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Live Review: 3 Doors Down in Tempe, AZ
Mississippi rockers 3 Doors Down kept it simple during their headlining set at the Circle K Tempe Music Festival in Tempe, AZ, on Saturday (4/4).
Lead singer Brad Arnold refrained from an abundance of between-song banter and instead let the music do the talking for the band, which also includes guitarist Matt Roberts, rhythm guitarist Chris Henderson, bassist Todd Harrell and drummer Greg Upchurch. Arnold frequently referred to the audience as his "friends," giving the expansive venue, Tempe Beach Park, a homey vibe.
3 Doors Down arrived on stage to the booming sounds of an express train that surpassed the crowd noise. Quickly, the band kicked into "The Champion in Me," during which Arnold took full advantage of the large stage. Upchurch sat atop a high platform that Arnold and the rest of the band frequently scaled.
"Thank you very much, my friends," Arnold told the crowd of about 15,000 on a brisk Arizona night. "God bless you."
The ballad "Away from the Sun" came across as charming and endearing, especially with Arnold's Southern drawl, which comes through even when he sings. On a generous backdrop, a videotaped image of an ascending sun accompanied the song. Blocking the view of the man-made Tempe Town Lake, the videoscreen played a key role in the hour-long show, at one point displaying the pro-soldier video for "Citizen/Soldier." (Earlier in the day, 3 Doors Down made a surprise appearance at the National Guard booth.) After "Duck and Run," Arnold cocked his fist and punched toward the screen in a move timed to give the appearance that he shattered a bullet-riddled window.
Arnold's voice was raspy at times, yet more muscular than the efforts on 3 Doors Down's five studio albums. "Be Like That" was especially poignant, with Arnold shouting to the crowd "It's all you" just before the chorus began. The band was tight as well, ending "It's Not Me" on a dime. For the weepy "Landing in London (All I Think About is You)," Arnold was accompanied only by Roberts until the chorus, at which point the rest of the bandjoined in.
The encore performance of "Kryptonite" was a true standout. Arnold appeared on drums, pounding on the kit and singing with power.
3 Doors Down may play straight from the album and shoot straight from the hip, but fans wouldn't expect anything less.