Last Wednesday 3 Doors Down returned once again to the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA. Last year we saw them bring their greatest hits tour with Daughtry to the stage for a show that was one of the most memorable of 2013. This tour was no less spectacular but the mood was different and even though it was a packed house it felt so intimate. For those who don’t know the band is currently out on the road doing a very non-conventional tour titled “Songs From the Basement.” Out of context you might thing that the band was just playing rarities from the massive catalog in they did but the real strong point of this tour was the fact that is was acoustic. The stage set up was stripped back from the last tour, no big LED screens, no guitar switches and no thrills. Just simply music, the bands and the fans. How could something so simple be so successful? Well the casual acoustic set lets the band interact with their fans in a way they don’t normally have the ability to when playing a full production show.
This tour was conceived after the band did what was supposed to be a one-off acoustic show in Nashville. It was such a success that they decided they needed to take it on the road to the fans all across the country before they headed into the studio later this year to record some new material. This tour was for the fans and it showed from start to finish. The band told stories, answered questions, had some banter and even had a few lucky fans chilling on couches in their “basement” on stage.
Prior to the beginning of their set the venue was lit with a hue of red and blue lights and you could just dimly see a lone light bulb with a chain hanging down in the center of the stage. As the band walked out on stage to take their seats all that was missing was lead singer, Brad Arnold, who appeared last on stage and with a pull of the chain lit the entire venue up. A cool effect for what was supposed to be a low production show but it really made it feel like you were watching band practice in a way. Newcomer to the band Justin Biltonen had some big shoes to fill on the bass role but he did so flawlessly and I hope to see him become a mainstay of the band hence forth. As always Chris Henderson, Greg Upchurch and Chet Roberts were on point with their perspective parts. I was curious prior to the show to see how the show would progress without instrument changes but the band just took a momentary pause to retune their instruments before continuing on in their set.
Each song of their setlist was met with singing from the crowd, who for the most part stayed near their seats until “Kryptonite” when they rushed the barricade to get a high five from Brad. As always 3 Doors Down mainstays such as “Let Me Be Myself,” “It’s Not My Time,” and “Loser” made the setlist but the real highlights of the night were the rarities. Opening track “Father’s Son” is one of the band’s best songs off “Seventeen Days” but it got over shadowed by some of the radio singles of that disc. My personal favorites was the cover of Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” but I am biased because that is one of my favorite songs of all time and the band did a spectacular job on it, especially Brad on vocals. I would love to see them release that cover as a single actually or maybe as a bonus track on the next LP. The cover of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” in the encore was a pleasant surprise too because I don’t think anyone expected hearing it.
3 Doors Down put on a great show to a packed house of around 1700 people. The only seats not occupied were towards the back and they might have decided not to come due to the impending snowstorm that evening too. The weather held off long enough for the band to put in another great set on the Sands Event Center stage and left the crowd buzzing about how great the evening was. Doing an acoustic tour can be risky but some bands can really shine in that setting and 3 Doors Down is one of those bands. Hearing some of these tracks acoustically gave them new life, some grit, and a more personal feel than some of the studio versions. I know this tour will be wrapping up soon but maybe the band will start working in a few acoustic tracks into all their shows from here out. Tickets are still on sale for the dates remaining on this tour and then the band is set to hit the studio later this year so don’t miss out on seeing 3 Doors Down once more this year.