The damp, chill of the spring air didn’t hold back the masses Friday, May 23rd at the Toledo Zoo’s Finger 11 and 3 Doors Down sold-out concert. The historic and beautiful amphitheater, built in 1936 and renovated in 1996, holds just 4,500 people, so each seat has a clear view of the stage.
There was no foreplay as Finger 11 hit the stage. Since the show started at 7pm it was still light out and limited the effects. When watching Finger 11 play live the first thing I noticed was the guitarist. He looks like a manic muppet, his long brown hair tossing to and fro and his legs spinning and flipping all helter skelter. They opened with Falling On from their 2007 album, Them vs. You vs. Me. The new single was followed by their 2004 hit One Thing. This track sounds more soulful and acoustic live and the build from the verse to chorus was beautiful. As they moved through their repertoire I studied the band. The bass player looks like a Weezer reject. The lead singer appears to be a high school choir director in his jeans and blazer, 5 day scruff, and conducting as he sang. Another new single, Talk to the Walls, will probably be a big hit on college radio and was well received by the diverse crowd. This was a family rock show, floating on a river of beer with islands of cotton candy. As Finger 11 closed with their current smash hit Paralyzer they gave a playful nod to the music they love that sent the fans into an uproar by mixing in some snippets of 70’s and 80’s hits. With 4 albums under their belts I was surprised by the brevity of their 40 minute set.
After an hour long break between bands 3 Doors Down opened with Train. The drummer was up on a pyramid structure and the drums and bass were so amped you could feel the reverberation in your spine from the last row. Someone behind me said “Now this is beginning to feel like a rock show.” Oddly, they played their mega hit Kryptonite second. The guitarist whips out a green-lighted guitar, which would have been cooler had it been full dark. The lead singer, Brad Arnold, is still baby-faced but ripped and buzz-cut like the soldiers 3 Doors Down often honor. There is no ego there, this is still most definitely a jeans and t-shirt band. After announcing that their new self-titled album dropped on Tuesday Brad stated “Ohio is the best rock state in the Country! Ya’ll are so welcoming.”
The hour long set consisted of all of their hits including Away From the Sun,
Let Me Go, and Here Without You. As Brad connected with the fans I was impressed
by his genuine thankfulness and his sweet southern drawl. One of the best performances
of the evening was the tribute to the troops, Soldier. The multi-media presentation
was polished and the light effects, once dark actually fell, were top-notch.
These guys are touring machines, with 22 concert dates in their upcoming US
summer tour in addition to their recently postponed UK tour. If you didn’t
get to catch one of their spring concerts make sure you get out to a summer
show. 3 Doors Down has a wide appeal, from moms to rockers, tweens to thirty-somethings
– so take your mom!
Review by Linsey Griffith
Photos by David Heasley