Anyone music fan will tell you that their favorite bands emerged from the shadows of obscurity and had to conquer ridiculous odds to make it to mainstream success. It is the acknowledgement and respect of these modest beginnings that can help keep even the biggest of stars grounded. On August 19, The Fillmore in Charlotte, N.C got a chance to see one band literally go back to where it all started: the basement. Mississippi rock band 3 Doors Down (also known as 3DD) embarked on their “Songs From The Basement” tour in January of 2014 and have been trekking it across the U.S, bringing their extended set list of both classic 3DD songs and a few surprises with them. Now on the second leg of the tour, when 3DD dropped in to the “Queen City” fans both young and old came out in droves to see the unplugged rockers work their magic.
Opening up their set with a trifecta of emotionally driven songs, “Father’s Son,” “Let Me Be Myself,” and “Be Like That,” 3DD had the nearly sold out crowd at their beckon call as audience members could be heard across the venue singing along. This would go on to be a trend throughout the night. Vocalist Brad Arnold’s trademark twang accented reverberated in each song, with no flourishes or mechanical masking. Unplugged the guys had an openness that permeated the room and seemed to fill the hearts of those in attendance. As had been mentioned in our previous interview with guitarist Chris Henderson, there were audience members on stage with band seated on two couches positioned on both sides of the stage. The guys even managed to work in a few covers of other songs from artists they respect including Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” with Arnold explaining before they went into it that it had always been a song he wanted to cover. As the show progressed they picked up momentum with a variety of songs from their catalogue that seemed to illicit a new energy from the crowd including “Away From The Sun,” “Not My Time,” and “Duck and Run.”
North Carolina couldn’t get enough of 3DD as they jammed, joked and flirted with the emotions of the captive audience who seemed to know the many of the set as well, if not better, than the band. In a situation that usually places all the power in the hands of the performer, on this night 3 Doors Down made it feel more like a family reunion than show. From the expressions on the faces of those in attendance it was clear to see that families and couples were reliving old memories and, especially for the younger attendees, making new ones. As they neared the end of the set, the fan and commercial favorites came out: “Loser” and “Kryptonite.” There didn’t seem to be a single person in The Fillmore that night that didn’t know, and either mouth or sing aloud, the lyrics to “Kryptonite” Just as impressive as the enthralling and enchanting spell the guys seemed to have cast over the venue was the way in which they themselves seemed to be possessed as well- passionate, focused, and most importantly, having fun.
The surprises came at the end of the set when the guys came back out for their encore which included a thoroughly impressive rendition of Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” that was almost as stirring as the original. Not wanting to leave the crowd short of all their commercial hits, the encore also included “Here Without You,” and “When I’m Gone.” 3 Doors Down took a concept, something that had the potential to be cheesy and self-indulgent, and turned it into genuine experience. People who came to The Fillmore that Tuesday night did not get a rock show, they didn’t get a concert, they didn’t even get a performance- they were courted. They were reminded why they fell in love with a band that has always had that emotional power, but had to literally lose their power supply to tap into it. Like a first date with a good friend, it wasn’t forced or fake; it was easy and organic. From the sound of the new song they debuted, “You Better Believe It,” it seems they guy of 3 Doors Down plan to continue their legacy of creating poignant, relatable tunes for all of life’s turbulence. Let us hope that this is only the beginning of many more great things to come.