Live review

3 Doors Down
Shepherds Bush Empire, London : 31.3.2003

The final date of any American band's European tour is unpredictable, and can go either way: It can witness a band who have been broken by the unyielding pressure of the road, or at the other end of the spectrum it can reveal a band who have been relentlessly living on an adrenalin rush combined with an immaculately rehearsed show. In this case, 3 Doors Down take the latter option. There are no signs of tiredness or being plagued by the stresses and strains of touring; instead there's a high octane performance complemented perfectly by a dynamic opening set from Theory Of A Deadman.
    Theory Of A Deadman have always tried to avoid the shadow of their mentors Nickelback, and whilst they struggled to achieve this on their debut album, their live set illustrates a more original band who have already got a rock solid following Among the waves of 3 Doors Down supporters in the audience are a mass of Theory Of A Deadman t-shirts, worn by fans who sing with the same zeal as frontman Tyler Connolly.

3 Doors Down never just play their songs, they perform them with an obsessive furore that turns the gig into a spectacle. Although it is occasionally overdone, it's a welcome change from other bands of their era who have a tendency to be laboriously static on stage. Although 3 Doors Down are relatively new in the grand scheme of things, they have already opened an account of classic songs, with Loser and The Better Life both getting a particularly warm response from the audience. It is also a treat to hear Kryptonite performed live. This was their breakthrough anthem and one of the most played songs on the American airwaves last summer.
    If there was one disappointment, it would have to be the band's insistence on staying as close to the original songs as possible. For example, The Road I'm On and Away From The Sun are both such versatile songs that they should have been a platform for the band to venture from the script and give the crowd something different from the original recordings.

If there is one striking change to 3 Doors Down since the release of their second album Away From The Sun it's how much they have matured. Tonight they are a supremely confident band. Vocalist Brad Arnold frequently addresses the audience between songs, notably after a impeccable performance of When I'm Gone, where Arnold declares that they were filming the video for the song, due for release mid-next month. The fact that he didn't feel the need to tell the audience until afterwards is a remarkable reflection of the crowd here tonight; energy levels by both band and crowd were well above the 110% mark.

:: Paul Newbold

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