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Three Cheers for Three Doors Down?

Despite Solid Performance, Show Lacked That Extra Something

By Pey-Hua Hwang

Staff Writer

Three Doors Down, with Shinedown and Tantric

Orpheum Theater

Jan. 20, 8 p.m.

Three Doors Down headlined a solid rock concert at the Orpheum Theater on a frigid Tuesday night last week. The theater was decorated with pastoral scenes of ladies and gentlemen in Victorian style dresses and waistcoats. It was a wonderful juxtaposition to the rows of speakers, flashing lights, and rawness of the music that would be delivered on the stage.

The first opening band was Shinedown. They dressed like a heavy metal band, but had a fairly good range in song style. Despite problems with their sound equipment, they managed to deliver an energetic and surprisingly articulate performance.

The highlights of the set were “Stranger Inside,” a cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “Simple Man,” “45,” and “Left Out,” which left the crowd standing. Lead singer, Brent Smith has a solid stage presence and an operatic a cappella voice, like the lead singer of Evanescence, only three octaves lower. While trying to find a “working” microphone, he told the crowd that there were “ghosts” in the system. Unfortunately, the rest of the band seemed less memorable. True coherence on stage takes experience and further touring should provide that for Shinedown.

The second opening band was Tantric. In contrast to Shinedown, whose music was overburdened with angst, Tantric was more mellow and almost jazz-like. There were some very nice vocal harmonies between the lead singer and the guitarists. However, the lead singer sometimes seemed more concerned with working the crowd and cheering on the Patriots than in his actual music.

Highlights from their set were “Chasin’ After,” a song from the album they will be releasing in February, “Mourning,” which actually had people singing along, and “Hey Now,” the last song of their set which nicely mixed quiet interludes and headbanging beats.

At 9:30 p.m., Three Doors Down took the stage. For their set, the flashing lights, the fog machines, and the sound system magic really kicked in. The songs were well delivered, but somehow uninspired. On stage, bands should bring something extra to the songs that isn’t on the CD. Three Doors Down lacked that little bit of extra. I kept waiting for an acoustic version of a song or an amazing jam session, but neither appeared on the menu.

They opened with one of my personal favorite songs “Duck and Run” and ran through all of their singles as well as a few lesser known songs and a cover of “That Smell” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. One pleasant surprise, though, was a long drum solo featuring drummer Daniel Adair. His beats were dead on and as much as rock and roll drummers play for flair, he still had complete control.

The title track of their new CD, “Away from the Sun,” which lead singer Brad Arnold declared as his “favorite song,” was also quite beautiful. Arnold then asked, “My friends, will you sing a song with us tonight?” The crowd sang along to three songs loudly enough to overpower the massive speaker system: “Kryptonite,” “Be Like That,” and “Here Without You.”

The song “Changes” had a quiet eerie feel that would have been cool had the audience not decided to clap along and ruin a perfectly good ending to the set before the encore. On a side note, concertgoers should know that a show is never over without at least one encore if not two. You know the show is over when all the guitar picks have been pulled out of mike stands and tossed to the crowd.

Over all, the Three Doors Down concert was good entertainment, but the Orpheum Theater is really not the best venue for watching a concert. It was too big for the intimacy of a club concert and too small for the really amazing acoustic power of a concert hall like the Tweeter Center.

One of the benefits of going to a live concert is discovering new up and coming bands and this concert fit the bill for that; however, having to undergo the hassle of the ridiculous amount of security to get in the door and out of the cold was nearly enough to kill the concert-going spirit. In the future, if I want to listen to Three Doors Down, I’ll listen to the CD or wait until they play a nice small club.