Collective Soul screeches into Commodore Station on the Rock and Roll Express Tour

Collective Soul with The Static Shift at the Commodore Ballroom, 6/28/18

Photos by Ryan Johnson

It was a night of long hair, ripped jeans and peace signs.

With their Friday show sold out, Collective Soul brought their Rock and Roll Express tour to the Commodore Ballroom last night (June 28) for a second show. Playing to a packed house, the band came locked and loaded with an arsenal of their classic favourites and a few new hits boasting the trademark Collective Soul rock and roll sound.

Photos by Ryan Johnson

Opening for the band was Calgary-based trio The Static Shift which could be summed up as a live manifestation of a 70s LP collection. With vocals in the vein of Robert Plant, bass riffs a la Roger Waters, and a bluesy, youthful energy, the band could have headlined Woodstock. With marijuana legality just around the corner in B.C., they might be worth checking out.

Swooping onto the stage a little late (but far better than never), Collective Soul lead singer Ed Roland took the mic stand in hand – his trademark shoulder-length hair (now grey) tumbling loose from a beret – as the band dove immediately into crowd pleasers like “Shine” and “Heavy.”

“Thirty-four years later and we’re on one of the greatest routes on the f***ing planet,” Roland shouted, flashing a peace sign to the audience (and yielding several hundred in return). “Let’s play some other stuff you’ve heard before!”

Though Vancouver audiences are not necessarily known for their abandon in the face of a thumping beat, hits like “Why” and “Precious Declaration” had the room on their feet and the hands in the air.

Photos by Ryan Johnson

“These next two songs we recorded in 1996 with a hundred dollars in weed,” Roland continued, preaching to the choir as the band launched into “Better Now,” a song about moving on to a brighter future. “This is not the time for war.”

New tracks are always subject to some growing pains with a loyal fanbase, but the vibe never dipped as the band rolled out new tracks like “Rule #1,” and “Oxidation of Thoughts,” the latter being a song about Roland’s late sister in law. “She was 43 – so this [song] is watching my wife go through losing not only her sister, but her best friend.”

Photos by Ryan Johnson

“I just want to thank you for listening to new music because it does us a world of good,” Roland said before dropping the news that the band would be releasing four new tracks on their website to celebrate this year’s Independence Day.

Without leaving the stage, the band bridged fan favourite  “The World I know” into an encore boasting hits like “Where the River Flows” and “Run.”

“Thank you so much for giving us a f***ing life,” Roland gushed, pacing the stage with two fingers in the air, drawing a sea of frantic peace signs in return.

Collective Soul will play the Commodore Ballroom again tonight before continuing onto the Laketown Rock Festival in the Cowichan Valley.

Photos by Ryan Johnson