Collective Soul blends gritty hard rock with wholesome pop. Frontman Ed Roland’s voice is edgy, but smooth. His dark gray hair falls over his iconic thick, black frames as he forces out his muted falsetto.
Roland and his bandmate/brother Dean grew up in a musical household. Their father was the music minister at a church and took them to see music greats such as Johnny Cash, Elton John, The Kinks and The Eagles at young ages.
“I’m proud to say every member of this band grew up in a house with love, music and sports,” Roland said to the packed Grande Exposition Hall at the Silvery Legacy in Reno on Saturday.
They started the show with “Heavy” and got the crowd to its feet. Their new guitarist, Jesse Triplett, fits in perfectly and slashed through the wah solos.
They love making music and being around each other. It showed when they played new material. The three-part harmonies were warm and soothing. In a phone interview, bassist Will Turpin said he loves the current lineup, and rightfully so — Triplett kills. On a scale from Lil Wayne to Stevie Ray Vaughan, he’s sitting at a cool Mark Tremonti.
Roland said Collective Soul will be release a double album later this year, despite it not making sense to do so in this climate of singles and Spotify.
They kept the energy high for their onslaught of favorites and the new stuff. They started a stripped-down version of “Shine” with Ed on piano. It slowly evolved into the full-bodied radio hit. It even prompted some of the Silver Legacy staff to take out their phones and record some memories. Every “Yeah!” of the pre-chorus was for the audience. People were waving their hands as if being filled by the Holy Spirit.
Ed was wearing a shirt that read “Biscuits and Gravy” – just to make sure the crowd knew they were from Georgia.
“I wanted to clear that up,” Roland said. “So you don’t get us confused for a ’90s band from Seattle.”
He went on to say performing is therapy for him, and sometimes he simply needs a good show.
“Four or five songs into it, and you’re giving it to me,” Roland said. “Thank you for giving us fucking life, Reno!”
During “Better Now” I saw an older man with a drink in hand go through a grouping of dancing ushers and give them each a high-five.
Each song felt special. “The World I Know” started with Roland slowly strumming a 12-string guitar. Triplett added swells in place of the violins. Every night they create the beautiful melancholia only found in ’90s music, from Paula Cole to Goo Goo Dolls and the score of Titanic.
Roland winded the show down with stories of the first two songs they wrote as a band. The first, “Gel,” was during a time they were on tour with Aerosmith and fearful their label was going to drop them. The second, “Where the River Flows,” was written while on a break in Reno. We can now all pretend the song is about our Truckee River.
Roland introduced the band as a form of giving thanks. He and his brother hugged and rustled each other’s hair.
They closed with “Run” and it progressively became more minimalistic. Drummer Johnny Rabb joined the rest of the band at the front of the stage with a tambourine, and Turpin served as an impromptu conductor as the crowd sang the chorus. They left the stage one by one. Ed left last while still playing his guitar. The crowd continued to sing as the houselights came up.
– Tony Contini