July 3rd, 2012 | Published in Stage and Street
Collective Soul struck pay dirt in the early 90s when megahit “Shine” rocketed the album Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid to the top of the charts. The Georgia band’s self-titled 1995 follow-up yielded even more hits, including uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh alternative rock sing-along “Gel.”
But Collective Soul focused on material from their acclaimed 1999, Dosage, during their pitch-perfect show at House of Blues Cleveland last Tuesday.
You know these songs even if you think you don’t. Most will recall the distinctive cover art, which features a close-up of a woman being swarmed by bees (some of which nestle in her mouth).
Singer Ed Roland could pass for a college philosophy professor these days, what with his wavy locks and studious eyeglasses. His group’s been around nearly two decades and some of its members (including Prof. Ed himself) are the rock star fathers of teenagers.
But that didn’t stop Ed and brother Dean (rhythm guitar) from marching a near-capacity crowd through two sets of solid pop rock. Joining the Roland brothers were mustachioed lead guitarist Joel Kosche and pony-tailed bassist Will Turpin. Session ace Johnny Rabb is touring as Collective Soul’s fill-in drummer.
The first of two sets comprised of Dosage in its entirety, front to back—from “Tremble for My Beloved” and number-one hit “Heavy” to “Not the Only One” and Crown.” Roland was dervish of energy, alternating between two microphone stands and prowling every available inch on the stage. Brother Dean eked chunky grooves from his guitar, occasionally indulging in a little wah-wah or reverb via the effects pedals at his feet. Kosche’s lead lines and solos cut through the mix without usurping the actual songs. Turpin and Rabb locked in early on, creating a tight groove pocket that sustained anthems like “Run” and “Generate.”
The second set was a marathon of all the hits not found on Dosage. Commencing with “Welcome All Again” (from their eponymous 2009 album with the rabbit on the sleeve) and working backwards in time (“Better Now,” “Forgiveness”), the Roland boys demonstrated why Collective Soul will be remembered even if they never score another hit. They mingled and made it well on “Gel” and stormed through “Hollywood” and “Precious Declaration” before returning to ’95 with “The World I Know.”
The guys thanked their Cleveland constituency by encoring with “December” and a transcendent “Shine,” which had those in attendance chanting the refrain.