Band still popular despite appearance at Trump inauguration

3 Doors Down at The Burt. /DWAYNE LARSON

Review: 3 Doors Down @ Burton Cummings Theatre (#3DoorsDown)

This is my thought process for most of the tickets I buy:

“Huh…that band’s name sounds familiar, I think I might know one of their songs, I wonder what they sound like live.”

That’s basically it.

As a television personality, I always found Donald Trump to be distasteful. Whenever I watched him, he seemed so unhappy and heartless. Plus, he was extremely cocky and smug and that’s a huge turn off for me. So when it was announced he was running for President, I laughed and laughed. I thought: “Oh America, you’re so obsessed with celebrities! But this is a mostly serious job, there’s no way they’ll vote him in.”

Time passed and the media had a field day with him. Every day was a new story of something outlandish he said or wanted to do if he became President. “He wants to bully another country into building a huge wall across the border? Ha ha ha! What a jerk! Wait…grab women by the what?! OMG, what a circus! What a mockery of something that should be pretty serious…”

Then the day arrived. He won. I stopped laughing.

I became really scared. How could he be rewarded for all these ugly traits that require years and years of therapy to undo? How could he be rewarded for validating fear and giving permission to hate? It’s the exact opposite of all the things I’m trying to teach my daughter (respect, empathy, etc). America isn’t that different from Canada, doesn’t that mean it could happen here?

I continued to watch the news about his inauguration. No musicians wanted to play for him. And then, 3 Doors Down accepted the invitation. I ran to my stack of tickets, silently praying I didn’t buy their ticket. $hit. I did. My mind raced. What do I do now? I don’t want to see this. Can I call Ticketmaster and ask for a refund because I’ve suddenly changed my mind?

Then I stopped for a second and the curiosity that drives this blog, kicked in: “Wait a minute…this band is being slammed on social media for accepting this invitation. What would their show in Winnipeg be like? Would there be picketers? Would The Burt be full of people? Half empty? Mostly empty? What would the band say? What would I say? What would this review look like? What would it feel like for ME? Could I keep an open mind about this? Could I be honest and fair?”

I decided to go. Not to show support, but because I was curious about their show and my ability to review it.

3 Doors Down played to an excited, boisterous crowd at The Burt. /DWAYNE LARSON

It was a grey and rainy evening in Winnipeg as I drove into and backed out of four different parking spots across from The Burt. Seriously, can someone please fix the giant pot holes in that parking lot? The water in them was so high, I had to front crawl out of my car. As I was waiting to pay for parking, I ran into an old friend I hadn’t seen in about two decades which was really nice. We walked across the street to The Burt together. There was nothing out of the ordinary except the tour bus was parked outside the front doors of The Burt instead of at the back.

I ran up to the second balcony and watched everyone else trickle in.

I emailed photographer, Dwayne Larson of Its A Music Thing and asked him if the floor and first balcony were full. He indicated that they were, which surprised me, because a bunch of organizations were giving away tickets to this show, which made me think maybe they were having trouble selling them. Maybe not.

Portrait of Leaders opened the show, but if you were in the second balcony and this was the first time you saw them, you wouldn’t know that.

I know this is a Winnipeg band and I love Winnipeg bands. I want to see all Winnipeg bands do well. But I have to critique this band and I hope they read this.

It felt like the band was rehearsing. Not because the music wasn’t up to par; the music was “warm up band” good. But the stage presence wasn’t great.

When you’re playing a show at The Burt, PLAY THE SHOW. There has to be some visual component to accompany the music, or it’s just not interesting or memorable. That means you have to give us more than pacing back and forth and bobbing your head.

Unless you’re Gordon Lightfoot or someone equally as established, YOU HAVE TO MOVE; especially if you’re playing Rock. You have to project incredible passion and excitement for what you’ve created to everyone in that theatre. Because if you don’t look like you’re in love with what you’re producing, why should we love it? Why should we buy it? We paid for this experience. Give us the experience of your music. SHOW us what it feels like.

One of the biggest faux pas a band can make is to not say their name. Yes, it was written across the kick drum, but it was impossible to see from the second balcony. I could only read it with binoculars and I bet I was the only person with them.

I asked the men sitting beside me if they knew who the band was and none of them could tell me. Which to me, feels like a wasted opportunity. The Burt holds a captive audience who might love to support your music. ALWAYS tell the audience who you are…multiple times.

I’m going to stop there. I don’t know how old this band is and I understand nerves. But I’m hoping for a noticeable difference in stage presence in the next five years. Fingers crossed. Keep going guys, and give us a show. Make us remember who you are. Tear down The Burt. Not literally. Heh.

What Portrait of Leaders lacked in stage presence, 3 Doors Down more than made up for. The sounds of rain and thunder filled The Burt, matching Greg Upchurch’s thunderous grooves on the kit. The band burst on stage and ripped into “Still Alive”. Behind them, blackened tree branches; between the trees, a video of the open road.

“It’s Not My Time” followed and the crowd cheered in appreciation.

Stage presence, indeed! 3 Doors Down nails it on stage at The Burt. /DWAYNE LARSON

They played all their hits and I know this because I knew a lot more 3 Doors Down songs that I thought I did. Every song sounded just like it did on the radio. There was no improvising or tangents just the songs as we knew them, except in concert form, so more exciting.

Two things I found interesting:

  1. There was no stage banter whatsoever until the encore. Brad Arnold (vocals) thanked us after each song and called us “friends”, but there was nothing else. I think this might be the first band since Trump was elected to NOT say anything about the political climate in the States. Even the Canadian bands talk about it.
  2. There was a microphone to the left of the stage that Brad kept singing into. I couldn’t hear it from the second balcony, so I don’t know what that was about.

The crowd went nuts for “Kryptonite”, and we watched the band between the glare of cell phones aimed at the stage. Everyone sang and hollered their approval and then in the middle of the song, they kicked into a reggae version of it. It made me laugh because I thought it was lame, but people seemed to enjoy it.

They left the stage and the crowd chanted “3 Doors Down!”. Or maybe it was “3 More Songs!”, I couldn’t tell from the second balcony. Either way, they got their wish.

The cell phones flashed back on for “Here Without You” and when it ended, Brad addressed the crowd. He thanked us for coming and spoke about the building and how they loved playing theatres as opposed to arenas. He urged us to take pictures and videos and make sure we hashtagged 3 Doors Down when we posted them because they loved looking at themselves. Alllrighty…

Then they played my favourite song of the evening, “Loser”. I don’t think it was the most popular, but I remember when that one came out and I have fond memories of it…even though I didn’t’ know it was them who created it. Heh.

Their last song was dedicated to the armed forces in the United States as well as Canada and “3 DOORS DOWN” was projected on top of a red maple leaf on the screen as they played “When I’m Gone”.

This was a high energy show full of driving rock and power ballads. If you like that, this was a good show to be at.

It was nice to listen to a heavy drum/guitar based band, but even if I remove the political stuff, I’m still not a massive fan. So I think once was enough.

Good night!

P.S. Super cool shots taken by Dwayne Larson of It’s A Music Thing. Check out his page for more photos of the show.

TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here:

Anne Martin


TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here:

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