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Soul. Live! 

by JOEL HARTSE & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & C & lt;/span & all it the Vaguely Spiritual Milquetoasts of the 1990s Tour. Call it Gen Y's First Genuine Nostalgia Tour. Just don't call it an honest-to-whichever-deity-these-bands-currently-support, vital, real rock tour. It is, though, a chance for us to take a long look at our favorite bands of yesteryear and determine what was BS and whether any of it was pure and holy the way we thought it was in 1995.





Collective Soul gets kicked to the curb with unsurprising alacrity. We recall that even "Shine," upon further review, was a pretty weak single, and "The World I Know" just barely gets a pass because, try as we might, we can't shed that viscerally sentimental reaction the song was meant to engender, that first shining moment of comprehension when the dim, dormant part of our brain is activated and thoughts like maybe we ARE all in this together and maybe life IS worth living start to bubble up.





Then we quickly realize that everything else they ever did pretty much sucked.





Live can't be so easily dismissed (at least according to my best friend, a rabid Live fan who begged me not to). They stayed pretty much true to their original sound and vision, even when their mainstream success faded. Any band who is the cause of the word "placenta" becoming a commonplace utterance on mainstream rock radio is worth some time, even if their increasingly clunky, heavy-handed rock is rivaled only by their increasingly clunky, heavy-handed spirituality. (Birds of Pray? Seriously?)





That spiritual hunger felt so vital and real at first, but now it kind of feels like Live, being as famous and major label-ensconced as they are, is like Rage Against the Machine recording for Sony and selling $40 concert tickets: If you feel that strongly about peace/love/God/meditation/etc., why is your career selling records and playing Greyhound Park?





For my generation -- if we measure time in singles -- Live was really an "important band" starting with "Lightning Crashes," and ending with "The Dolphin's Cry." Collective Soul's lifespan was even shorter. These are bands that have outlived their commercial viability but are still touring, none of them having records to support except maybe greatest hits. They still have fans, but not new fans. So the only possible conclusion is a horrifying one that people my age -- in our mid- to late 20s -- don't want to face: this is a tour designed so we can go sing "Lightning Crashes" and remember high school while drinking beer and buying overpriced concert T-shirts.





This wasn't supposed to happen to us. Not yet. We are not pathetic. We are not going to see the Rolling Stones like our parents. I did not just pull out my high school yearbook and wonder whatever happened to the girl I took to the prom. Um, honestly.





Sigh. You win, nostalgia. Now if you'll excuse me, this is my favorite part of the song. "The angel opens her eye-ha-ha-ha-hayes... paaaaaale, blue-colored eyes..."





Live and Collective Soul with Rocco Deluca and the Burden at Greyhound Park on Sunday, July 15 at 6 pm. Visit www.ticketswest.com or call 325-SEAT.
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