Gigs: Collective Soul-Surf Ballroom


On July 6th, I had the distinct privilege of seeing one of my favorite bands from the 90’s. Collective Soul has been around since ’94 and they’re still going to this day; their most recent album release coming out this summer. In that time, they’ve unleashed upon us many great singles and accomplished albums. From reading the band’s story, it seems that front-man Ed Roland never envisioned the band taking off the way it did. 20 years and 9 studio albums later, Ed finds him and his band mates still selling records and playing shows for large audiences.  I can’t recommend seeing them in person highly enough.


I had not previously attended the Surf Ballroom prior to this event. It is located in very scenic Clear Lake, IA. There’s plenty of history within this venue, hence the “…and museum” included in its title. It’s most famously known as the last venue that Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper performed at before they were tragically killed. I did not have a chance to check out any of the other attractions there besides the main stage. This spacious facility has held up very well and still has a very old-timey feel to it.


We arrived just in time to see Collective open. They played a couple of their newer tracks to start things off. The singer, Roland, then acknowledged that he was appreciative that the audience “put up with the new stuff” and proclaimed that there was going to plenty of the hits that everybody’s heard too many times. While I didn’t mind hearing some of the newer material that they had to offer, I was relieved to hear this. They immediately started up the guitar riff to “Heavy”. The crowd got into it and never looked back. This is arguably my favorite song by them. It ultimately ends up being a tie between that one and “Precious Declaration”. I’ve included both below.



“Precious Declaration” definitely gets a vote from me as a vintage, obscure music video from the 90’s



The band provided an eclectic mix of their collection throughout the night. I thought they included the audience very well, especially when getting the crowd to sing along with one of their newer works, not an easy proposition by any means. I was impressed by the classiness showed by the Clear Lake audience. They cheered loudly throughout the show and there were no boorish requesting shouts of the band’s hit singles in between songs. There was a sizable crowd present in this town of only 10.000. I think Ed and the rest of the band responded to this well. They would have delivered a terrific show regardless but they seemed to appreciate the crowd’s energy and took it to the next level during their performance of “Hollywood.” I was never a huge fan of this track until now. They really made a spectacle of it and it made for an unforgettable act. I did find something similar to it on the web but I don’t think most of you are all that excited to watch videos of live shows online. It’s one of those things you have to see for yourself. Needless to say, it fucking rocked.



They unofficially closed with one of their newer tracks and of course the “one more song” chant (which I’m a huge proponent of) was started shortly after. They came out a minute later and put the finishing touches on what was already a remarkable show. They led off the encore with “Shine“, which is a timeless classic. They officially ended the show with their epic ballad “Run”. Many people don’t know that that song was featured on the “Varsity Blues” soundtrack. Once again, they were able to get the crowd into it rather easily. By the end, you had an audience full of fans singing out the chorus with the band to the tune of a slow clap, instead of instruments. They’re  a class act, and I urge you to see them while they’re still performing live.



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