Friday Night: Collective Soul at House of Blues

CSoul June 4 1.JPG
Photos by Barry Sigman
Collective Soul
House of Blues
June 1, 2012

What does a Collective Soul concert look like in 2012? That was the question I found myself seeking an answer to on Friday night when the '90s radio hitmakers rolled into House of Blues. Anyone who's listened to 97.5 The Buzz in the past 20 years can sing the chorus to half a dozen of the band's tunes, but has the heavy wave of '90s nostalgia rippling through music and culture really extended to Collective Soul? What have they got left to say in the iPod era?

Nothing new, as it turns out, but the old stuff is still packin' 'em in. If Friday's show wasn't sold out, it was certainly packed to the ribs. Far from the fresh-faced college kids set to swam Eleanor Tinsley Park the next day at Free Press Summer Fest, the crowd for Collective Soul was decidedly older and better able to afford the $7 beers. At least half the audience was pushing 50 and coupled up.

There was no opening act for the show: The band's current tour isn't about introducing anything fresh. More and more acts are staying out on the road these days by performing their classic albums in full, and on Friday, Collective Soul dusted off 1998's platinum Dosage. Actually, calling the record a classic is a bit of a stretch. Smash singles have always been Collective Soul's stock and trade, not long-form concepts.

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Still, the band took pains to recreate the sounds of that era during the first of its two sets. Singer Ed Roland used a lyrical cheat sheet for songs from the disc like "Slow" and "Generate" that he probably hadn't sung since they were recorded before this trek. The crowd appeared equally fuzzy on remembering some of the tunes, but the excellent "Heavy" gave them a taste of the group's trademark monster riffs.

Dosage proved to be a solid set performed by pros, but the people paid their money to hear the hits. Fortunately, Collective Soul wasn't shy about providing them. In fact, the band was not unaffected by the nostalgia in the air, either. Friday's enthusiastic crowd sent Roland on a trip down Memory Lane to the band's first big break.

"Right after we got signed, they sent us to Houston, Texas, to play at Goat's Head Soup," he said, wistfully. "We got to hang out with King's X that night."

As band and audience alike basked in the warmth of fond memories, Roland and his bandmates promptly stepped on "Gel," that indelible staple of '90s rock radio that is playing on the airwaves somewhere in America right this minute. And you know what? It still rocked.

Collective Soul cranked up the nostalgia even further with an '80s tribute that included a medley of snippets from the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams," Van Halen's "Dance the Night Away" and AC/DC's "Thunderstruck."

"Yes, that one's from 1990," Roland admitted, grinning. "I know my music!"

Location Info

House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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I was there. I'm in the "old as fuck" group. We go to concerts now because we can afford the prices and the $7+ beer. We see a lot of concerts and as far as I'm concerned it was one of the best in a while. The crowd was into it-except for the drunk-off-her-ass chick that was spilling her expensive booze down the back of my legs. She feel down and stopped the show until security escorted her drunk self out, to the chants of "It's time for you to go"! Ah yes, good times.


I'm 35. I don't think that counts as "old as fuck". I saw a lot of 30-40's at the show. I brought along my 14 year old nephew, who thought it was amazing. You are correct that this show was about their older songs. They stuck to their plan of performing Dosage (minus the track Dandy Life, written/sung by ex-guitarist, Ross Childress) and a sampling of other greats during the second half. The performance of Forgiveness was a real treat, not one typically on their set list, but a real gem. What they didn't share with the crowd was much of their newer pieces. Aside from Hollywood, they didn't really go there. Perhaps because their newer stuff has a different vibe, not as crunchy or harmonious on the guitars as some of their earlier works. However, their new stuff is still great music. If you keep up with the band, you'd find out that their incredibly talented Bass player, Will Turpin, has a solo cd out, as does their guitarist, Joel Kosche. I believe even Ed's brother, Dean, is involved in a side project with another band. There's more to Collective Soul than just 90's

Nathan Smith
Nathan Smith

Maybe I overemphasized the crowd's age, but it did surprise me. I definitely believe the median age of the audience had to be over 40. That's no knock on the band or the crowd, but it did interest me. I'd assumed most listeners would be closer to my age (31). New stuff would have been interesting, but this is an out-and-out nostalgia tour. No sense dancing around it. I tried to convey the fact that this kind of thing plays to Collective Soul's strengths, however. I very much agree that there was a lot of talent onstage.

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