3 Doors Down

support Seether
author PP date 19/02/12 venue Store Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

I'll admit heading down to the sold out 3 Doors Down show with mixed expectations. After all, their most recent album "Time Of My Life" had been panned by critics, and generally I felt like it has been a while since the band's golden days (the multi-platinum records "The Better Life" and "Away From The Sun" from 2000 and 2002 respectively). That the majority of the audience consisted of people old enough to make the undersigned feel young at almost 27 years of age didn't do much to boost expectations, but then again, these are all people who were teenagers or young adults when the two aforementioned albums came out. More on that later. But on the flip side, the location was Store Vega, a venue renowned for its excellent sound and near-perfect, purpose-built shape for medium sizes concerts such as this one. And what's more, the show had sold out weeks in advance, so some degree of sing along should be expected. Oh, and Seether, one of the most underrated bands in American radio rock, who have never been to Denmark to my knowledge, were supporting.

Shaun Morgan of Seether

Seether

It's been eight years since I saw Seether live last time at the heart of London at the now-defunct Mean Fiddler. Back then, Shaun Morgan almost looked like a bear given how much hair he was sporting especially when he was head banging with his lengthy hairdo flowing all over the place. Not much has changed since then, neither in terms of their appearance nor their musical style. Morgan still sports a haircut eligible for membership in a death metal band, and the band still plays heavy, rough-around-the-edges mainstream hard rock of the kind that used to dominate the North American radio waves before metalcore came along. But although Seether sound like dozens, if not hundreds of American chart rock mainstays, they have always differed on their attitude and passion to their music. Many of their peers are content to merely standing static on stage. Not these guys. They rock out passionately and faithfully headbang to their songs whenever a hard part comes along. Moreover, their good songs are far better than anything, say, Default or Breaking Benjamin have written during their entire career. Their best songs? From the absolute top of the hard rock rankings.

Tonight, the Store Vega audience, although miniscule given how only a handful know the band (this type of music never had a chance in indie dominated Denmark), is treated to a hit parade which excludes the filler from their albums and concentrates on the band's big hits. It's telling that the band starts with "Gasoline", "Fine Again", and "Broken" the three lead singles from their fantastic sophomore album "Disclaimer" from 2002, and the impression doesn't get any worse as the set progresses along. Newer songs like "Country Song", "Remedy", "Fake It" and "Breakdown" sounds just as good, even if some of them were on albums that otherwise failed to deliver on expectations. Yes, they are essentially standard, straight-forward radio rock, but Seether has always been one of the best bands at that style, and I'll gladly admit having a soft spot for this type of music on occasion. What did leave more to be desired on, however, was their non-existent crowd interaction. They played their songs, and left the stage. No chatter, no introductions, nothing. A little bit of extra chatter would've pushed their set over the edge from being a good show into a great one.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Gasoline
  • 2. Fine Again
  • 3. Broken
  • 4. No Resolution
  • 5. Tonight
  • 6. Rise Above This
  • 7. Country Song
  • 8. Fake It
  • 9. Remedy

3 Doors Down

You wouldn't be faulted for thinking of 3 Doors Down as career musicians who play live shows just because it's part of the job, much in the same way as us normal people go to work five days a week. And to be fair, they could play their 'best of' material while standing still on stage and get away with it. But much to my surprise, this wasn't going to happen tonight, which became clear as soon as the curtain dropped and I saw the gigantic, flabbergastingly enormous LED video display behind the band. I don't think I've ever witnessed as large of a display at Store Vega as this one. It could barely fit the stage; we're talking probably upwards of 10,000 LEDs comprising the screen with probably one tour bus dedicated to transporting this screen alone. Mammoth-sized doesn't even begin to describe the full colour visualizations of the band's logo,artwork from the albums, animations, and juxtaposed live feed from the band playing that was taking place behind them on the stage. So understandably the majority of the time your eyes would be fixated on marveling this thing and half-expecting it to shoot fireworks from its sides or start showing material in 3D.

That's a smart move from 3 Doors Down. Their music doesn't exactly lend itself for much energy on stage, so having the crowd focus on the songs and a giant video screen instead of your restrained movement is probably a good thing. The band opens with a new song "Time of My Life", which pretty much confirms what I had expected from the crowd consisting of people in their late 20s and early 30s: this is a nostalgic crowd that mostly came here for the old glory; no teenage girls screaming in a high pitch tone tonight. The response is weak - and definitely not excited - but fortunately the band continues with "The Better Life" immediately after, and the crowd is predictably more into it straight away.

Vocalist Brad Arnold is sick tonight. "This is about as loud as I could speak earlier today", he whispers into the mic, before telling us he took some stuff which allowed him to be on stage tonight. He sounds like he's at about 85% of his usual capability, though, so the crowd is of course expected to help him out, and "Away From The Sun" was exactly what was needed for the first big sing along of the night. Not that he really needs it; had he not told us, I would've merely thought the vocals were a little low in the mix, but he does an impressive job battling through the night. He chit-chats with the crowd in between every few songs, and appears to be genuinely engaged with the audience instead of just playing the show on autopilot, which was a definite possibility from a band like them.

What happens next, though, caught me completely by surprise. Before "When You're Young", the band exits the stage, and a gigantic version of Arnold appears on the display in what turns out to be a pre-recorded video interview that touches a little bit on the history of the band and what this song means to them today. I've never seen that done before in a live concert, and contrary to what I expected, it actually felt like a nice special touch to the show. Neat.

Later, "Here Without You" gets a predictably massive sing along from everyone at the venue, given how much radio airplay the song received here in Denmark back in the day. After the encore, "Kryptonite" gets the same treatment, which made this scribe and everyone else at the venue feel like 17 again. Before the last song, "When I'm Gone", the band pauses once more for Arnold to joke around with his illness, and as he's losing his voice, he just about manages to explain how he cured his voice by 'melting gummy bears in boiling water and drinking it only a few hours before the show'. Apparently we should all try this home-made remedy next time we're sick. It's a light-hearted finish to a perfectly timed show that lasts only a little over an hour, one that highlighted the band's best material (aside from the omitted "Duck And Run" and a couple of others), and avoided all the filler found on their recent records. Overall, I think a lot of people left the show positively surprised over how good 3 Doors Down actually are in 2012, even though common wisdom would suggest otherwise. And damn, that video screen was awesome. More bands should have that.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. Time of My Life
  • 2. The Better Life
  • 3. Away From the Sun
  • 4. What's Left
  • 5. Citizen/Soldier
  • 6. When You're Young
  • 7. Loser
  • 8. Round and Round
  • 9. Heaven
  • 10. Behind Those Eyes
  • 11. Here Without You
  • 12. It's Not My Time
  • --Encore--
  • 13. Kryptonite
  • 14. Believer
  • 15. When I'm Gone

Photos by Lykke Nielsen

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