3 Doors Down brought Us and the Night tour to Grand Rapids with Pop Evil and Red Sun Rising.

30-Aug-2016: Openers Red Sun Rising from Akron, Ohio was founded in 2007. The band is riding high on the success of their 2015 release, Polyester Zeal, receiving plenty of airplay.

Red Sun Rising had the audience on their feet as they tore through a short, energy-packed set including their hits, “The Otherside,” “Amnesia,” and “Emotionless.” Red Sun Rising consists of Mike Protich (vocals, guitar), Ryan Williams (guitar), Ricky Miller (bass, vocals), Dave McGarry (guitar, vocals), and Pat Gerasia (drums).

Next up, were Pop Evil hailing from Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan. Pop Evil has built a growing and faithful fanbase with each release through relentless touring. Their fourth and latest release, Up, spawned several radio hits including “Take It All” — also used in a Dodge Ram Truck commercial.

Pop Evil opened their set with “Deal with the Devil” that had the crowd moving. Playing to a hometown audience makes it even more special for a band and tonight was no exception. They energized the crowd further with one of their hardest songs, “Lux,” followed by radio hits, “Ways to Get High” and “Take It All.”

Lead singer Leigh asked the audience if the Lions were going to win the Superbowl. That brought some cheers and laughter from the audience. They slowed things down a bit with “Ghost of Muskegon” and an older fan favorite, “100 in a 55,” with the audience singing along.

Lead singer Leigh Kakaty engaged the audience and could not thank the fans enough for their love and support. Bassist Matt DiRito is a treat to watch as he works the whole stage while spinning, jumping, and whipping his long hair around. His low-end thumping provides the pulse that drives many of their songs. Guitarists Davey Grahs and Nick Fuelling powered the songs through their fretboard magic, while new drummer Hayley Cramer laid down the beat. Hayley joined the band after Chachi Riot stepped away to spend time with family and pursue other interests. All of the band members compliment each other well and seem to have a great time performing live.

They closed their set to the ripping tune, “In Disarray,” and popular singles “Torn to Pieces,” “Trenches,” and “Footsteps.” The fans were clearly enthralled by their hometown heroes and wished they could have played longer.

Pop Evil is Leigh Kakaty (vocals), Davey Grahs (guitar), Nick Fuelling (guitar), Matt DiRito (bass), and Hayley Cramer (drums).

After a set change, the lights went down and 3 Doors Down from Escatawpa, Mississippi hit the stage to thunderous applause. The stage setup was stripped down, consisting of a backdrop with trees, a video screen behind the drummer, a drum platform, and small platforms at the left and right side for the band to use at various points in the show.

3 Doors Down kicked off the evening with “Still Alive,” a hard-hitting song from their latest release, Us and the Night. They followed with “It’s Not My Time,” the tribute song “Citizen/Soldier.” and “Believer.”

Their set showcased three other songs from the new album, including “The Broken,” “Us and the Night,” and “In the Dark.” It was the first time they played the title track live. Lead singer Brad noted he was glad the song went over well despite a subtle mistake. Fans enjoyed songs spanning the 3 Doors Down career, dominated by their chart-busting hits, such as “Let Me Go,” “Away From the Sun,” “The Road I’m On,” and “Be Like That.”

One of the highlights came about half way through their set for “Duck and Run” from their debut release, Better Life. This song had the guitarists, Chris and Chet, trading lead licks and working the whole stage. Drummer Greg Upchurch laid down a potent and precise beat, which fired up their audience.

One of their earliest and most popular songs, “Kryptonite,” closed their set and was certainly a highlight of the evening with fans bouncing and singing along. At one point, they slowed the song down and played it reggae style — the fans loved it.

After a short break, they returned to the stage for an encore, playing “Here Without You,” “Loser,” and “When I’m Gone.” These fan favorites were a great ending to an awesome night of rock n’ roll. Brad encouraged fans to take out their cell phones and shoot many pictures and videos and post them to social media. He said the band loves to look at them on their down time.

The acoustics in the intimate DeVos Performance Hall were tight and made it easy to hear each band member clearly. Singer Brad Arnold was on top of his game and sang each song with conviction. Brad’s voice was phenomenal on “Here Without You,” hitting high notes and holding them. Guitarist Chris Henderson had a smile on his face the whole evening. He seemed to be having a great time performing for the fans.

This gig was by far one of the best sounding concerts this music journalist has attended and, by far, the best show from 3 Doors Down. There are plenty more US dates to see them live before they head to Europe in early October.

The complete setlist for 3 Doors Down was “Still Alive,” “It’s Not My Time,” “Citizen/Soldier,” “Believer,” “The Broken,” “Let Me Go,” “Away From the Sun,” “Duck and Run,” “Let Me Be Myself,” “The Road I’m On,” “Be Like That,” “Us and the Night,” “In the Dark,” “Kryptonite,” “Here Without You,” “Loser,” “When I’m Gone.”

3 Doors Down is Brad Arnold (vocals), Chris Henderson (lead guitar), Greg Upchurch (drums), Chet Roberts (guitar), and Justin Biltonen (bass).

On a sad note, former 3 Doors Down guitarist Matt Roberts passed away on August 20.

3 Doors Down
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Pop Evil
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Red Sun Rising
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