Music Reviews — 11 November 2011
3 Doors Down & Theory of a Deadman at Hammerstein Ballroom: A Concert Review

3 Doors Down & Theory of a Deadman
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
November 9th, 2011

Since when did NYC become a hot bed for mainstream rock shows? It seems like every week we are gearing up for yet another fist pumping, horn raising hard rock and roll spectacle (heavy on the rock, light on the roll).

On this noticeably mild early-November evening, we decided to turn our attention to the infamous Hammerstein Ballroom for a twin bill featuring Canada’s own Theory of a Deadman and the resurgent 3 Doors Down. Touring for the first time together in nearly ten years, quite a bit has changed since 3 Doors Down invited a then unknown Theory of a Deadman to join forces for one of 3DD’s first of many North American headlining runs.

Promptly hitting the stage at 8pm, Theory opened their 65 minute direct support set with “Gentleman,” a cut throat hard rocker from their 4th full-length release, 2011’s, “The Truth Is…” An ideal set starter for one of hard rock’s most recognizable names segued into fan favorites “Got It Made” and “So Happy.” Unlike their last visit to town, Theory concentrated their efforts on introducing the 3 Doors Down faithful to a variety of tracks off of their aforementioned latest release. Newcomers, “The Truth Is…” and buzzworthy single “Bitch Came Back” readied the crowd for set list staples, “Hate My Life” and the quartet’s most recognizable number, “Bad Girlfriend.” Hardships and drama queens, Canadian rock music at its finest.

For a vocalist who claimed to be under the weather, TOAD’s frontman and lead guitarist Tyler Connolly displayed his full vocal range and seemed at home under the spotlight in front of a near capacity crowd. Snippets of Eric Clapton’s “Cocaine” and Guns N’ Roses “Paradise City,” were well received by a predominantly well-behaved audience. It continues to behoove us as to why Connelly chooses to rip through multiple guitar solos in a live setting, but chooses not to showcase his obvious guitar talents in the studio. Unfortunately, like most aspiring hard rock outfits, the art of the guitar solo ceases to exist. If you are however, looking for a three-minute radio friendly single, with a catchy bridge and an unforgettable chorus, this is your genre and Theory of a Deadman is your band.

The southern quintet and chart-topping mainstays, 3 Doors Down, set the tone right out of the gate with the appropriately titled “Time of My Life” from the band’s 5th full length EP. Highlighted by an oversized video board, lead-singer Brad Arnold reflected upon his personal hardships growing up in a small, rural town, and failing to be fully accepted by his peers. Graduating in a class of 60, Arnold took his emotionally draining high school experience and created the group’s debut smash record, “The Better Life.” Without the instant success of “Kryptonite,” “Loser,” and the affectionate “Duck and Run,” there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that 3DD would not be headlining a show in front of a near sold-out crowd eleven years after the fact. They are predictable and lack the stage presence that most hard rock bands pride themselves on, but what they lack in flare is more than made up for in Arnold’s song writing. The introverted frontman is an exceptional lyricist and hits every note on the main stage. While 3 Doors Down doesn’t have a great live reputation by today’s rock standards, they seem to always manage to remain relevant. The combination of releasing consistent, safe, and meaningful music has allowed them to far exceed anyone’s expectation of their would-be shelf life as they continue to release their own brand of music that the 3 Doors Down faithful will undoubtedly embrace. If only they had decided to perform their current mid-tempo single, “Every Time You Go.” It would have been a nice send off to arguably the most genuine band in hard rock. There’s always a next time.

- Buzz Francis

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