We always had a feeling that 3 Doors Down might be the kind of band who work on record but don’t really connect with an audience. The type of music they make is described tonight by a fellow attendee as being “driving music, but not in a bad way”, and we like that a lot.
3 Doors Down tours seem to do really well in the UK, surprising when you consider that they have not had any really serious hits in this country. Accompanying them on this tour are Swedish veterans Takida and popular South African post-grunge rockers Seether. Takida open the show with a lot of energy and rattle through a half dozen hits. They are very likeable overall, and the capacity crowd seemed to enjoy their brand of alt-rock; a band worth keeping an eye on.
When we first arrived, we saw a crowd a couple of hundred metres in length, queuing to get in, many of them wearing Seether shirts and it seemed like an awful lot of people were there to see the support band, a welcome rarity in itself. Being the support act can often be a thankless task, generally people are not there to see you, and so sometimes the best you can hope for is to convert a few people to your cause. Seether take to the task with gusto knowing full-well that they have many long-time followers here with them. Gleefully, they blast out a 35-minute set to a largely appreciative crowd, the standout for us being arguably their biggest hit ‘Broken’.
Eventually though, (a few minutes later than scheduled) a video begins to play on the giant video wall and out hurtle our headline act, who waste no time in getting stuck into ‘Time Of My Life’. Singer Brad Arnold has a unique voice, what we didn’t know before tonight though, is that he also has a real easy charisma which, to use a wrestling term [‘cos we like a good bit of sports entertainment here, right Steve! -ed] really “pops the crowd”.
A double-barrel of older tracks really get the crowd pumped up and during ‘Duck & Run’ Arnold is a ball of energy, utilising the entire stage, climbing all over the set and into the audience. He has an animal physicality that we weren’t expecting and he prowls the stage like a jungle cat on the hunt. For me, this came close to being the highlight of the show; of course, it’s always dangerous to peak so early. Luckily for 3 Doors Down fans, the band has five albums worth of back-catalogue to dip into, reaching into the bag to pull out ‘Away From The Sun’ which really lets the band play around and enjoy themselves.
An unexpected highlight of the show came from a particularly heartfelt, almost sappy moment; when the band leaves the stage, Arnold returns alone with a microphone to tell a short story about his father being on tour thus far with the band, until tonight, when he had been hospitalised earlier. He then continues to talk positively and about various challenges in the world, and then on to how it is possible for us all to “live in Paradise”. What followed might be the most incongruous happening that we have ever seen at a gig, as we are treated to an acapella version of Phil Collins’ ‘Another Day In Paradise’. We really didn’t think several hundred rock fans would join in and sing along to a Phil Collins song, but they did, leaving Arnold in tears on stage.
The pace soon picks up though, with a rousing rendition of ‘Citizen/Soldier’, originally penned for the National Guard, which gives us goose bumps. 3 Doors Down’s passion for the armed services really shines through, with the entire band striking very militaristic poses throughout. A slightly underwhelming version of ‘Changes’ (no, not that one) is then followed by a small video package giving a snapshot of the band as teenagers, revealing to us that many of their biggest hits had been written when they were 15! Shortly after, ‘When You’re Young’ leads into crowd favourite ‘Loser’, with the crowd almost taking the roof off.
The standard set is rounded off with a rousing version of ‘Here Without You’ which garners the most reaction from a “hot” crowd, being as it is one of the band’s biggest hits, and finishing up with recent hit single ‘It’s Not My Time’. The band leave the stage having not played their big breakthrough hit ‘Kryptonite’ or another favourite (of ours) ‘Be Like That’, so we assume they might feature in the encore. Apparently not, they return to play a less familiar track from the new album, announcing that they only had time for one song. It is a small niggle, but not getting to hear ‘Kryptonite’ live definitely leaves the people here feeling slightly deflated.
Lack of ‘Kryptonite’ aside, 3 Doors Down have cemented themselves as a great live band worthy of much international acclaim tonight. Highly recommended!
For more information visit the official 3 Doors Down website.