"Rest assured I will not let you down. I'll walk beside you but you may not see me. The strongest among you may not wear a crown."
Back into the fires of Hell (or at least for a scouser it is) carried on the wings (or wheels should I say) of a National Express coach. Not the greatest way of travelling to a gig I have waited for a very long time to see with a band that I have to thank so very much. Many of the songs in their back catalogue have been, how to put this in a very nice way, utilised in order for me to gain certain females of the species companionship for the evening. I not becoming any clearer on that as it was about as subtle as a brick to the face.
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So when the doors opened what greeted me was quite a sight to behold. From my little perch on the upper balcony (big thank you to the backstage team for the wristbands to access that part of the arena) was a sold out venue packed to the rafters with a mixed crowd of both young and older music fans. I could feel the buzz in the air like the static charge after a storm and this led me to believe that the gig was going to be a fantastic performance.
First up and a special mention to the support act Takida. Aside from having my girlfriend panting in the sidelines due to the sheer attractiveness of Robert Petterson, this band produced quite a brilliant opener, setting the mood for both Seether and 3 Doors Down extremely well. They sort of reminded me as a softer Stone Sour and Robert's voice often swung towards having elements that reminded me of Chad Kroeger. I'll definitely be listening to a lot more from these hard rockers from Sweden. Nice one guys!
Seether exploded onto the stage with an amazing energy that really played well into the 2500 fans that where clamouring to get to the front in a very friendly manner. Seether's performance was nothing short of fantastic, swinging backwards and forwards between much of their heavier stuff and the softer more haunting creations.
They performed each track with such care and passion and that was evident to the fans below as they roared out their appreciation at the end of every one. Tracks such as 'Broken', 'Tonight' and 'Fake It' really struck major chords within me and I was very impressed with the sheer professional way they took that stage and owned it. Seriously guys and girls, their stage presence was quite awesome!
This night Seether where on top form playing to a very appreciative crowd whom they energised, impressed and entertained for their entire set. Excellent instrumental work, fantastic vocals and all round brilliant performance from the Pretoria band! I was quite hoarse at this point due to the shouting!
Right, now the main event! I have to say, no offence to the other acts of the night, this was my piece de resistance. Had waited a long time for this and only the next few paragraphs and time will tell if it was worth the wait! Bursting onto the stage with 'Time Of My Life' one thing immediately struck me about the guys on stage. They adored being up there! They were loving every minute of it and it reminded me of a band who had just been signed to do their very first gig in many ways.
The excitement they showed, the sheer energy and enthusiasm and the actual owning of that stage! Seriously I think the guys should have paid Academy to pull it up and take it home as I have not seen that stage so owned by one act before, especially not straight into the first track. Needless to say I started the set thinking that this was definitely going to be my night. Was I mistaken? Wait and see!
'Duck And Run' came next, along with a little bit of rule breaking from Brad! It clearly states in Academy's rules that crowd surfing will have you ejected from the arena. As you can see from the photographic evidence that rule went slightly out of the window and we all bloody loved it!
This action broke down those barriers that tend to exist between band and fan. Chris said to me in an interview before the show (that feature is to follow) that "we are all in it together; band and fan alike" and this certainly was indicative of that.
Launching himself into the crowd he was carried (not too far) by a wave of appreciative fans and all the while he never broke stride in his vocals. At this point I was slightly regretting being on the balcony as I would have loved to have added my hands to the throng! So glad was I that the Academy never stuck to their rules about crowd surfing because I have a feeling there could have been riots if they had!
As the gig progressed again the barriers between artist and fans where lowered when Brad let through a little personal turmoil he had been going through recently. Visibly upset and to the reaction of a supportive crowd he allowed people a glimpse into his life and the fact that even those in the public eye are subjected to crises. On a side note, all here at MetalTalk.net hope that everything is now fine and that Brad and his family are doing well.
As the gig progressed a little, Brad launched himself into his own cover of a Phil Collins track 'Another Day In Paradise'. This gave him the opportunity to really showcase his fantastic vocals and gave the crowd a moment's reflection on things that had been revealed just before. It was beautifully sung and flowed extremely well into the proceedings of the night.
Throughout the gig there were fantastic little nuances that made this less about attending a gig and more geared towards attending an event. Things like the video clips and feeds showing on the main screen behind the guys as they where performing and a little video interview/insert that was put in between tracks. Also the joking around when Greg broke his drumstick on his snare drum rim which led into the telling of a tale about the sheer power of this guy having snapped his snare drum rim onstage whilst launching into a barrage of perfect abuse on his kit.
All throughout this 3 Doors Down showed energy, enthusiasm, electricity and above all a sublime treat for both the ear and the eye. Those dedicated fans amongst the crowd would not be disappointed with the appearance of such tracks as 'What's Left', 'Changes', 'Here Without You' and 'Believer'.
The performance was amazingly well accomplished, fantastically delivered and left me with a feeling that not only was it worth the wait but also that, as a fan, I am in the fight with them to the bitter end! They loved being up there, you can tell that they loved it. They never felt the need to tell you they loved it as you could see it from their actions!
That's the end. Now if you will excuse me I'm heading 3 Doors Down the street to the shop for some milk! Hope you enjoyed and if you missed the gig you definitely missed out!