3 Doors Down Knocks it Out of the Fremont Street Experience

By Heather Vale

The voices of thousands of fans singing filled the space beneath the video canopy of the Fremont Street Experience. Even while trying to steadily shoot some video clips with my HD camcorder, I couldn’t help joining in the chorus:

“If I go crazy, then will you still call me Superman?
If I’m alive and well, will you be there a-holding my hand?
I’ll keep you by my side, with my superhuman might, Kryptonite.”

“Kryptonite,” the first-ever single released by alternative rock band 3 Doors Down, was the initial song in their two-song encore. Moments before, lead singer Brad Arnold had drawled, “I’m pretty sure we need some assistance on this song, alright?” His request had been met with screams of agreement from the packed crowd.

Taking a break from their current “Songs from the Basement” acoustic tour to be part of the free “Rock of Vegas” concert series at the 3rd Street Stage, 3 Doors Down delivered everything fans expected: a high energy performance, nearly all the hits, and some new songs that were instantly catchy. Combine that with the 0-dollar price of admission and what’s not to like?

Well, maybe we could complain about the fact that there was no reserved seating — make that no seating at all. But that’s the way all Fremont Street Experience shows are. And while the crowd can be a little aggressive, a little pushy and a little territorial at times, this show attracted a pretty polite audience for the most part.

NikiGlarakis-HarryShade-HeatherValeAt the beginning I could barely maneuver with two of my friends to meet up with a third who was waiting for us. Then I was stuck behind the tallest guy in the audience, with my backside squished against strangers. But eventually everyone relaxed, and suddenly we all had breathing room and enough space to groove to the music.

Formed in 1996, the Mississippi rock band is big on supporting the military. Several times Arnold gave shout-outs to the men and women who serve, and since this June 14 concert happened to be the 239th birthday of the U.S. Army being formed, he of course gave a salute to the organization.

The final song of the evening, “When I’m Gone,” is always dedicated to military personnel and vets. But this time they also paid tribute to Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo, the two Las Vegas officers slain in a senseless shooting at a pizzeria less than a week earlier. Since the incident was so fresh in the minds of locals and tourists alike, the homage was genuinely appreciated and rewarded with cheers.

The set leading up to the climactic encore was also a crowd-pleaser. Arnold’s Southern twang and good-old-boy uniform of American flag T-shirt and Atlanta Braves baseball cap could easily allow him to blend in with any crowd. But despite the low-key anti-Vegas garb, he’s a passionate stage performer. He seems to enjoy every minute of it, and connects often with the audience through talk and touch. Guitarists Chris Henderson and Chet Roberts relished in their solos, while bassist Justin Biltonen stayed front and center instead of hiding in the back like many bass players.

The band cycled through their hits, from “It’s Not My Time” to “Away from the Sun” to “Let Me Go” to “Here Without You.” One of the few singles that didn’t make the cut was a personal favorite of mine, “Let Me Be Myself,” but you can’t expect a full discography in 90 minutes or less. Anyway, it’s probably for the best because that song reminds me of a past relationship where I was chided for being myself – and tonight was about having fun with good friends who appreciate me.

In fact, most of 3 Doors Down’s songs have lyrics that touch the heart. They have love songs, breakup songs, songs about facing fears and overcoming setbacks. These are the songs that define the mythology-worthy life journey we all tend to take.

When introducing new songs, Arnold would ask permission and then promise, “You might not know the words, but you can dance to this one,” or “this one’s a rock song.” And the audience obliged, either dancing or rocking out to the new tunes.

RajBhatti-HeatherVale-HarryShadeBeing Las Vegas in the summertime, the venue was hot. People were sweaty from being packed together like sardines. That’s all to be expected. But it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the show. In fact, it just might add to it.

Arnold said this was their second time performing at the Fremont Street Experience, and that he loved it both times. Since a second good show begs for another, we can probably expect to see 3 Doors Down rocking the Vegas landmark venue again – kind of like knocking on that third door down.

And I just might try to get front and center again if they do.



Heather Vale is a freelance journalist, writer, interviewer and producer also known as The Unwrapper. For over 20 years she has worked in all media: TV, radio, print and online. Currently she is one of the top freelance interviewers on the web, and specializes in the internet marketing, personal development and arts & entertainment niches. A native of Toronto, she has lived in Las Vegas with her young son since 2012.

You can reach her at her website, TheUnwrapper.com, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/Unwrapper.

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One Response to 3 Doors Down Knocks it Out of the Fremont Street Experience

  1. It truly was an excellent time and 3 Doors Down put on a helluva show. These are always made better when shared with excellent friends, like Heather (the author of this amazalicious article), Raj and Niki.

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