GIG REVIEW: 3 DOORS DOWN “Us And The Night Tour” Live at Crouse Hinds Theater, NY
As I headed north in route to the John H. Mulroy Civic Center Crouse Hinds Theater late afternoon Tuesday, September 13th, I couldn’t help but ponder as to how this little-known venue (capacity 2,117) would fare, bringing the likes of 3 Doors Down, Pop Evil, and Red Sun Rising to a theater designed more for plays, conferences, etc. I had my doubts, they were short-lived…and in hindsight, without merit.
It wasn’t long before Mike Protich of Red Sun Rising took the stage, with a persona fit for a metal madman. Hailing from Akron, Ohio (2007-present) and their latest disc ‘Polyester Zeal’ released August 5th, 2015 to their credit, members Ryan Williams (lead guitar), Dave McGarry (rhythm guitar/vocals), Ricky Miller (bass), Pat Gerasia (drums) along with Protich, proved that they meant business when they opened a six song set with “Push”, followed by the well-anticipated single “The Otherside” from ‘Polyester Zeal’. By now the crowd had begun its slow decent down to the front of stage and were tantalized by the antics and crowd interaction of Protich, a far cry from his more-timid performance two months earlier at Gwarbq in Richmond, Virginia. William’s screeching strings literally pierced through the souls of all attending, especially with closing song “Emotionless” hard-driving beat while accompanying members McGarry, Miller and Gerasia displayed their own talents in this soon-to-be headliner band.
Trailing on their heels, after an extremely precise and expedient stage change by seasoned stage hands, my boys from Muskegon, Michigan Pop Evil began their electrifying ten song set-list with “Ways to Get High”, as Leigh Kakaty warmed up to the crown, slowly enticing us as he built up to bellowing out strong yet passive vocals on his acoustical version of “Torn to Pieces” as well as the hard-driving chest-pounding single “Footsteps”. Matt DiRito was totally off the chain through most of their show, running around the stage with his signature hair thrown back and forth as if on cue, especially while he and band members Nick Fuelling and Dave Grahs (on guitars) along with the amazingly talented Hayley Cramer on drums tore into “100 in a 55” from their 2008 album ‘Lipstick on the Mirror’, Cramer most certainly stepped up her skin-pounding game, proving she has what it took to replace the experienced Joshua Marunde (Chachi), who moved onto other equally important ventures. Closing their over-the-top performance with “Take it All” (from the disc ‘Up’ – 2015), there wasn’t a single person that was left seated, as the crown was collectively pumping fists and horns high above their heads…heads frantically moving up and down, until the final moment when these monsters of metal exited the stage. If only we could have hit a rewind button and witnessed their stellar performance over and over again!
With just enough time to down a luke–warm coffee and change up my lenses, my anticipation was building quickly, as the headliner was but a few minutes away from starting. I barely made it back to the seats when the lights dimmed, as the post grunge band from Escatawpa, Mississippi (formed by Brad Arnold in 1996) joined on stage. In an instant, the lights glared and pulsated with the explosive sounds of 3 Doors Down, with Arnold leading the pack. And did so displaying such rock and roll reverence, with a fourteen song performance of high caliber vocals, beginning with “Still Alive” (‘Us and the Night’ album, 3/11/2016; single release 5/30/2016). These good ole southern boys brought forth the best ever small intimate performance witnessed by me and judging by the screaming of the ladies in the audience as well, I wasn’t alone. Chet Roberts wailed on his strings sporting his bright red Mohawk, on classic singles such as “The Broken”, “Away from the Sun”, and “Duck and Run”, backed up with the steady hand of Chris Henderson on rhythm guitar. Then, as if the venue was struck by lightning, members Greg Upchurch (drums), and Justin Biltonen on bass accompanied the other members in bringing the house down with their very first single (which in fact is their claim to international fame) titled “Kryptonite”. The final number of this musical journey proved to all why who was genuinely boss of bosses on their enlightened evening. Through many trials and tribulations, Chad Arnold and crew have risen from the ashes like phoenixes with only the sky as a limit.
But wait…there’s more! I kind of told a half-truth when stating 3 Doors Down did a remarkable fourteen song set, and left out that they also did an outstanding encore starting with “Here Without You” (‘Away from the Sun’), followed by my favorite “Loser”. By this point all audience members were singing their hearts out, as if warming up to participate one last time as Arnold led us into their curtain closing performance of “When I’m Gone”. I’d be willing to bet that there were not many dry eyes upon ending this show.
In closing, I would have to say that has earned the highest rating possible – not only with the exceptional energy brought forth this evening by all three bands, but a unique versatility of music all around, from the more metal thrashing sounds of Pop Evil to the more melancholic numbers of 3 Doors Down, with the explosive showmanship of Red Sun Rising. A perfect blend of surroundings, fan participation and spectacular sounds. An evening to remember.