Fans of down home American Rock flocked to Uncasville, Connecticut on the hot and muggy evening of Thursday July 30th to see Mississippians 3 Doors Down jam out at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Tucked into a corner of the Mohegan Sun Resort and Casino, the Billboard magazine’s top ranked venue was packed to bursting as music buffs both young and old poured into the ten thousand seat Arena. The spectrum of ages that showed up only went further to prove that the music of 3 Doors Down speaks to both younger and older rockers, although some of these fans were much younger almost twenty years ago when the band formed back in 1996. After their debut blockbuster single “Kryptonite” charted in the top three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2000, the band has not slowed down, producing six studio albums, one compilation album, four EPs, and a live album, all since 2000.
Currently composed of original vocalist Brad Arnold, Lead and Rhythm Guitarists Chris Henderson and Chet Roberts, Drummer Greg Upchurch, and Bassist Justin Biltonen, the band started The Better Life Foundation (TBLF) in 2003 with the goal to give as many children as possible a better life. Over the years, they have supported many charities, including providing assistance to victims of Hurricane Katrina by buying three police cars, a fire truck, and three tractor trailer trucks full of rescue supplies for the town of Waveland, Mississippi, all the while sharing the stage with greats such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, Megadeth, Three Days Grace, Nickelback, and Daughtry. On this steamy night in July, 3 Doors Down had brought along old friends Seether and new friends We Are Harlot for a hard and heavy night in Southern Connecticut.
First up was We Are Harlot, a Hard Rock supergroup put together by former Asking Alexandria singer Danny Worsnop and Jeff George, formerly Sebastian Bach’s guitarist. Along for the ride, and rounding out this talented ensemble are Silvertide bassist Brian Weaver and Revolution Renaissance drummer Bruno Agra. Even though they formed back in 2011, they just recently released their self-titled debut album on March 30, 2015 via Roadrunner Records, although the first single “Denial” did hit airwaves back in 2014.
On this July night, We Are Harlot had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands, with Worsnop rocketing about the stage like a live wire, his energy unmatched for the rest of the night. Looking like a cross between the ’80s hair band Van Halen with a little Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin sprinkled in, Harlot put on a great show, singing songs such as “Dancing on Nails,” “Somebody,” “Never Turn Back,” “Denial” and the Queen cover “Tear Your Mother Down.” As fans settled into the groove of We Are Harlot, the supergroup ended their set with “One More Night” before bowing humbly to the pumped up audience. The band continues to pound the pavement, touring across the USA now through October 4th, and can also be seen as a part of ShipRocked Cruise setting sail off Miami, Florida in January 2016.
Next up was multi-platinum Alt Rock band Seether. Making a big splash with their North American debut album back in 2002, the band has not looked back since pumping out hit record after hit record. With a total of twenty chart topping hits, many of which have hit number 1 on Rock charts, Seether are an unstoppable Rock force to be reckoned with. Doing it again with 2014’s impressive album Isolate and Medicate, the band has been on the road consistently for the past two years and drawing big crowds wherever they land.
As soon as these South Africans took the stage, the crowd went buck wild, flailing about as the first notes of their megahit “Gasoline” rumbled from the speakers. Although Vocalist Shaun Morgan battled through some irritating sound issues with his microphone during “Rise Above This,” Guitarist Bryan Wickman, Bassist Dale Stewart, and Drummer John Humphrey kept the music going as they rolled into songs “Same Damn Life,” “Words As Weapons,” and the song that put Seether on the map, “Fine Again.” When Wickman started picking out the chords for “Broken,” the entire crowd hushed and swayed along to the heartbreaking love song. While the track, to this day, seems out of character for Seether’s sound, it is still extremely endearing, showing the band has a broad range of emotions to display.
The night continued with the catchy “Country Song,” their latest single “Nobody Praying For Me” and “Save Today” as the venue hooted and shouted along to the lyrics. The second song of the night from the 2007 album Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces, “Fake It,” kicked the concert back up into high gear as more sing-alongs came during the irresistible anthem against phony behavior. The band wrapped up the night with the adrenaline pumping “Remedy,” and although they left the stage tossing drumsticks into the crowd, this was not the last time that the audience would see the vocalist before the night was through. More on that later, but those who missed Seether this Summer, be sure to check them out as they kick off a tour with Saint Asonia in October.
Before the main event, two small sets of bleachers were revealed at mid-stage near the kit, and security began leading lucky VIP ticket holders to them for the ultimate front row seats. Dressed in a black t-shirt, jeans, and a ball cap, Arnold wasted no time, grabbing the mic and crooning to “Here Without You” before kicking things up into high gear with “Duck and Run.” The band offered up a new song, “The Broken,” from their upcoming album titled Us and the Night that is set to be released in the fall of this year. Playing with the audience’s heartstrings, Henderson and Roberts led the way into the 2005 Seventeen Days’ chart topper “Let Me Go” before rolling right into “Away From the Sun.” “It’s Not My Time,” “Changes,” “The Road I’m On” and “Do It in the Dark” followed.
Between plenty of “Thank you’s” and “God bless'” from Arnold; Biltonen, Roberts, and Henderson switched out instruments between almost every song. The band brought it back even further with “Loser” from their debut album, 2000’s The Better Life, before jumping back to Seventeen Days with “Behind Those Eyes.” The second new song of the night, “Danko (Still Alive),” appears to be a tribute to the late The Band member Rick Danko who passed away in 1999. The most amazing part of the night came when Shaun Morgan joined Arnold on stage. As the other band members exited, Arnold and Morgan, obviously very close, waxed nostalgic about the past before strumming out an acoustic duet of Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise” to an astounded and practically silent crowd listening carefully.
Keeping the music coming, the band returned to the stage to belt out “Better Life” before closing the set with the National Guard recruitment song “Citizen/Soldier.” Arnold pleaded with the audience to show their appreciation to soldiers by being a citizen worth fighting for as they exited the stage. They were not gone long, though, before returning for a two song encore with a Reggae version of “Kryptonite,” the song that made 3 Doors Down superstars, followed by the chart topper “When I’m Gone.” As the boys said their final goodbyes to their Connecticut fans, the crowd was left feeling full and satisfied with a night of fantastic Rock music.
Three Doors Down’s three month tour began on May 30th in Detroit at the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix and will end on August 22nd with a show in Kettering, Ohio at the Fraze Pavilion, but they traveled the entire country in between, hitting both the East and West Coasts before looping back around to where they started. Although they are sharing the stage with Seether on many of these dates, there are a few that the South Africans could not attend, so Theory of a Deadman and Collective Soul took turns filling their shoes. Fans should dial up their local ticket agents to see about getting VIP tickets to one of the remaining shows before they sell out. Sitting in those bleacher seats on the actual stage is an opportunity not to be passed up.Photo credit: Charles Eames Photography