Mississippi rockers, 3 Doors Down, brought their brand new 3 Doors Down: Songs From The Basement tour  to the Green Valley Ranch Hotel and Casino in Henderson, Nevada this past Saturday, January 11, 2014.

This was only the second night of the tour and fans were treated to an entirely acoustic performance; all while the band plays on a stage that looks… well.., exactly like a basement.

With four love seats, ‘3 doors down’ tagged trunks serving as coffee tables , a trippy ruby slippered leg lamp, and a single naked lightbulb turned on by a pull chain, it was a completely believable set up.  If I had a basement, I’d decorate it the same way. I’ve been lucky to sit in on many spontaneous jam sessions and this tour captured that vibe exactly.  All I needed to do was mentally block out the audience of 1200 seated around me and the scene was set.  

3 Doors Down has suffered some significant hurdles in the last year and a half as founding members Matt Roberts and Todd Harrell have faced health problems and legal issues respectively.  Neither are touring with the band.  The current lineup consists of Brad Arnold (vocals), Chris Henderson (lead guitar), Greg Upchurch (drums), Chet Roberts (guitar), and Justin Biltonen(bass).

The set list is a mix of top-10 hits, never before played live tracks, and personal band favorites that radio never seemed to pick up on.  The 2 hour set was lively yet relaxed, friendly and even funny.  Decisively entertaining.

The performance was surprisingly country tinged.  Possibly because of the acoustic delivery.  Maybe due to the fantastic stories recounted in frontman Brad Arnolds’s distinct southern drawl.  I missed the more rock heavy tones generally heard from these guys, but the change was welcome. Brad tried to describe the sound as a “mix between Avenged Sevenfold and Mumford and Sons.”  I can see that.

Arnold spoke extensively to the crowd.  Personal stories describing the inspiration behind songs and tales of experiences on the road.  Sometimes quipping, “this is weird” and, “it’s like having 1200 people at band practice” in regards to the bands scaled down performance, or asking, “Do we sound all right for a bunch of old rednecks?”.

While Arnold spoke to the crowd, the band sipped on Coronas. It’s a rarity to catch a band in an element like they are creating on this tour.

This audience was different than most. Fairly subdued and quiet.  Without the hindrance of a screaming crowd, you could clearly hear everything and laugh along with the guys on stage.  Not to say there wasn’t a response, it’s just this crowd was actually listening.  Very cool. The cheers came at the end of songs in a most appropriate manner.

Drummer Greg Upchurch played the majority of the set behind his kit.  He did emerge for about a third of the show to keep time on a cajon drum box.  This change gave the performance much more of a fireside or rooftop beach jam feel, as there never seems to be a drum set around to play.

Both guitarists, Chet Roberts and Chris Henderson, were on point and in the groove.  Henderson never directly addressed the crowd or left his stool, yet he smiled broadly and sounded great.  Roberts was goofy and playful while strumming his acoustic electric and bantering with the front row as well as band mate Brad Arnold.

Bassist Justin Biltonen was up from his stool fairly often.  I think this acoustic setting is the most difficult on him.  He wants to rock; you could sense it.

Vocalist Brad Arnolds confession at the end of the show that he wasn’t up to par as he’s been sick for the last two weeks, came as a shock.  Never would have known it. Vocals were strong, attitude was amazing, and crowd interaction certainly among the best I’ve seen.  The mark of a true professional.

3 Doors Down always ends every show with  Here Without You along with a heartfelt dedication to the US Military. Acoustic or not, this show was no different.  A standing ovation and cheers of gratitude ensue.

If you’re a tried and true 3 Doors Down fan with some money to spend, splurge on the VIP package and score yourself one of eight priority seats.  Sit upon the couches on stage and have a beer with the band. But really it doesn’t matter where you sit…if you’re there you’re in the basement and it’s a very cool place to hang out.