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Story & Photographs by Diane Fleischman


Friday night fans of the Gin Blossoms and Collective Soul filled the Sands Bethlehem Event Center as they helped celebrate the “Now’s The Time Tour”.  It’s somewhat surreal to think how far this version of alternative/grunge age is behind us, yet both of these bands’ music held strong against the test of time, and still receive solid airplay on their best-loved hits.

Gin Blossoms opened the show, as they kicked off with “Lost Horizons”, a song that hasn’t held the opening spot that often.  For some of the hardcore fans, the song holds bittersweet memories of the co-founder, Doug Hopkins, who penned this song along with several of the Gin Blossoms hits.  Hopkins suffered from depression and alcoholism and was removed from the band on the cusp of the Gin Blossoms’ rise to stardom.

Lead singer Robin Wilson was determined the full house had a good time.  The set contained all of the Gin Blossom hits, “Until I Fall Away”, “Follow You Down”, and “Allison Road”. They performed a tribute to Tom Petty with “Even The Losers”, and Wilson’s vocal style was a perfect match. The set closed with “Hey Jealousy”, the crowd rose to their feet and sang along.

After a brief intermission, Collective Soul took the stage.  Besides celebrating their 25th anniversary, the band is also supporting their tenth album release, “Blood” (available June 21st), and performed several new songs, that included the opener, “ Observation of Thought”, with Ed Roland donned in a gold glitter jacket on the far side of the stage on piano. The classic hits followed with “Heavy” and “Shine”.

Guitarists Dean Rowland and Jesse Triplett playfully covered the stage in “Better Now”, and the crowd rose to their feet as more favorites like “December”, “AYTA (Are You The Answer)” and “The World I Know” played on.  The first single of their new release, “Right As Rain” with a pop vibe felt completely fresh and welcomed.  The set closed with a R.E.M. cover of “The One I Love”.

Collective Soul returned for a three-song encore, “Gel”, “Where The River Flows”, and “Run.”

The “Now’s The Time tour” continues throughout the summer, and Collective Soul will continue on the road probably until the end of this year.

Now is the time to discover all the concert offerings this summer in the Lehigh Valley!