Collective Soul's Youth Movement:
Georgia Hit Makers Rock the Ages in New Jersey!
A SoundPress.net Archive Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Collective Soul is widely regarded as one of the most successful rock bands of the 1990's. They finished up their seven year run on Atlantic Records with the release of 7even Year Itch: Collective Soul Greatest Hits 1994-2001 that documented their amazing penchant for melodic, multi-platinum radio-friendly song craft. After a four-year break to retool their line-up the band has remerged as a true indie act with a new record on their own label with the November-2004 release, Youth.

Collective Soul in Concert
Collective Soul's Ed Roland commands the stage in Sayreville, New Jersey!

In 2006, the band is touring for the Youth CD as well as two subsequent audio and video releases on their El Music Group label. The live CD and DVD, Home, and the acoustic performance CD From The Ground Up chronicle the band's musical growth as well as their captivating live performances.

The concert at Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey on June 7, 2006 featured many tracks from the new Youth CD in addition to many classic radio favorites from their extensive catalogue. New tracks included the opener "Counting The Days" which contained all the crucial elements of the Collective Soul sound as well as the nice "How Do You Love" and the lovely mid-tempo "Under Heaven's Skies" were well-received by the fans.

Collective Soul has some new members but their riffy and often crunchy/chunky sound was right on all night long. Drummer Ryan Hoyle, who replaces Shane Evans, was the driving backbone throughout the set and new guitarist Joel Kosche was effective and competent in providing the melody filled leads and fast licks that were ever-present throughout the songs while adding his own style and confidence to the notes once played by Ross Childress.

Collective Soul in Concert
Ed Roland - rock's greatest front man? We say yes!

Having been very familiar with Collective Soul's radio hits and earlier recordings, but never having seen the band live, I didn't expect Ed Roland to be one of the greatest front men in rock. I don't know why I wasn't suspecting this, but I wasn't. To my pleasant surprise and enjoyment it became immediately apparent during the show that he is. Ed was a kinetic ball of energy all night long - strutting, gesturing, moving about with the music and leading the crowd in a charismatic and fun manner as well. To find out for yourself just how good Ed and the band are in the live setting you should check out the live DVD and hopefully you'll catch a show in the future. You can't deny Ed's songwriting ability - he's a proven success and a rock radio favorite and the senior Roland is also a well-known music producer. He's a hell of an entertainer, too!

Many of those rock radio favorites were on display during the evening. Following the opener, the band launched into a strong one-two-three punch of some of their best knockout out songs - "Listen", "December" and "Breathe". The energy of the band was electric, the music was tight, and these songs served as a nice platform to introduce some of the newer material. Other radio gems heard in the set were "Precious Declaration, "Run", "Gel" and "The World I Know".

"That's a lot of signs," Ed commented halfway into the band's set. You see, there was a lot of music in the air, and not all of it was played to their completion, or at all. There must have been about 50 signs with individual song titles and at one point Ed pointed out the ones which the band wouldn't be playing. Alluding to their recent time off he said, "we're still relearning some of these songs."

The band also teased the crowd with a few licks from fan favorites and some cover songs. At one point the band started ZZ Top's "La Grange", "Just My Imagination", a few bars of a T-Rex classic and "Cat Scratch Fever", perhaps for the opening act. The possibility of hearing some of these remakes really charged the crowd who seemed only slightly disappointed in not getting to hear them to their completion. Still, perhaps this bodes well for a Collective Soul cover CD sometime in the future. This is something a lot of bands and artists seem to be up to lately.

The crowd that turned out was an interesting mix with the audience age bell curve ranging from 15-50 with a fairly even distribution of genders. There were a lot of youth on hand providing the energy and excitement for their favorite rock band. This proves that Collective Soul is still reaching out to, and drawing, a younger audience. These newly added fans will probably become a part of their secret to longevity in the future.

Collective Soul in Concert
Dean Roland rocks the packed house at the Starland Ballroom!

Longtime bass player and backing singer, Will Turpin, was the reliable anchor all night long. Turpin at times provides the second voice in the band's distinctive two-part harmonies. Often he serves as a response or hook vocalist. Will served to launch several episodes of audience sing-alongs throughout the show. Two of the most interactive songs of the night we're from the new record. "Home" and "Better" were highlights and the latter had the audience singing the band off and back onstage for the encore with the new precious declaration from the song,

The worlds done shaking
The worlds done shaking
The worlds done shaking me down

Another likable aspect of the band is the strong family ties these southern boys from Georgia exhibit. Collective Soul might have been going through some personal struggles recently but when Ed introduced the band he identified younger brother Dean as his best friend in the world - a rarity in the world of rock and roll brotherhood - and you know he meant it. Together Ed and Dean Roland have taken care of their problems at home and they have now returned with a strong rededication to the family business. We look forward to their new ventures!

"Thank you for allowing us to have so much fun. This is what's it all about!" Ed Roland remarked to the attendees about the mid-week show. The raucous closers of "Where the River Flows" and "Shine" confirmed that the band and audience had regained some child-like spirit this evening, as Ed confirmed his good time. "You're not supposed to have this much fun on a Wednesday night!"

Collective Soul shared the stage with a younger band who is making some noise in the region lately. Their members hail from Detroit and Ontario and the group is fronted by namesake Jody Raffoule. Jody's working class drive has landed him in the spotlight with big name artists, opening for the likes of Bon Jovi, Kid Rock, Joe Cocker, Blues Traveler, Richard Marx, Counting Crows, The Allman Brothers Band, Uncle Kracker, John Entwhistle, Chris Isaak, Paul Rogers and, for several dates on this tour, Collective Soul.

Jody won the first leg of the XM Radio-sponsored "Have a Nice Gig" Bon Jovi contest, and Jody Raffoul and his band will be opening the first of three shows for Bon Jovi's home stand gigs at Giant's Stadium, NJ in July.

Jody's blue collar rock fit in well with the New Jersey crowd and the 5-piece band with the hard rocking acoustic sound were very well received by the audience at the Starland Ballroom. Jody sings in a strong and gravelly voice and the songs often featured good hooks, relatable lyrics and emotive vocals. Jody introduced the song "Light of Day" by saying the track has been getting a lot of airplay in Detroit lately. Now, the compelling rocker is catching on in New Jersey, too. It looks like Jody Raffoule's bright future in just around the corner!

Collective Soul in Concert
Jody Raffoule's blue collar rock was warmly received in New Jersey!

Related Links: For more information on Collective Soul and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- CollectiveSoul.com | JodyRaffoul.com | StarlandBallroom.com

(Originally Published on June 14, 2006)

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