During the 3 Doors Down set at MemAud on Wednesday, Brad Arnold said “Ohio is the best place in the world.”
3 Doors Down, dressed in blue jeans and ball caps, played an acoustic mix of their hits and new music to a nearly sold-out crowd, with special guest Elvis Monroe warming up the fans.
Bryan Hopkins, lead singer of Elvis Monroe, said winning over 3 Doors Down fans was the most important, and his favorite, part of every show.
“The three of us just love hanging out and you can see that onstage. Then when we get that back from the audience, we just make it like one big living room, it’s really cool,” Ben Carey, guitarist of Elvis Monroe and former member of Lifehouse, said.
Arnold stressed the importance of getting to connect with the audience by stripping down their songs. Most of the songs are written acoustically, he said, then they are converted to rock songs with edgier production.
“Most of your songs you should be able to play acoustic,” he said. “If not, there’s too much going on.”
Tiki torches lit the stage, filled with American flags and patriotic knickknacks, as 3 Doors Down played an intimate show from bar stools.
Six fans joined the band, sitting in lawn chairs onstage for the entirety of the show, by purchasing the VIP tickets that are available at all of the shows on the Back Porch Jam tour.
Fans sang along to hits “Kryptonite,” “Be Like That” and “Let Me Go,” but they also listened intently to Arnold’s stories about the inspiration behind some the band’s more personal songs.
“Loser,” Arnold shared, was written about a friend that he grew up in Mississippi who got into drugs and about how others looked down their noses as he struggled. “Be Somebody,” was written for his mom, who raised him and his 6 siblings to follow their dreams.
Arnold dug deep when he announced that he had just hit 2 years of sobriety, before launching into an emotional rendition of “Pieces of Me.”
“I started playing bars when I was 16. I’m 39 now. This is all I’ve ever done,” Arnold said. “We all have strong parts and weak parts, and this song is about getting rid of those weaker parts.”
“When I’m Gone” was the band’s final encore, and Arnold dedicated it to the troops, first responders and “everyone who has served this country.”