August 15, 2018 3 Doors Down & Collective Soul Roll Into Long Island, NY 8-14-18 w/ Soul Asylum
In North America, summertime is a time when everyone casts off on vacations, spend endless hours at the beach, and get much needed R & R. It is a time for barbecues, poolside fun, and most definitely a chance to enjoy outdoor concerts under the evening stars. With an abundance of outdoor concert options, Rock-n-Roll lovers have been living a dream exploring the 2018 summer schedule. With a mass of outstanding lineup of bands doing joint summer touring, arguably one of the most intriguing package of all is The Rock & Roll Express Tour.
A tour which features 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul as the two-headed hit-making monsters fueling the engine, adding extra fuel to the fire for a bulk of the shows are Soul Asylum. Breaking it down, that is a unification of over thirteen modern day Rock-n-Roll hit songs combined between all three bands. Honestly, this tour sells itself and it has been doing just that since kicking off on July 6th. Now over a month into the run, the express train continues to power through the great American landscape, and on the muggy evening of Tuesday, August 14th, it made a stop out to BMHMC Amphitheater at Bald Hill in Farmingville, New York. An event Long Island Rock fans had circled on their calendar for months, are you ready to jump aboard The Rock-n-Roll express train?
As most know, it has been a rather strange summer season in terms of the weather here in the Northeast portion of the USA. It has either been hot and excessively humid, or pouring rain. In fact, it has rained so much in the past few weeks, many other outdoor concert events have been washed out in the local area. Giving The Rock & Roll Express Tour’s visit to Long Island a run for its money, just an hour before the show began, it was raining yet again. Fortunately, the rain clouds broke up and just after 7 PM Soul Asylum kicked off the evening of music.
An Alternative Rock band with a history that dates back over thirty five years now, Minnesota’s Soul Asylum are a band nearly everyone knows by name. Led by the ageless Dave Pirner on guitar and vocals, his secure lineup of veteran Drummer Michael Bland along with Lead Guitarist Ryan Smith and Bassist Winston Roye is as solid as can be. Together a talented bunch of musicians, their live performances mirror the energy of Punk Rock with the anthemic power of straight-ahead Rock-n-Roll.
Last visiting the Long Island area when they played The Paramount in Huntington with The English Beat in 2016, their set at Bald Hill may have been a bit more abbreviated as an opening act, but no less fun. Charging right into the music, Pirner and company dished out their most well known tracks including “Somebody to Shove” and “Misery.” Literally sweating the music through his veins, Pirner was at the top of his game balancing the music of Soul Asylum’s past with their more current material. Naturally mixing in the massively popular hit “Runaway Train,” the audience was primed and ready for more from Collective Soul and 3 Doors Down. For those diehard Soul Asylum fans, be sure to show up early for the remainder of their shows they will be on The Rock & Roll Express Tour, you do not want to miss them.
Chugging right along, just before 8 PM, Collective Soul came out ready to shake the grounds of Bald Hill to the core. A Georgia based act that began during the 1990s, it would be easy to lump them with the mass of other Alternative Rock bands of the time, but simply unjust. The truth is Collective Soul have excelled far beyond the label of a ’90s band. Retaining a foundation of Ed Roland (vocals/guitar), his baby brother Dean Roland (guitar), as well as Will Turpin (bass), this band is so tight, it’s near impossible to tell the difference between a studio recording and live performance. Add the talents of Johnny Rabb on drums and Jesse Triplett on guitar, they are a band who seriously deserves much more mainstream praise.
Having a slew of radio hits of their own, they wasted little time getting down to the nitty gritty, pumping out easily recognized songs such as “Shine,” “Heavy,” and “Why, Pt. 2.” Doing so with an enthusiasm as genuine as it gets, they kept the audience on their feet through other cuts including “Better Now,” “Precious Declaration,” “December,” and later on “The World I Know.” The mood was so lively, it seemed there was no end to the sing-along between Ed and the crowd as smiles spread like an infection.
Keeping those good vibes flowing, Ed would get even closer to the audience chatting about self doubt, overcoming personal struggles, and having faith in tomorrow. Additionally, he went on to deliver the news that Collective Soul are set to release a double album in 2019. Most are probably thinking, “Who the hell puts out a double album in an age of digital streaming?” The answer, a band who could care less about satisfying commercial standards, but are out to make music for music’s sake. With that, they even offered a sneak peak into the new material playing songs titled “Right as Rain” and “Observation of Thought.” Both wonderfully constructed tracks, the taste-test no doubt compelled dedicated fans curiosity about what the rest of Collective Soul’s forthcoming double LP will offer.
Wrapping up their well-balanced set with songs such as “Where The River Flows” and “Run,” Collective Soul took a final bow soaking up the positive energy before exiting into the night. All and all a fantastic live band, let us go back to the original statement that Collective Soul should not merely bare the label of a ’90s band. Why? Because they have continued to push the envelope of their sound album after album and in the process have become one of the more prolific Rock-n-Roll bands out there. Haven’t seen them live in 15 years, or even worse, ever? It is time to reacquaint or simply introduce yourself to Collective Soul!
The last stretch of tracks on the Rock-n-Roll express train would find none other than 3 Doors Down on the platform. A band that was sprung into Rock-n-Roll superstardom back in 2000 with their single “Kryptonite,” that same year, their debut album The Better Life would also rocket up charts. A blessing for a young band out of Escatawpa, Mississippi, too often when success comes that early, a band quickly fizzles out. Learning on the job so to speak, 3 Doors Down did just the opposite of flair out, they honed their writing skills and kept the high level of success going not for just one more album, but continuously through the present day.
Last releasing new music in 2016 with the album Us and the Night, 3 Doors Down have kept matters interesting for themselves and fans with a mixture of fun on electric shows as well as intimate acoustic performances. Versatile, tested musicians, the leadership of Vocalist Brad Arnold and Guitarist Chris Henderson has kept 3 Doors Down moving forward through even the roughest waters. Together with Chet Roberts on lead guitars, Justin Biltonen on bass, and Greg Upchurch on drums, they have connected for a brotherhood that make 3 Doors Down difficult to slow down.
Often playing Jones Beach when visiting Long Island, the decision to venture further east on the island was a treat for those out in Suffolk County. Fired up, the entire venue was on their feet the moments before 3 Doors Down took the stage – from the seats upfront to the grassed hill in the distance. Then, jamming their foot on the gas, the band went into the defiant favorite “Duck and Run.” Always explosive, it acting as merely the primer, opening the floodgate for the hit train – “It’s Not My Time,” “Away From the Sun,” and “Let Me Go.” Not to be overlooked, songs such as “Time of My Life” and “Going Down in Flames” kept the excitement high before other such “The Road I’m On” and the adored older cut “Be Like That.”
Humbled by the warm reception from the crowd, who by this point were bunched as close to the stage as possible, Arnold spoke candidly, as if they were his close pals. Liberally using the word ‘friends’ to refer to the audience throughout the performance, it was more than just a phrase, Arnold truly does treat his fans as such. Not merely for show, the glimmer in his eye speaks a thousand words. If you look closely you can see a man who has perhaps been tried, tested, and through it all, appreciates every moment he has to perform music. That in mind, his voice was in tip-top shape as he filled the broad open space of Bald Hill loudly. Equally as impressive, the band was heavy, powerful, and extremely tight.
Moving right along, and not at all hiding their American pride, an American flag stood stage left with a New York/New Jersey Port Authority Police patch at the top – showing their support for those who put themselves in harms way each day. Speaking of which, “Citizen/Soldier” was rightfully dedicated to the men and women who on a daily basis risk their lives to protect others, both domestically and abroad. Continuing that prideful approach, a cover of The Charlie Daniels Band “In America” came shortly thereafter. A surprise to the audience, it kept the momentum going as they blasted through other songs such as “Behind Those Eyes,” “Loser,” and of course, “Kryptonite.” Giving the latter a little Reggae twist toward the end, the show appeared all but over. Exiting briefly, Arnold and the boys returned for an encore featuring the emotional “Here Without You” and “When I’m Gone,” making for the perfect send off.
As always 3 Doors Down put on a superb live show. Much like many bands who are often confined to the restraints of a recording studio, they are a heck of a lot louder and heavier live. Adding that intensity to each performance, they also deliver the music precisely and full of feeling. More than half way through, The Rock & Roll Express Tour continues now through September 18th, so get a ticket and climb on board!