Now I will admit, I have been a fan of Collective Soul since I was a teenager and sort of "borrowed" their 1993 debut album Hints, Allegations and things left unsaid from our local library in Billerica Massachusetts. I loved that album and had it on a heavy rotation on my boombox. Yes kids, boombox. I am the old, I digress. The album came out during the age of grunge and bands such as Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Alice in Chains and many others were ruling the radio airwaves. This was during a time when radio was still very relevant in how well an album sold or how much success a band got. We have now changed into the age of Youtube and social media to find new music, so radio is less relevant in that regard. I stayed with Collective Soul through the years and loved their follow up self titled album released in 1995. This album had hits such as "Gel, December, The world I know" and many others. So to say the least I was excited to photograph them. I also got to meet Ed Roland (lead singer) in the mid 2000's when I was an on air talent for the radio station G105 FM. He and the bands guitarist did a small intimate acoustic set at this local bar in Raleigh NC. I got to meet him and have a small conversation maybe lasting 10 seconds. Either way it was a cool moment!
So lets get back to the show and review. I got their just as they were getting ready to hit the stage and I felt the excitement starting to build inside of me. Fans started to walk up to the front barricade with their beverages held high. It was still daylight out when the band came on stage so there was not really any creative lighting at the beginning of their set. Ed Roland came out and just danced, jumped and showed an almost teenage like excitement to be there playing for the Greensboro fans. His voice sounded good though you could hear varying changes that come with age, but non the less he did very good and the fans loved it. The band was consistent and seemed to have fed off the energy of Ed during each song. The band would pause during some songs and talk with the crowd and really interact to give a great concert experience. As we finished up our allotted three song media coverage, I and the other photographers went to the side and just watched the show to get a good review. Their set lasted I believe about an hour or a little over and the energy never stopped. The sun went down and that's when the light show started up and as a photographer I was so jealous I was not able to take pictures! I got to see them play some of their biggest hits such as "Gel, December, The world I know, Heavy, When the river flows" and others my brain just won't remember right now. But it was awesome! When I heard the first guitar riff of Gel and then When the river flows I found myself starting to mouth the lyrics as my head and long hair started to flail around.
The band also played two new original songs that Ed had said was from their new upcoming album. The songs were really good and I unfortunately could not hear what the name of the songs were. Ed talked about his writing process a little bit before they started playing the new material and it had a very acoustic style passion to it and I thoroughly enjoyed the new songs. They did release an album in 2015 called See What You Started By Continuing and their are some great tracks on that record. I recommend for you to check it out. Overall the band did a great job and their show was exciting and I did not find myself becoming bored during their set at all, I found myself really enjoying their set. They were full on energy and were grateful to the fans for coming out and see them live. I feel like Collective Soul could be and is on it's way to being a long lasting musical force. Check them out live!
Images copyrighted and taken by Chris Sturk