Collective Soul played to a near sold-out crowd at the Canton Palace Theater on Saturday night.  Frontman Ed Roland told an interesting story early in the set.  He said he was speaking to someone before the show and they mentioned that Collective Soul was a “‘90s band.”  Roland responded “we may have been formed in the ‘90s, but we are still a fucking rock and roll band!”

Proving his point, Ed and the boys shook the Palace Theater for nearly two hours with great rock and roll.  Starting with the crunching guitars of “Heavy,” then segueing into “Why, Pt. 2” for a great one-two opening punch.

Roland is also a very energetic front-man who had the audience in the palm of his hand all evening.  His dancing, spinning, duck-walking and of course singing had everyone in the audience watching his every move, wondering what he might do next.

Even when the band played unfamiliar tunes such as songs from their 2015 release See What You Started By Continuing or brand new songs from their upcoming album, the fans remained on their feet, giving energy back to the band.

In the middle of the set, Roland took center stage with his acoustic guitar and starting playing “Amazing Grace.”  After a few bars, the song turned into “Shine” which was the “#1 Rock Song of 1994” according to Billboard magazine.  Most bands would save their biggest hit for the encore.  Not Collective Soul.  This band has so many rockin’ tunes that they can put their biggest hit anywhere they want to in the set.

Lead guitarist Jesse Triplett got to take the spotlight on several solos, meanwhile the other members of the band: guitarist Dean Roland, bassist Will Turpin and drummer Johnny Radd  tended to stay in the background, happily laying the foundation for each song.  

It became a hit parade towards the end of the show as “December,” the beautiful “The World I Know” and “Gel” were all played flawlessly.

Roland noted that they were not going to leave the stage and come back for an encore.  The audience would know when the show was over.

After “Where The River Flows” and “Run” I witnessed something that I have never seen before at a concert.  Roland continued to play his acoustic guitar and sing to the audience from the front of the stage without a microphone.  Each band member then came to the front of the stage and shook hands with the fans and thanked the crowd.  Then one by one, each member waved and exited the stage while Roland continued to play.  Finally, Roland said his goodbye’s and continued to play for about a minute from behind the stage until the house lights came on.

It was a very unique and fitting way to end a great rock show!

Opening the show was Florida based band We The Kings.  Well, only two of the kings were on stage for this acoustic performance.  Singer/guitarist Travis Clark and percussionist Danny Duncan played a short, but impressive set of alt-pop songs.  “Say You Love Me.” “We’ll Be A Dream” and even a cover of The Chainsmoker’s hit “Closer” were in the set.  

Clark searched for the youngest person in the audience and he eventually found a nine year old boy in the front and asked if he would like to have his first crowd surfing experience.  After his mother agreed; a muscular fan from the audience picked up the boy and paraded him around the front of the stage while they played their biggest hit “Check Yes Juliet.”  

It was a very nice gesture by the band and I’m sure they earned a fan for life.  

Akron’s own The Ohio Weather Band was the first act to take the stage playing a nice set of indie/Americana rock music to warm up the audience.  

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Greg Drugan has been attending concerts since 1982 and has seen everyone from AC/DC to ZZ Top. Classic rock is his forte, but he is also well versed in alternative and pop music. When not attending concerts, Greg can be found teaching history, psychology and the history of rock n roll at a rural high school where he also serves as the head track coach. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, reading and spending time with his family.