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  • Megan Garzone

The Rock & Roll Express Tour in South Florida

The Rock & Roll Express took the tracks down to South Florida, with conductors 3 Doors Down behind the wheel, and stopped in Boca Raton at Mizner Park Amphitheater. Now I fully expected to thoroughly rock out to Three Doors Down under the summer sky with Boca's finest. But what I didn't expect was that Collective Soul would be steering the train off it's tracks and running wild over Florida.

When the lights dimmed announcing the start of Collective Soul, I figured it was going to be fairly copy and paste from last year's performance. The band exploded into “Now's the Time,” a new unreleased track that captured the audience's attention from the start. Collective Soul have been teasing a handful of songs this year from their anticipated tenth album that is slated for release in 2019. Ed Roland (vocals) commanded the audience and used Mizner's massive stage to his every whim, including dramatic backwards contortion while belting out long-winded notes to our favorite tracks of nostalgia. When the third song began to play, the audience quickly recognized it as the 1994 mega-hit “Shine” and had their cellphones raised high above singing loudly along.

Roland's signature swirled piano was set up for him, as always, and we saw some of the most intense playing to their hits. Maybe it was the rain last year, or maybe Boca just brings out the best in people, because Collective Soul were on absolute fire. Fading the music out, with Roland bouncing between his piano and to the front of the stage, urging the fans to sing louder, the crowd's voices carried high over the storefronts behind them as they harmonized “ooh, heaven let your let shine down.”

As Collective Soul powered through a fourteen song set, you overheard plenty of fans turning to their friends and exclaiming, “I didn't know they sang this song!” But they really do excompass a huge discography of radio hits that we all loved in the 90's, including “Heavy,” “December,” and Gel.” The best moment, though, had to be as the sun set with pink clouds in the darkened sky and the band kicked into their heavier rock side with 1996's “Where the River Flows.” The vibe of the amphitheater never faltered during the performance, the band kept the fan's attention all the way through the very end of the set, as Roland played his bandmates off with a guitar tune, which continued to play long after he dissapeared behind the stage.

Now's the Time / Over Me / Shine / Heavy / Why, Pt. 2 / Better Now / Precious Declaration / December / Right as Rain / Observation of Thought / The World I Know / Gel / Where the River Flows / Run

An American flag was posted up to the side as the musicians of 3 Doors Down took the stage kicking into 2001's “Duck and Run,” their third single off of their debut album. The popular hit had the fans on their feet, stomping along as Brad Arnold (vocals) finally erupted onto the stage with blasts of smoke. Once the song was in full swing, I once again fell victim to 3 Doors Down Mania. What's 3DDM you may ask? Well, every time I have seeen the band perform, I have been absolutely blown away. Now when someone asks me, “who is your favorite band live?” I can't admit that 3 Doors Down comes to the fronrt of my mind, but they make me regret that every time.

From “It's Not My Time” and “Away From the Sun” the band spieled through their hits, and had the fans singing along the entire track. With Arnold belting out radio rock perfected vocals next to the flag, Chet Roberts (guitar), Justin Biltonen (bass), and Chris Henderson (guitar) took turns displaying their string mastery at the front of the stage, while Greg Upchurch slammed on his kit at the back. Each band member is full of energy on stage, and their personalities play off of each other to keep the fans entertained. And while Arnold made sure to throw in plenty of “God blesses” and “God Bless Americas” it never feels forced, or preachy, just a genuinely humble frontman connecting on a specific level to his fans.

The latter part of the band's set included a cover of The Charlie Daniels Band's “In America” and two of the most well-known 3 Doors Down songs, “Loser” and “Kryptonite.” When the opening chords of “Kryptonite” began, the entire amphitheater from the front seats, to the people crowded in the grass in the back, all the way to the people that had set up seats in the shopping center outside (yes, really!) were on there feet pumping their fists and ready to end the night on a superior note.

Duck and Run / Running Out of Days / It's Not My Time / Away From the Sun / Let Me Go / Going Down in Flames / The Road I'm On / Be Like That / Citizen/Soldier / Still Alive / In America (The Charlie Daniels Band cover) / Landing in London / My Way / Loser / Kryptonite

3 Doors Down

Collective Soul