3 Doors Down Goes Acoustic at the Hard Rock Rocksino

February 9, 2017

3 Doors Down entertained a near sell-out crowd at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfield, Ohio on Friday. Bringing their Acoustic Back Porch Jam to their second stop in the Buckeye state, they were ready to put an intimate spin on their biggest hits as well as their personal favorites. Special guest Elvis Monroe was the opening act.

Elvis Monroe

Starting their forty-five-minute set off with a tribute to the working man, “Blue Collar Man”, Elvis Monroe was getting the crowd charged up for the main act.

Five songs into their set, Lead Singer Bryan Hopkins explained his experience during the Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 concert in October of 2017. Bryan and Lead Guitarist Ben Carey were in attendance at the concert when the shooting occurred. Without going into too much detail, Bryan explained how they have the Route 91 Strong charity to help the victims and survivors. Bryan stated, “All proceeds go to people who need it more than us.” Bryan asked the audience to light up their cell phone flashlights as they started in on the song “The Fight” which they sang in honor of all the lives touched by the tragedy.

Elvis Monroe is made up of three members, Bryan Hopkins, Ben Carey and Jared Berry. Their acoustic styling was a pleasant mix of country with a slight tinge of rock mixed in. Most of their songs focused on the lighter side of life. Bringing you lyrics about BBQs, Buckle Bunnies, and Blue Collar, they keep it pretty tight to their demographic. They are unsigned and continue on the road with help from people that truly believe in them. As Bryan put it, “You just need to take a leap of faith and put in the work to follow your dream!”

Elvis Monroe – WebsiteFacebook

3 Doors Down

The stage was definitely reminiscent of a typical back porch. A bicycle, barrel, an American Flag, fencing, shrubs, and tiki torches lined the perimeter of the stage. Stools, action figures, and coolers finished off the concept. The VIP on-stage guests were comfortably seated in lawn chairs with personal ear monitors giving them a unique perspective of the concert. Right on time, 3 Doors Down walked out on the Rocksino stage, gave a few nods to the crowd, and started right in with their first song.

It isn’t the first time they have hit the road to play acoustically. It is a bold and rare move to strip away the electric guitars and amplification. When that happens, it can leave a band vulnerable, with the need to rely on a true connection with the audience. 3 Doors Down did just that, and by their second song “It’s Not My Time”, the majority of the audience was joined in for a harmonious sing-along. The atmosphere in the 2,100 seat arena was not that of a typical concert, but rather an up-close personal experience.

On deciding to go out on an acoustic tour, lead singer Brad Arnold stated, “If you can’t play it acoustically, you probably have too much crap in there anyway.” He went on to explain most of their songs are written acoustically, even the heaviest ones.

As Chris Henderson continued to strum his acoustic guitar, Chet Roberts switched his instrument of choice often, and Justin Biltonen carried the solid bassline while working through hit after hit. Most of the songs to this point garnered great response and the audience was locked in. When they started playing “Loser”, that song took the energy level to the next notch. They continued on with “Let Me Be Myself” and “My World” getting through the better part of half the set.

In between most songs Brad would say a few words or more about how a particular song came about. One, in particular, was the song “Let Me Go”. As he explained, it was originally written for the Spiderman 2 Soundtrack but was withheld. That sure gives the lyrics “You love me but you don’t know who I am. I’m torn between this life I lead and where I stand” a little more clarity.

“Landing in London” continued the set with another great singalong. The energy was increased as Greg Upchurch moved from the Djembe to the full drum kit. This added another layer of dynamics as they cruised towards some of their biggest hits.

At one point a fan came out on stage with his girlfriend. With help from 3 Doors Down giving him the stage, this gentleman asked his girlfriend for her hand in marriage. It was nice to see the band help this couple start their journey together, and even gave them congratulatory hugs and handshakes.

Still, to this point, you felt like you were there hanging out with them as friends. You were seeing their true selves, listening to stories, feeling their emotions. I have witnessed this only a few times, and even those times it was fleeting.

Brad let the audience know this is all he has ever done. Since starting his first band at the age of sixteen, he has been on a musical journey over the last twenty years. Through the ups and downs of the rock n’ roll lifestyle, he decided he needed to continue his journey sober if he wanted to keep going. Now, two years sober, he sang the song “Pieces of Me” about the various struggles he has endured.

Not missing a beat, 3 Doors Down struck up “Kryptonite” to the delight of the crowd. So much energy was being shared between the band and audience as chants of “If I go crazy, then will you still call me Superman” filled the venue. Finishing off their set, they performed the most emotional song of the evening, “Here Without Me”. The crowd continued to sing along to the very end of this song, capping the incredible Acoustic Back Porch Jam.

As the band left the stage, their crew were working on clearing out the stools and center stage props. The crowd, still energized by what they had just witnessed, were cheering loudly. Obviously, the house lights were not coming up, and the crew was adjusting the microphones, making way for an encore.

3 Doors Down re-entered the stage with electric instruments in hand, cranking it up a bit. They finished the evening off with “This Time” and “When I’m Gone” as full-on electric songs. Almost a mere two-hours after starting, they had finished.

It was all one could expect from an acoustic concert, and then some. It does not hurt that they have some of their biggest hits as ammunition, but the personal touches and stories really brought the songs to life and kept that personal touch between band and audience. 3 Doors Down have always had that down-home feel, and they proved it tonight.

I left the venue fulfilled, positively charged, and inspired. I have a hunch most people left there with many of the same feelings. Concerts happen all the time, but experiences like this… well they happen only once in a while. It could just be me, and I think that shows how personal the show felt. For that I am truly grateful to 3 Doors Down.

3 Doors Down at the Hard Rock Rocksino. All Photos ©2018 Rockin' Al at theRustBeltChronicles.com

3 Doors DownWebsiteFacebook

Brad Arnold – Lead Vocals

Chet Roberts – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals

Chris Henderson – Rhythm Guitar

Justin Biltonen – Bass

Greg Upchurch – Drums


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Allen (Rockin' Al) Heimberger About Allen (Rockin' Al) Heimberger

Hey there! My name is Allen Heimberger hailing from Loudonville, Ohio (You know… Mohican Area). I have been employed as a graphic artist and designer for the past twenty-four years, and have worked with many National and Worldwide Fortune 500 companies creating mostly print design. I am involved in Design and Illustration on a regular basis.
From an early age music was a huge influence for me. As a kid, I just wanted to sit in front of the stereo listening to whatever record collection was in front of me. Queen, KISS, The Beatles were the earliest of influences. Playing my first DJ gig at the age of thirteen, in a biker bar owned by my father, started a hobby of DJ and Emcee work that is still here, thirty-four years later.
The love for Rock music, specifically Hard Rock, garnered me the nickname Rockin’ Al back in the mid-eighties. It took a while to accept, but I wouldn’t have it any other way today.
Music is on as much as possible in my life and I am excited to get out there and share some of my experiences with you! If you see me out and about, please make sure to say hello, there is always room for more cool people in my life!


  1. Angie Heimberger says:

    Loved the concert ! Thought it was intimate feeling and they had a great sound .

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