Collective Soul & Gin Blossoms Deliver in Bethlehem

Last Friday Collective Soul and & Gin Blossoms came to Bethlehem, PA for a night of rock n’ roll hits from start to finish. The nearly sold out crowd had lined up early in the day despite having reserved seats for the show. Old faces and young faces a like filled the venue as doors opened and the merchandise lines for both bands grew longer by the minute. The touring combination of Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms is a tour many fans may only see once in a lifetime as the two band’s together dominated the rock scene of the 90’s.

Gin Blossom’s set was the shorter of the night but that didn’t keep it from being impactful in anyway. The last time the band was in Bethlehem the venue was much smaller as they played an intimate show on an off year for a club size venue of maybe 300 people. This time around the band had much more production and the same great live show with a more perfected set that the crowd reacted to from start to finish.

Across a setlist that spanned thirteen songs (one of which was a cover of Tom Petty’s “Even the Losers”) the band reminded the crowd just how important their sound was to the development of the modern alternative genre. From smaller hits like “Follow You Down” and “Found Out About You” to their massive chart topping “Hey Jealousy” the Gin Blossoms delivered a fantastic set that had the packed venue off their feet early in the set as they rocked out with the band.

Before stepping off stage the band thanked the crowd as they had throughout the night and as the projected logo flickered off behind them the roar of the fans peaked. The band walked off stage with smiles on their faces as both new fans and lifelong fans were treated to a gem of a performance from them that Friday night.

Collective Soul’s headliner set that followed captured much of the same energy that the Gin Blossoms did but delivered with a larger punch of rock n’ roll while doing so. Sixteen songs, an hour and a half of music and pure talent is what the Bethlehem fans were treated to once the band hit the stage. Frontman Ed Roland hit the stage with all cylinders firing as he danced across the stage to a piano to start the night but didn’t sit long as he spent much of the night commanding the stage.

Though their set was made up of mostly the hits Collective Soul looked towards the future as they introduced some new music to the crowd – all while tempting them to buy the new album ‘Blood’ that evening to support a local charity for mental health. New music and mental health awareness is a combination that couldn’t be passed up many in the crowd. Many knew the new single “Right as Rain” that the band played towards the middle of the set as well as their early material and those that didn’t know it will soon enough as it continues to get radio play this summer.

Despite playing “Shine” – one of their biggest hits – just three songs into the night Collective Soul managed to close the set strongly and if it hadn’t been a seated show with aisles they may have just gotten a few crowd surfers. As the last notes of “Where the River Flows” played out a few fans could be standing on their chairs and many more were breaking the rules having a cigarette inside late in the set. There was a real rock vibe to the entire set but the second half of the show got a lot bit of chaos and anarchy mixed in from the crowd that visibly fueled the band on stage. We may never see these two bands tour together again and it would be a shame if they didn’t because the pairing worked so well together. Either way Collective Soul and Gin Blossoms gave Bethlehem a show to remember.

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