Collective Soul and I, we have a history. I liked them in 1994 or thereabouts when they first broke through, then we went our separate ways, and now I finally got the chance to see them.
Unfortunately, I told this whole story - using many more words, which was probably unnecessary - after I saw them in February 2008.
Since then, not much has changed between us. They put out a new album recently. I listened to it a few times. It was fine. I'm listening to it now, in fact. But there isn't necessarily a lot to talk about.
I mentioned last time that Collective Soul has some kind of strange grip on Saskatoon. No matter how they're doing anywhere else, Saskatoon is a near-instant sellout. Well, I have since discovered that they have a grip on the whole province. This show sold out in short order and I was surprised by the number of people I work with who were sad that they didn't buy tickets in time.
I had no such problems because Dave likes Collective Soul an awful lot and he bought tickets within minutes of the concert being announced. This may have been a tactical mistake on his part, given that a Saskatoon show was only a few days away from being announced. Going to that show instead would have saved him two highway drives (and possibly one windshield, but that may have been fate).
But hey - he did make the drive to Regina, and that gave him the opportunity to bring (and sell) me a big TV. Of course, that also meant that I made him help me get rid of my old tube TVs, pick out a new TV stand, take the new stand home, take everything off my old stand, put the new stand together, load everything onto the new stand, and take the old stand apart and haul it away. And when I say "I made him help me," I really mean that I made him do almost everything until such time as I put my back out; from that point on, there was no almost about it. High-five for helping!
My back was actually bad enough that for a brief moment, I was concerned that I wouldn't even make it to the show. I spent about five minutes on one knee trying to psych myself into standing up because I figured I could walk it off if only I could make myself upright. I finally latched onto my phone and discovered, sadly, that I couldn't get into the chiropractor's until the next day. With no alternative, I downed a few Robaxacets and grabbed my handheld back massager thing, which is basically a plastic triangle with three nubs on it. I massaged the affected area (affectionately known as "the upper butt") until I was merely uncomfortable. I was amazed that this worked out as well as it did. I'm sure that it looked suspicious that I was miraculously cured as soon as the last of the TV stand construction was completed.
We got to the casino, ran into one of my coworkers and his family, and took our seats. The casino has table seating and balcony seating, and we wound up with two tickets at a table, which meant that we would be joined by two mystery people. They turned out to be a couple of folks who seemed nice and we really didn't talk to them at all.
Having skipped supper, we ordered nachos before the show in a move that harkened back to the chicken fingers and mozza sticks of days of yore. I am kind of sad they didn't have chicken fingers, actually. The nachos were fine but you know how you normally run out of toppings and you're left with bare chips? This was the reverse, which normally would be awesome, but I think I just wanted chips and salsa. I didn't even finish my half, and I got through more than Dave did.
So, let's talk about Collective Soul, seeing as how there was no opening act apart from a few radio DJs that walked out on stage, said that Collective Soul would be coming out soon, and left. I don't know if this happens at every Collective Soul show, but it has happened at all two shows of theirs that I've seen, so I can only assume it's in their contract. They want a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed, and three radio DJs (possibly with all the brown ones removed - I really don't recall what they looked like).
Say what you will about a band whose biggest hits came over a decade ago, but they made it sound like it wasn't a common occurrence to play at a casino in front of a sedately seated crowd. This crowd did not stay seated for very long, though. There were more new songs played than I would have expected - when a band has been around this long, I expect their shows to be glorified greatest-hits collections - and even said new songs were loved. They got a standing ovation only a few songs in, and when they played Shine, they got a reaction that I can only describe as ridiculous. Dave later said that they should have closed the show with it, and I agree - there was nothing they could have played that could have followed that. Still, the entire second half of the show had people up and dancing in front of the stage.
It also had some dude yelling into the lead singer's mic while he was introducing the band, which was kind of awesome. "You see, dude, I have ears on, and you just deafed me. Is that a word?"
As an aside related to both Shine and hollering, thanks to the Bryan and Vinny Show, I can no longer hear Shine without mentally inserting the Great Khali. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH. This made me laugh out loud while they were playing the song and I'm glad nobody asked for an explanation. Dave would have understood but I don't think anyone else on Earth would have.
So yeah, people liked the new songs, people liked the old hits - and they played most of the ones that I could think of, save for Precious Declaration - people liked pretty much everything, and that always makes for a great atmosphere. By the end of the show, I was even willing to overlook the lead singer's questionable blouse-and-scarf combo. I guess you can get away with such things if you're a rock star.
All told, this was a much better show than the last time, and that one exceeded my expectations. I can honestly say that I won't run out and buy tickets the next time they come to town, but that shouldn't be taken as a critique of the band, just an observation that I have Dave to do that for me. He's like my personal shopper when it comes to concerts that he wants to see. Besides, I might need some more furniture put together by then.
UPCOMING SHOWS - Oct. 23: Ben Folds (w/Kate Miller-Heidke) - Oct. 29: Def Leppard (w/Cheap Trick & Man Raze) - Nov. 14: Stone Temple Pilots - Dec. 15: Wayne Newton