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Playing to a packed house at the beautiful Paramount Theatre on Long Island, Collective Soul went straight into the album, opening with Doser's opening track, "Tremble for My Beloved", which led into fan-favorite (and 1999 #1 hit) "Heavy". The crowd erupted and never stopped the whole night. Front man and lead singer Ed Roland seemed to be basking in the energy that the crowd was giving off. The ballad "Needs" brought a particularly serene moment that had everyone in the crowd singing along; it was a really beautiful moment in the show that did not go unnoticed by those in attendance.
After taking a break, Roland and company came back to the stage and literally tore through a set filled with all the songs that we have come to know and love over the years. They opened up the set with the rocker "Welcome All Again" from their eighth studio album, 1999′s Rabbit, which saw lead guitarist Joel Kosher really open up and play some heavy riffs. In the middle of the set, Roland went on to say that although up to that point, they were playing "all the hits that you have heard a million times", they had to play a song or two for themselves before busting out rarity "Forgiveness", which appears on 1997′s Disciplined Breakdown. On a side note, at one point Roland said for the crowd to give it up for their touring drummer, none other than "The Fastest Drummer in the World", Mr. Johnny Rabb himself. While many were not familiar with the drumming legend, hardcore music fans know Rabb as the record holder for 'World's Fastest Drummer', playing 1,071 strokes in 60 seconds, as well as his extensive work with BioDiesel. Needless to say, the word thrilled doesn't do justice to the overall feeling I got out of seeing Johnny Rabb play with Collective Soul. It was beyond cool.
Being from Stockbridge, Georgia, Collective Soul paid homage to bands like REM and The Cars with the commercial hit "Hollywood" from 2007′s Afterwords. This song is just a bit too clean and polished, and strays a bit from the rest of their catalogue. But there has to be a beer break in any show, and this just happened to be it. The set came to a close with "Precious Declaration" into "The World I Know", the latter of which had all hands in attendance raised to the sky and loving every second. The band returned to encore with "December", and finished with the song that started it all off for them, "Shine", which appears on their 1993 demo Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid. The funny thing about "Shine" and this demo is that Ed Roland wrote the song with intentions to sell the songs to a publishing company. After receiving positive feedback, it was only at this point that Roland agreed to enlist his brother Dean and Will Turpin (who are still in the band) to start Collective Soul and tour. Almost twenty years later, you could see it in the smile on his face, that Roland is extremely appreciative what has transpired since that demo tape was leaked.
It was a rocking show overall, and it is great to see that The Paramount is getting some more legitimate bands to play this spectacular venue. It really is an awesome venue to check out a show, and if you haven't been there yet, check out their calendar and get on it; you will not be disappointed. And if you are not on the island, and located in the city, all you have to do is take Penn Station to Huntington, get off the train, walk over to the trolley, show them your ticket, and take the trolley to and from the venue for free. And there are plenty of great bars and restaurants to get food and drinks before the show.
By Chris Meyer
Check out videos of Collective Soul performing "Shine" and "Gel" at The Paramount here:
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