Updated: Aug 25
The Lehigh Valley packed into Wind Creek Event Center's lobby ready for some Friday night nostalgia. Drinks poured and merchandise flew pre-show with chatting in the background during the wait before doors. And with fans making their way in at 7:00, the show finally started at 8:15.
Boston rockers Rubikon took the stage first thing and gained a captivating hold on the crowd. Vocalist Jae covered stage ground swiftly and enthusiastically, beckoning the crowd for their cheers. Every band member exuded confidence and took command of their performances, but bassist Hubes really stood out and made their performance that much better with how into the music he got.
Rubikon was a great choice to warm up the crowd for the upcoming sixteen-song headliner set.
Even if someone (like myself) is only familiar with Collective Soul's bigger hits "Shine", "Where the River Flows", and "December", the show they put on can convert a casual listener to a fan by the end of their set. Ed Roland is the shining example of a rock frontman presenting a high level of energy (including making his grand entrance through the crowd with an abundance of handshakes and fist bumps), lasting vocal ability and adaptation, and plenty of stories from the past almost 30 years to accompany the songs he and the band have written so humanly and openly over that time. These stories tying into music included two brand new tracks "Mother's Love" and "Not the Same", which were both recorded in Elvis Presley's Palm Springs home. The set's energy played off a great balance of fast-paced and slower, more emotive tracks to keep everyone in the crowd on their toes. The stage production/lighting was also great and meshed well with the group's entire performance.
The most pleasant surprise during the show was the ability to see what happy, humble guys Collective Soul are. Roland announced to the crowd that they are raising funds to support the people of Maui after the raging wildfires, allowing for a moment of vulnerability and selflessness. Roland also allowed another moment of selflessness for a fan and took their t-shirt mid-show so the entire band could autograph it for them. When they reached the time for their cover of R.E.M.'s "The One I Love", Roland went into a humility-filled speech emphasizing the importance of R.E.M. inspiring other Georgia bands like them to make it. Collective Soul very obviously enjoys each other's company also going by all the smiles and the rest of the band dancing around Roland during his acoustic solo sing-along of "Run" that ended the show.
There are numerous headlining shows and festival performances the band has lined up for the rest of year. We highly suggest catching their set since you won't be disappointed.