the lawn. By the time the show started people were placed on the lawn all the way to the fence that overlooks 90th South.
The crowd showed Gin Blossoms some love when they walked onto the stage. People jumped to their feet quickly to welcome guys to Sandy. I think everyone was ready to get into the show right then and there. Unfortunately, they weren’t as enthused when Gin Blossoms opened with some new material off of their most recent album Mixed Reality. That’s always a tough thing to navigate. A band wants to play and promote their new material, and generally, fans want to hear the hits. Things livened up again around the fifth song when Gin Blossoms played “Follow You Down”. Gin Blossoms continued to thread newer songs with major hits like, “Allison Road” and “Till I Hear it From You”. I was surprised when they performed a great cover of Tom Petty’s “Even the Losers”. They closed their set with my favorite Gin Blossoms song, “Hey, Jealousy”. That song still totally holds up! Lead singer, Rob Wilson, made his way through the crowd much to the delight of the people near him. The energy was high, and I think it was the perfect closer for Gin Blossoms. It was good to see them live again.
In between sets, there was a DJ playing some great music. All of it was from the 90s and totally fit this type of show. It was weird to think of all the Grunge artists that have passed away. Such an awesome time for music, but sad that they’re no longer with us. Despite that morbid thought, having a DJ play songs from the generation of these bands was a great idea. I’m not sure if he’s on this tour, or if he’s local, but it was a really pleasant way to pass the time. The crowd loved it.
With Gin Blossoms high energy set completed, and the DJ finished with his set, the crowd was primed and ready for Collective Soul. The crowd was on their feet all the way back to behind me on the lawn. The band came out with a ton of energy and the crowd was really fired up. Opening songs “Observation of Thoughts” and “Heavy” were warmly and the crowd and band seemed in sync.
Kind of a scary moment happened during, “Why Pt. 2”. Collective Soul lead singer, E Rolland fell off of the stage. Well, from the lawn it looked like he jumped off of the stage and then fell when he landed. But I text a couple of friends who were sitting closer and they felt like he fell. E Rolland got back on the stage, made his way to the piano and went right into the huge hit, Shine”. He seemed a little sore for a moment but whether someone slipped him an Advil or the magic of live music healed him, he never seemed affected by the fall. In fact, he was moving pretty good by the end of the song, dancing and going crazy at the song’s emotional climax. Hopefully, he didn’t feel it too much the next day!
I was happy to see the songs off of Blood, Collective Soul’s latest release so well received. I thought they blended right in with the hits and the crowd seemed to really like them. In the UCR Interview with bassist Will Turpin, UCR Editor in Chief, Kevin Rolfe discussed with Will about mixing of new songs with the hits. Will seemed to feel like people would like the new songs in the set and felt confident that they would be well received. He was right. People would get really excited when some of these newer songs were played.
Following “The World I Know”, E Rolland yelled, “Go Utes!”. Some of the crowd cheered, and some booed. He then said, “Some people don’t sound too happy out there.”. He asked someone in the crowd to shoot straight with him. He wanted to know what was going on. “Oh, there’s a game this week?” he asked. Then he yelled, “Go Cougars!” Which of course got some cheers and some boos”. Of course, this was all tongue in cheek and the crowd ate it up. E Rolland yelled out, “I love college football!”, followed by “Go Dawgs!”. Being from Georgia I think it’s safe to say he was talking about the Univerity of Georgia Bulldogs. I got pretty excited about all of this because I’m a huge college football fan. It got me thinking about how much I was looking forward to watching my Clemson Tigers this season. I’m from South Carolina and we Southerners love college football, so I was right in step with this Georgia based band with all of this.
Robin from Gin Blossoms joined Collective Soul on stage and they performed “The One I Love” from another great band from Georgia, REM. This went over really well with the audience. It’s surprises like this that make going to concerts so fun! E Rolland said that the band name was still to be determined. They were trying to decide between Gin Soul or Collective Blossom.
A huge highlight for me was getting to her “Gel”. It’s one of my favorite Collective Soul songs. It took me back to my high school days getting ready for my high school baseball games. “Gel” was a song I would always play. I remember I called into the local rock radio station to request it for the “Top 9 at 9:00 countdown”. I got on the air and they played it. I remember the next day all my friends at school telling me they heard me on the air. Can you imagine that happening today? I can’t fathom it.
There’s something to be said for a band having the perfect closing song. Collective Soul has that with “Run”. It’s one of those songs that have great meaning but a great hook as well. Fans can sing “Have I got a long way to run?” over and over as the band leaves the stage. It reminds me a little bit of U2’s “40”. Not that the songs sound alike, they don’t. But they have that line that people can sing until it fades into the crowd as the lights come on.
Collective Soul did the unthinkable. They celebrated their 25th anniversary while at the same time promoting their new album Blood. That’s not an easy thing to do. The title of this tour seems very appropriate. The “Now’s the Time Tour” represents exactly that. It’s time to remember their legacy, and it’s time to celebrate the fact that they still put on a great show, and they’re still putting out good music.