COLLECTIVE SOUL on tour in 2017 supporting their new album See What You Started By Continuing, rocked the new Toyota Music Factory on Thursday September 14. This stop on the road in Texas was the opening spot for Sammy Hagar and The Circle. The show started an hour before sundown in the ampitheater, with impressive attendance. The powerhouse rock band born from the grunge/alternative 90’s era is still kicking out great albums and delivering solid concerts. Ed Roland’s raspy vocals are as strong as the day we first heard their debut single “Shine” in 1994.
Opening the show with their smash “Heavy,” the band delivered hit after hit. Their extensive catalog of memorable singles was well represented, including “December,” “Gel,” “The World I Know,” “Where The River Flows,” and the closer “Run.” The occasional lesser known newer songs were sprinkled in with careful placement on the set list to keep the pace of the show on point. The only unnecessary cover on the list was “Suffragette City,” and as the fourth song it seemed to drag on uncomfortably long, leaving fans impatient to hear more of the bands own greatest hits.
Overall, the performance represented the band’s extensive catalog of hits very well. Their simple, laid back approach to rock, and their casual stage appearance remain consistent. The solidarity of the current line-up is a sure sign that this band will continue to bring amazing performances for many more years to come.
He claims “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” yet he continues to prove that theory wrong year after year. Sammy Hagar, The Red Rocker, is touring with his current line up The Circle. The four-man group is comprised of his former VAN HALEN bandmate, bassist Michael Anthony, as well as Jason Bonham on drums, and Vic Johnson shredding the guitar. This concert was an incredible performance from the 69-year old rocker. The venue was packed to capacity, and this was only the second show at the brand new facility.
With more than 50 years in the music scene, Sammy has an incredibly extensive song list, yet he displayed his selflessness by including three LED ZEPPELIN songs in the set, to honor the late great John Bonham, Jason’s father. The band paid tribute to the victims of the recent hurricane devastation with “When the Levee Breaks,” and also showcased Sammy’s amazing vocal range and power with “Rock and Roll,’ and “Good Times Bad Times.” Six songs from Sammy and Michael’s time with the Van Halen brothers well represented that era of their careers.
Then, taking us all the way back to some of his earliest work, Sammy gave us “Rock Candy” from MONTROSE, as well as “One Way to Rock,” “Heavy Metal,” “I Can’t Drive 55,” and “Little White Lies” from his solo albums. The fun didn’t stop there as he still had a few songs to share from his CHICKENFOOT and Sammy and the Wabos projects.
The crowd threw banners, #55 jerseys, Texas flags, hats and shirts on stage, many of which Sammy would wear for awhile before autographing them and tossing them back. He wore his Beach Bar Rum t-shirt, representing his own label, and the tour sponsor. Proving that he can still play blistering solos, Sammy picked up his classic flying V, as well as a few other guitars and rocked out on several songs.
He had fun interacting with the audience, instructing them to shout “Mas Mezcala,” instead of “Mas Tequila,” because he has apparently changed the name of that song. They ended the show with an acoustic, slowed down, and detuned version of the VAN HALEN classic “Dreams.” Sammy and Vic led the crowd in a sing along. Falling a little flat for a closer, this seemed a bit anti-climactic, and didn’t feel like a very strong representation of the artist’s powerful dynamics.
Is there only one way to rock? It may have seemed that way when he wrote that song back in 1981 for the Standing Hampton album during his solo career, but he couldn’t have known how long, diverse, and amazing said career would become through the years. Perhaps that’s yet another song that Sammy Hagar should look at reworking.
LIVE WORDS: JET TESSMANN
LIVE IMAGES: GUZPIX