I set out for the triple bill Tuesday night of P.O.D., Daughtry and 3 Doors Down, but after battling stop-and-go traffic for 100 minutes to the 1stBank Center, I didn’t make it in time for P.O.D.’s opening set. I must say, their rap/metal act seemed an odd pairing with the two southern-style radio rock bands. The person next to me said they were luke-warmly received. Even less well received was the 3 Doors Down meet and greet, which according to a nearby couple was a rip-off. A rabid fan from Wyoming apparently paid $400 and got a 90-minute wait, followed by access to the sound check, a whopping two minutes around the band, a t-shirt and an autograph. It sounded like the load in was running behind, and the likely culprit was Axis’ multi-camera setup being used to televise the show.
The “American Idol” contestant-turned-rock-radio-staple, Chris Daughtry, took the stage to a roaring crowd. Supported by a dense and busy light show, Daughtry played an ebbing and flowing set of polished rockers and plodding ballads that occasionally flirted with country. Songs included, “Feels Like Tonight,” “Crawling Back to You,” and his breakthrough, bic-lighting inducer, “I’m Coming Home,” which Daughtry credited as the sole reason he got a record deal. He rallied the crowd with a good cover of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” featuring a surprise appearance of 3 Doors Down lead singer, Brad Arnold. Though well appreciated by the 80 percent-capacity crowd, the six-man band fell a bit short of filling the massive 1stBank stage with a stagnant stage presence.
After a set up change, 3 Doors Down followed a clock-oriented intro video and energetically launched into “The Time of My Life,” followed by “It’s Not My Time.” The vocals and guitars were punched up in the 3 Doors Down mix and they put out a heavier, warmer tone than Daughtry. On “Duck and Run,” Chris Henderson and Chet Roberts simultaneously executed identical guitar solos, giving the song a pleasingly fat center. Henderson switched guitars nearly every song, proudly displaying his LSU, New Orleans Saints and hot rod flames axes. The band plowed through instantly accessible songs that spans its catalog, including a couple new songs from the recently released greatest hits compilation, starting with the slightly depressing “Goodbyes.”
Daughtry returned to the stage for “Here Without You,” but the more impressive duet was Arnold leaving the front of the stage to man a second drum kit. He and Greg Upchurch delivered a tight, two-man junglebeat jam. While Daughtry’s cover song was moody, 3 Doors Down’s was metallic. Near the end of the set, they jumped into an abbreviated version of Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction.” Predictably, the encore was the rowdy sing-along “Kryptonite,” — the song that launched their careers in 2000. After shouting “God Bless You” for about the fifth time in the show, Arnold and company closed in their traditional fashion — dedicating “When I’m Gone” to the members of the military and their families.
Alan Cox is the president/creative director of Cox Creative, a Highlands Ranch-based creative shop. He works too much, sleeps too little and spends every free moment coaching baseball, shooting images and hanging out with his rowdy sons and rowdier wife. Check out his photos here.
Seth A. McConnell is a staff photographer for the YourHub section of the Denver Post and is a regular contributor to Reverb.