The combination of rock bands and symphony orchestras has become a comical concept. Images of David St. Hubbins and Derek Smalls discussing the potential for a musical on the life of Jack the Ripper come rushing through as the list of rockers merging with orchestras continues to lengthen.
While this hybrid of seemingly divergent musical tastes has provided some interesting moments it has mostly provided forced combinations. Collective Soul has thrown their hat in the ring by teaming up with the Atlanta Symphony Youth Orchestra to make one of the most natural and pleasing rock/orchestra collaborations yet to be recorded.
The two CD concert leans towards the more somber moments of the Collective Soul catalog but these songs also provide the most natural space for the orchestra to fill and expand the tracks. Orchestral instruments have always held a prominent place on Collective Soul records, primarily as a strong base for the rock riffs and pop hooks that seem to flow effortlessly from this band.
The band's big 90's hits make their rightful appearances and sound fresh with new arrangements underneath them. Songs like "December", "Heavy", "Run", "The World I Know" and concert closer "Shine" are all standouts but the band is particularly engaged during tracks from their most recent album, Youth. A bonus track "Burn" sounds like an outtake that was too heavy to fit on the otherwise celebratory Youth album, maybe a hint at a harder edged Collective Soul album in the near future.
What this album has that other live symphonic rock records don't have is the feeling of a live show. The band keeps their sense of humor and the show moving along briskly, letting the guitars lead the way. More than anything Home is a natural album and should be pleasing to all Collective Soul fans that have been waiting for a live record.