3 Doors Down mix old and new in Providence

A review of 3 Doors Down at the Providence Performing Arts Center on November 12, 2011

, Contributing Writer

For a band whose latest album is so concerned with time, 3 Doors Down was sure to make good use of theirs Saturday night at the Providence Performing Arts Center. With a balanced assortment of old hits and new tracks from July’s Time of My Life, the Mississippi-bred rockers transformed the ornate theatre to vibrant rock venue for the duration of their ninety-minute set.

If nothing else, 3 Doors Down’s music is powerful. From the thunderous power chords emanating from Matt Robert’s guitar in nearly every song to the formidable authority carried by Brad Arnolds’s forceful voice, every aspect of the band’s music holds nothing back to create a potent sound that cannot be fully captured in the studio. This was evident as soon as the group emerged to open with Time of My Life‘s title track, one of the album’s faster-paced tunes. It set an appropriate tone as a significant portion of the set would be dedicated to 3 Doors Down’s latest offering.

Many of Time of My Life’s songs follow a specific formula. “When You’re Young”, “Heaven” and “What’s Left”, among others, are characterized by softly sung verses followed by a loud, intense chorus that gives each song an odd but catchy schizophrenic tone. While this quality doesn’t detract from the album itself, the band’s choice to feature some of these songs consecutively highlighted these similarities and made a few parts of the concert feel a bit redundant. But anytime these songs’ formula was getting too noticeable, 3 Doors Down would throw in an old hit like “Away From the Sun” or “Loser” to rejuvenate the crowd.

Though the band is touring in support of a new album, it was these tried-and-true favorites that made the night so memorable. 3 Doors Down saved the best for last by closing with “Here Without You”, “It’s Not My Time”, “Kryptonite” and “When I’m Gone”. As excited as the audience was to sing-along to the old hits, the band was clearly enjoying playing them too. Arnolds, whose performance up until this tail end of the set seemed rehearsed and impersonal, began dancing around the stage with new enthusiasm in his voice. “The miles just keep rollin’ as the people leave their way to say hello,” he sang in “Here Without You,” then injected a comical “Hello, my friends!” that enticed laughs from the entire crowd. The band’s energy as they closed with “When I’m Gone” – which Arnolds gracefully dedicated to the troops – was contagious and simply unabated.

3 Doors Down may have been a little tired in the second-to-last performance of their tour, but proved to have enough stamina to deliver a stellar closing to a memorable set.

Theory of a Deadman warmed the crowd up nicely beforehand with an energetic set of their own. Their talent spans a wide variety of sounds that all come across well, from the angst of “Bitch Came Back” to the infectious of “The Truth Is (I Lied About Everything)”. The band’s spirited set also included fan favorites “Not Meant to Be” and “Bad Girlfriend”, along with a solid cover of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine”.

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