Hootie & The Blowfish “Summer Camp With Trucks” Tour Pitstops At Bethel Woods

Hugely popular country-rock band, Hootie & The Blowfish touched down in Bethel on Thursday, June 27 during their “Summer Camp With Trucks” tour.

Bethel Woods Center For The Arts is a stone’s throw from the original site of the Woodstock music festival, and joining Hootie & The Blowfish is Collective Soul and Edwin McCain. Collective Soul is celebrating their 30th anniversary and did so by releasing their newest record, Here To Eternity.

As fans were still finding their seats, buying merchandise and beverages, McCain graced the stage. Joining McCain was Larry Chaney on lead guitar with Craig Shields on saxophone and keyboards. The trio had a short set yet prepped the crowd for the rock and roll later in the show. Throughout McCain’s set, he shared stories about his family and laughed with the audience in between songs. Some of his most popular songs like “I’ll Be” and “I Could Not Ask For More,” were received well by the fans. The trio’s chemistry on stage was extremely noticeable while they were on stage.

All the bands were on a tight schedule so Collective Soul hopped quickly on stage. The band blasted into their first song, “Mother’s Love” off their brand new record. The crowd rose to their feet at the start of the set and did not sit until the end of the last song, “Run.” Collective Soul’s style of rock is different than Hootie & The Blowfish’s yet at the same time, complimented each other. It was great to see so many people have equal interest in Collective Soul and Hootie & The Blowfish. The band’s nine-song set was packed with some of their biggest hits. The crowd sang along to every one of the group’s songs.

Collective Soul is fronted by Ed Roland on lead vocals and acoustic guitar. Joining Ed is his brother Dean Roland and Jesse Triplett on guitars. Will Turpin was on bass and Johnny Rabb on drums.

Collective Soul has always been a great band and their stage presence is unmatched. All of their songs are catchy and their legion of fans brought their singing voice with them. As the band started a cover of AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, McCain ran on stage to help sing. This brought a loud cheer from the audience. “December,” off the band’s self-titled record was the second to last song played but was the fan favorite. The fans that sat down immediately stood up and took out their phones to record the tune.

With the sun now dipping behind the general admission lawn, the stage quickly was turned over. Hootie & The Blowfish’s road crew did a swift and efficient job at getting the gear all set and ready to go. Before anyone could get a new beer, 001: A Space Odyssey’s theme song was blasted into the set and the house lights dimmed.

Hootie & The Blowfish jumped into a cover of 54-40’s “I Go Blind” as the first song. Like Collective Soul, fans in the lower section remained on their feet for the entire 23-song set. The energy from the crowd was soaked up by the band as they had smiles on their face from the first note till the last.

The band is led by singer and guitarist Darius Rucker. Joining Rucker is Mark Bryan on lead guitar, Dean Felber on bass and Jim Sonefeld on drums. In addition to the quartet are touring musicians Gary Greene, Garry Murray and Lee Turner.

With the temperature dropping below the 60s, the cooler weather didn’t deter the band or fans. The rock-infused country style made fans feel right at home at the site of “peace and love.” Throughout the band’s set, they sprinkled in a ton of covers including “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield, “Hey, Hey What Can I Do” by Led Zeppelin and “Solitude” by McCain. The latter even saw McCain, yet again, grace the stage to perform the song. The cheers for McCain were louder than the other two times. The band did a great job at adding their own twists to some of those classic covers and made some of the songs the memorable tunes of the evening.

The team that was mixing the band’s sound was at the top of their game. The band overall sounded great. No member was louder than the other, they were just perfect. Behind the band was a spectacular video screen with top-notch graphics of live video and different animations. It was amazing to see different animations of campfires and big trees displaying different color lights to the audience.

It’s difficult to not play the famous tune “Wagon Wheel” for Rucker and fans got their money’s worth when that song was played towards the back half of the set. Fans screamed at the top of their lungs and embraced their friends and partners. This tune has become a favorite among music lovers and it was a great song to hear live, it sent chills down the spines of fans across the amphitheater.

With the band in full command of the stage – and one shoeless Bryan – the band weaved in and out of covers and original material before the end of the set. The final song before the set was over was “Hold My Hand,” off of 1994’s Cracked Rear View and, like “Wagon Wheel,” people embraced each other as the band waved goodbye.

It wasn’t until the three-song encore started that more thunderous cheers were heard. “Go and Tell Him (Soup Song)” was the first song up to bat before a cover of Stone Temple Pilots’ “Interstate Love Song” was played. The STP song was one of the best songs and covers played that evening. Rucker’s vocals were on course with original singer, Scott Weiland and the rest of the band followed his lead.

Of course, “Only Wanna Be With You” was the very last song of the evening and while fans were slowly filing out of the crowd and into the cold night, there was not one negative word said. The crowd loved the entire show and it was all they could talk about as they left the amphitheater.

Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Summer Camp With Trucks” tour has two more dates left. On September 5, they will be in Long Island and on September 6 they will be in Syracuse. This is truly a show you do not want to miss, it’s spectacular in every sense of the word.

Edwin McCain setlist: Darwin’s Children, I Could Not Ask For More, Promise of You, I’ll Be

Collective Soul setlist: Mother’s Love, Bluer Than So Blue, Heavy, Shine, The World I Know, Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap (AC/DC cover), Where the River Flows, December, Run

Hootie & The Blowfish setlist: I Go Blind (54-40 cover), Wishing, I Will Wait, Time, Running From an Angel, For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover), Hannah Jane, Not Even the Trees, Will the Circle Be Unbroken? (William MacEwan cover), Desert Mountian Showdown, I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love With You (Tom Waits cover), Wagon Wheel (Old Crow Medicine Shop cover), Miss California, Hey, Hey What Can I Do (Led Zeppelin cover,) Solitude (Edwin McCain cover), Old Man & Me / Mo Money Mo Problems / Big Poppa, Let Her Cry, Losing My Religion (R.E.M cover), Alright, Hold My Hand, Go and Tell Him (Soup Song), Interstate Love Song (Stone Temple Pilots cover), Only Wanna Be With You

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