In the midst of sweltering summer heat and 100 degree days, Collective Soul brought their show to Marathon Music Works in Nashville. As far as I could tell, Marathon was only cooled by the giant fans spinning on the ceiling, but the heat didn’t deter the fans of the band from filling the factory floor.
By my watch, the show starts about 20 minutes late. I’d be disappointed if it didn’t. No good rock band has ever been described as “punctual.” Well, maybe Spinal Tap. But the fans’ anticipation is fueled by the delay. There are guys in suits and ties who just left work, and others in sleeveless shirts who seem to have been pre-gaming for a few hours. The crowd may look a little older than they did when they saw Collective Soul in college at the end of the century, but their love for the band is as youthful and exuberant as it’s always been.
As promised by the bill, the night begins with a performance of their 1999 classic Dosage from start to finish — the banner that hangs behind the band is the cover from the album. The crowd goes wild with the opening drone of “Tremble For My Beloved”; they go absolutely mental when the hard-panned chainsaw riff from “Heavy” begins to play; they sing all the words to “Run” and “Not The One.” It’s been 13 years, but Dosage has been spinning in these fans’ CD players the whole time.
After a short break, the band comes back to play the singles that dominated alternative rock stations in the 1990s and early 2000s including “Why Pt. 2” and “The World I Know.” At one point, drummer Johnny Rabb steps out from behind his kit to show off his dance skills. Right after that there’s an impromptu medley of songs by The Cars.
As expected, the band saves their two biggest hits, “December” and “Shine,” for the encore. They draw them out so the fans can sing along for longer, and at times lead singer Ed Roland leaves the singing to the crowd. Both songs are as good today as they were when they were released in the mid-nineties.
The night ends with everyone sweaty but satisfied, returning to their normal lives after briefly traveling back in time to 1999.
Article and Photos by Andrew Miller