When did 3 Doors Down go Outlaw? I am thrilled to see them again after their last appearance at what became my 6th greatest concert ever last Oct. 2 in “The Woods,” the newest and nicest place to see a real rock concert in decades. Does this mean just being a Southern Band makes you an Outlaw? I cling to nostalgia over facts about the James Gang being Robin Hoods instead of Civil War hoodlums, but even the promoters with the marketing degrees can find a way to work that image of them into the promotions for the tour. I mean, how much money did the marketer get that puts the names on the poster for ZZ Top and Gretchen Wilson as “aka” Tres Hombres and Redneck Woman?
You see, 3 Doors Down are the good guys in this tour, both in music, demeanor, and in their impact on this country and their community. That's why this 59-year-old 11B Vietnam-era veteran is urging you to go see 3 Doors Down instead of ZZ Top for what will be my 6th time. I am in fact going to see ZZ Top for the 6th time on the “Gang of Outlaws” tour with Gretchen Wilson opening followed by 3 Doors Down and ZZ as the headliner, as I suppose they should be.
So you’re a VET. How does that qualify you to advise me who to see in this crowded marketplace of old acts booked on tour in the summer of 2012? Here is a very short list of my qualifications as a professional concertgoer a la a food critic, etc.
Since 1968 I have attended these shows: Miami Pop Festival, 1972 Rolling Stones Dragon stage, 72 Led Zeppelin Atlanta, 77 Fleetwood Mac, 77 Eagles, 79 Eagles Long Run, Ted Kennedy at Vandy, 1984 Bruce, and Murphy Center Bruce, CSNY, Pink Floyd, Paul, Garth Brooks, etc, and I can go on for pages so accept it from someone who has seen them all and from close up most of the time. Ahh, the good Ole Days, when if you wanted to quit your job to see a band on Front Row all you had to do was get in line a week in advance at old Centratik on West End.
After my 14-year-old grandson had seen 2 All for the Halls and Bon Jovi 3 times (including Giant Stadium on 7/7/07), he asked me meekly if we could go see 3 Doors Down along with Theory of a Deadman. So I did some quick research and found out that I really enjoyed their positive uplifting style of new Southern sound. After being knocked over by the combined show they both gave us at “The Woods” on what was a night with the temps near freezing, I came away not as inured to my concert future as I had become. I was instead upset that the show had not one mention in any local media at all after the event!
3 Doors Down is one of the premier new Southern Sound bands in the world today. Not only does it seem to me that they seem to sing mainly uplifting songs of the hurt of being separated from those you love, but they are such a good group of human beings that they back it up and from the heart with their time, fame, and money.
3 Doors Down started The Better Life Foundation (TBLF) in 2003, with a goal in mind to give as many children as possible a better life. Since its inception TBLF has supported numerous charities nationwide, as well as providing aid and assistance to the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi during Hurricane Katrina. 3 Doors Down and The Better Life Foundation host a yearly show to raise money for the charity. Numerous acts from Skynyrd to Kiss have helped them accomplish this goal!
But the biggest thing they have accomplished is supporting the US Military soldier! As a Vietnam-era veteran 11B, I am acutely aware of which rock bands have supported the American soldier in my life, and their song “When I’m Gone” has become an anthem for thousands and thousands of varied people in our culture to bond with and honor our brave men and women in uniform!
I pray it does not become for them like "Kryptonite" probably will, which is a song that defines them and ID’s them but that they've come to hate to play because it doesn’t really represent their overall body of work. Bon Jovi, Bruce, or most any lasting band reaches a point when they refuse to play the hits that brought them to the public and hopefully stay together long enough to get over that stage in a band as well!
They were even too nice to publicly unleash on Nickelback for taking their drummer from them in a crass manner, noting that they probably won in that deal since they now have a Transplanted Nashville native from Oklahoma via the Bayou in Greg Upchurch, who is not only an awesome drummer but a humanitarian as well — he was awarded the key to Oklahoma City for his efforts to better his community by helping those who need it most! CRASS SELF PROMOTION HERE NOW! Someone reading this knows Greg and can have him read this and I beg of you, Greg, contact this editor and provide my grandson with backstage passes to meet the band, making me the coolest Grandpa EVER to man a M-60 from a Huey. (I betcha that was your '68 Mako Shark parked there in October, huh?)
However, I must thank all of 3 Doors Down for the priceless feeling that I got reading the chorus lyrics from “When I’m Gone” and knowing that my grandson felt the same way in loyalty to me that I did for him! Knowing that he will play ONLY one song at my funeral in memory of me is a priceless gift they have already given me, and thousands more unnamed for eternity! May my grandson remain influenced by such a group rather than the lyrics of suicide, death, darkness and all of the other hopeless drivel many modern acts pour into their minds!
I was bemused at a concert once at Starwood where Guns N' Roses opened for Aerosmith. At least 1/3 of the younger crowd went home after Guns N' Roses were done. I thought, sheesh, what idiots! You are here; do ya really think Aerosmith sucks that much? At least in my case, I have become inured over the years (look it up). I may leave ZZ Top way before the last song my own self to beat the crowd leaving.
Now ZZ Top does have my award for BEST EXIT from a concert ever! It was the August 1976 WorldWide Texas Tour at the Raceway at the fairgrounds. They exited in this manner: 15 Metro police cars in front and 15 Metro police with all the blue lights they had on behind 3 limos with each member of ZZ Top standing up through the sunroofs. As they left the curtain rolled down on stage to the tune of “Happy Trails to You” and a 10-minute fireworks show. They are indeed old friends and masters, but they have nothing new left to show me or inspire me with!
All the old acts are having to tour to build their nest eggs back up to $75 million from where they have fallen down below $50 million during this new music zeitgeist where the only way any act can bank money is to tour, something most of these old groups thought they were over with. Of this plethora of available good shows, only one offers you an act that has but one more album success to achieve headliner-forever status. Put your money and time into going to see 3 Doors Down, and please don’t tell ZZ if you see me leaving early because one of them isn’t that good of an aim with a gun anyway.
And C’MON GREG — come through for me, one good young Southern boy to an older one, for the good ole days!
Concert Pro Reviewer, Historian.