Collective Soul Live In Phoenix

by Zane Ewton

8/13/2019 in Phoenix, Arizona at the Comerica Theater

For a tour seemingly steeped in 1990s nostalgia, Collective Soul wasted no time hitting the stage with a handful of new songs from their latest record Blood - as consistently good as anything they've done - and vibrant takes on the hits.

The band is celebrating 25 years on this Now's the Time tour, sharing the stage on this stop with Phoenix hometown heroes and fellow '90s stalwarts the Gin Blossoms.

Across those 25 years, E. Roland and the band have crafted 10 good to great studio albums. With only a 90-minute set, a fan's only complaint might be missing the chance to hear much of the band's powerful post-2000 songs from records like Youth, Afterwords and their second self-titled record.

There are gems on those records that sit on the bench, but the band wouldn't be able to get away from playing their biggest hits like "Run," "Gel," "December" and the song that put them on the post-grunge map, "Shine."

Revamped intros and a little jam band influence injected a fresh take on these songs that are still carried by some monster hooks, big guitar riffs and Roland's unmistakable voice.

New songs like show opener "Observation of Thoughts" and "Right as Rain" deliver the same big hooks and thoughtful vocals.

Rob Wilson of the Gin Blossoms joined the band for a faithful cover of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love" and Roland's son, Lyndsey, shared vocals with his father on "Better Now."

While Roland is a terrific frontman and singer, lead guitarist Jesse Triplett threatened to steal the show with his high energy and clear enthusiasm for the leads and riffs in songs like "Where the River Flows" and "Heavy".

There's always been an everyman quality to Collective Soul and their approach to the stage. It works because the songs win the day and the band's connection to the audience is genuine.

Twenty-five years in, a Collective Soul record or live show is about as close to a sure bet as you can get in rock and roll.

Collective Soul Live In Phoenix

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