Collective Soul/Gin Blossoms @ Sands Bethlehem Event Center (PA) – June 7, 2019

Gin Blossoms – Robin Wilson’s voice sounds just as great as it did in the 90s. The band was tight with great sound, especially the open and airy guitar tone that shined on their deep songs full of heart. “|Here Again” was beautifully sung into the heartfelt “a million kisses” lyric. Wilson enaged the crowd by asking them to stand and by handing two tambouriines out to audience mebmbers. “In 1996 we performed this song on SNL when it was a top ten single..fuck yeah.” The band the  performed the excellent and upbeat “Follow You Down’. Toward the end of the set a cover of Tom Petty’s “Even The Losers” roused the crowd into action. You’re amazed when you see Gin Blossoms’ live and realize how many songs you recognize instantly. The band’s new songs were interesting and fresh while still maintaining the signature sound they’re known for. My favorite song of the set had to be the slower and melancholic “Until I Fall Away”

Collective Soul – I have been wanting to see Collective Soul since I bought their second album on CD at the record store. I instantly became infatuated with their heavy rocking sound dominated by amazing guitar riffs/solos, a tight and loud rhythm section and vocals/lyrics that resonated with me. The 25th anniversary tour for the band seemed like the perfect time to see them so I made the three hour trek to Bethlehem, PA (Just add sun chips and I’m good). Singer Ed Roland took the stage before the band’s set to announce that the band was donating proceeds from sales of their new CD (which you could get at the show before it comes out on June 21st) to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) in each city. “Enjoy your evening, we’re gonna kick your ass.” Roland exclaimed.

The band arrived on stage after “Pump It Up” by Elvis Costello was played over the speakers.

Singer Ed Roland channeled his hero Elton John by wearing a gold jacket, snazzy hat and fancy glasses as he delivered the first song behind the piano.

Jesse Triplet melted faces off with incendiary solos in so many of the songs, Will Turpin kept the backbeat going on bass and delivered some of my favorite backing vocals, Johnny Rabb laid down the heavy grooves on drums, Dean Roland dominated the rhythm guitar and Ed Roland sang soulfully and skillfully while keeping the crowd engaged and in the moment.

The band delivered incredible new songs as well as a setlist heavily dominated by the band’s second album that I have listened to and loved for so long.

I didn’t take many notes as this was a show I had been waiting to see for a number of years. I can tell you that Collective Soul did indeed kick ass as Roland promised before the show.

I was a twelve year old kid wishing I could be a songwriter when I put the needle down on Elton John’s greatest hits. Thanks for twenty five years of a dream.” – Ed Roland


Author: whatisfrederick

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