Collective Soul

Two years and a couple of million more albums later, and sad little about Georgia generi-rockers Collective Soul has changed since the last time the group headlined in Los Angeles. The quintet continues to pen inoffensive and catchy little tunes about life's everyday challenges, as evidenced by their current "Disciplined Breakdown" (Atlantic) release. But the band still hasn't found a way to deliver these songs live in a way that's more than just a little bit engaging.

With:
Band: Ed Roland, Ross Childress, Dean Roland, Will Turpin, Shane Evans. Reviewed Aug. 7, 1997.

At the scenic and sold-out Ford Theatre on Thursday, Collective Soul fought technical problems — including singer Ed Roland’s inability to make his guitar work throughout the show — and their own limited aptitude, yet still managed to satisfy the mostly female audience, which continually howled and cheered these underwhelming, though quite photogenic, musicians.

On the plus side, such catchy radio favorites as “December,” first hit “Shine” and “Smashing Young Man” were harmless enough, and everyone in the house seemed to know all the words. But any good will those efforts may have earned was lost when the band played a flip version of the Beatles’ “Revolution” in a medley with their own “Crowded Head.” Boo!

A cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s metal anthem “Crazy Train” near perf’s end wasn’t much better, though the group’s obvious love for and familiarity with the song, including the note-for-note guitar solo played by Dean Roland, did reveal where these disposable rockers are really coming from.

Singer Abra Moore opened the show with her low-impact country-flavored rock, playing songs from her Arista Nashville debut “Strangest Places.” Her girlish vocal delivery has limited appeal, while her competent backing group seemed to be holding back musically, seemingly in deference to their less-talented leader.

Collective Soul

John Anson Ford Theatre; 1,100 seats; $20

Production: Presented by Goldenvoice

Cast: Band: Ed Roland, Ross Childress, Dean Roland, Will Turpin, Shane Evans. Reviewed Aug. 7, 1997.

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