Collective Soul shines as Rota marks 50 years
September 28, 2003
NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — Collective Soul’s melodic rock has taken the band to the top of the charts eight times.
On Friday, the alternative rock band had both Americans and Spaniards at Port Park jumping, bouncing up and down, stage-diving and screaming.
Not a bad way to celebrate an anniversary.
Collective Soul was the feature act at a concert held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of a defense pact signed between the United States and Spain.
Playing on a stage that overlooked the base’s port area, the Georgia-based group rocked thousands of people who attended the fiesta.
“We are so grateful for all that you guys do for us,” lead singer Ed Roland told the crowd. “If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have a job.”
The Navy’s Sixth Fleet Band opened for the band, while Spanish flamenco dancers and singers followed. Rota was Collective Soul’s first stop on a short tour of military bases in Europe and the Middle East.
The band played its best hits, including “Shine,” “Gel,” “Heavy” and the “World I Know.”
Members also performed several songs from a new album they cut in the studio before leaving on the trip. The new album should be out early next year.
Band members said playing in front of U.S. servicemembers is one of the most enjoyable experiences. The group has played for American troops in Japan and South Korea.
“It’s the most gratifying show we’ve ever done,” Roland said hours before taking the stage.
“They’re so appreciative. Yet we’re the ones who appreciate what they did for us.”
Caitlin Wilson and Daniel Storm, both 16-year-old juniors at the base’s high school, said they liked how lead singer Ed Roland got close to the crowd.
“They were really personal with the audience,” Storm said.
“They made eye contact,” Wilson said.
The party did not end with the final song by Collective Soul. Flamenco dancers and singers took the stage. With their flowery dresses, they stood in sharp contrast to the rockers who performed minutes before them.
Many people left after Collective Soul signed autographs, but a good portion stayed late into the night.