Live music matched the weather this week: Sizzling and sweaty, from The Go Rounds at Studio Park to Collective Soul at Meijer Gardens to Bill Kirchen, The Concussions & more at Big Jerry Palooza. Photo recap.
SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTO GALLERIES FROM SEVERAL WEST MICHIGAN CONCERTS
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Hot, muggy and rocking.
Sunday closed out an extended weekend of live music that fully engaged fans, many of whom were attending their first West Michigan concerts in well over a year — something of which Georgia’s Collective Soul was fully aware.
“Where you been the last year-and-a-half, man?” Collective Soul’s frontman Ed Roland asked a hyped-up, sold-out crowd of 1,900 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Sunday night.
We’ve been pining for live music, that’s where we’ve been, man.
Thankfully, for this crowd, buzzing with pent-up concert energy banked over the long months of COVID, the pining was over.
Collective Soul, who seemed just as happy to see us as we were to see them, delivered an hour-and-a-half of their appealing post-grunge rock. It was a set studded with hits, including the grunge-influenced “December,” a tune that caused Roland and the smitten crowd to flash peace signs at each other happily.
Roland’s bandmates included bassist Will Turpin, drummer Johnny Rabb and lead guitarist Jesse Triplett, who wowed the crowd several times with his riffs, ranging from bouncy (“Shine”) to heavy rock (“Gem” and “Where the River Flows”).
Speaking of “Shine,” the band’s most beloved anthem was greeted ecstatically by fans in the middle of the show (which seemed like a weird spot for it). The crowd sang along at top volume on the chorus and seemed delighted to do so.
The highlight was “Better Now,” an infectious gem that had me (and everyone else) enthralled. Also engaging was the band’s cover of fellow Georgia group R.E.M’s “The One I Love,” with Roland urging the crowd to belt out “Fi-rrrrrre” at appropriate times. It felt like a million bucks to sing along loudly with a great band and a couple of thousand music lovers.
The band slowed things down with “She Said,” and their reflective hit “The World I Know,” which stirred the crowd to sway their hearts out.
Collective Soul wrapped up the show with “Run,” a deep cut from 1999, offered as a deeply felt, languid goodbye.
“Are these times contagious?” the lyrics query. “Is this the prize I’ve waited for?” Having lived through the contagious times of late, this show definitely felt like a prize worth waiting for.
Boston singer-songwriter Jay Psaros had opened the show with a warm and charming set, featuring the twang of “Whiskey on a Hill” and the jangly, open-hearted “Up On the Other Side,” a fitting re-introduction to live music after way too long without it. – Lorilee Craker
PHOTO GALLERY: Collective Soul, Jay Psaros at Meijer Gardens
Photos by Jamie Geysbeek
Check out a Local Spins review and photo gallery from Saturday’s concert by The Verve Pipe at Meijer Gardens: The Verve Pipe make rocking return to Meijer Gardens
BIG JERRY PALOOZA DRAWS BIG THRONG FOR MEMORIAL BASH IN CANNONSBURG
Earlier in the day on Sunday — and just several miles from Meijer Gardens — another big crowd was remembering beloved Rockford mainstay and music promoter Jerry Douthett who passed away in June after battling cancer.
The “Big Jerry Palooza” drew several hundred supporters who reveled in the sunshine at Cannonsburg Ski Area to sets from Bill Kirchen, The Concussions, Fauxgrass, The Moonrays and more.
In honor of Douthett, many attendees dressed in overalls for the heartwarming fundraiser for his wife, Rosee, with photographers capturing a group shot of the Big Jerry fans at one point in late afternoon. Big Jerry would certainly have gotten a kick out of that. – John Sinkevics
PHOTO GALLERY: Big Jerry Palooza at Cannonsburg Ski Area
Photos by Derek Ketchum
THE GO ROUNDS: ‘STILL HERE, STILL FROM KALAMAZOO’
The Go Rounds’ last concert prior to the pandemic took place in early 2020 at Grand Rapids’ Listening Room, so it was only appropriate that one of the Kalamazoo rock/pop band’s first shows back on stage would be as part of Listening Room’s “Listening Lawn” series.
The Thursday show for a packed courtyard crowd boasted a bluesy, classic-rock vibe with a couple of super-psychedelic throwback tunes weaved into the mix.
The band’s performance — which followed an opening set by Lansing rapper MikeyyAustin — was interrupted briefly by rain but The Go Rounds resumed their fan-pleasing offerings after a short break.
“We’re still here, it’s still us,” frontman Graham Parsons declared at one point. “We’re still The Go Rounds, we’re still from Kalamazoo.” – Anna Sink
PHOTO GALLERY: The Go Rounds, MikeyyAustin at Studio Park (“Listening Lawn”)
Photos by Anna Sink