Review & Photography by Greg Hamil for MPM
One of the things I love about summer in the mid-west is when the outdoor venues open! This show brings me to the Credit Union 1 Amphitheater in Tinley Park, IL for 3 Doors Down and Candlebox. Seems fitting that a couple of 90s bands are playing in a venue that opened in 1990. The venue has a capacity of 28,000 with 11,000 seats and lawn seating for up to 17,000.
Candlebox formed in 1990 and enjoyed their biggest success from 1993 – 2000. Over their career they have released 8 albums, including the forthcoming ”The Long Goodbye”. The current lineup includes Kevin Martin on vocals, Adam Kury on bass guitar, Brian Quinn on lead guitar, Island Styles on rhythm guitar, and BJ Kerwin on drums.
With the upcoming release of “The Long Goodbye”, the Candlebox has also announced that after 30 years this will be the final album and the final tour. Martin has said that a few years down the road, he may try to do a few shows here and there, but no more three or month band tours.
In preparing for this show, I found out that because of it being the final tour for Candlebox, it would feature music from the band’s debut album “Candlebox” and one song from “The Long Goodbye”.
Tonight, Candlebox opens with the bluesy “Don’t You”. Immediately you can hear that Martin is in top form and is singing brilliantly. The crowd already with fists in the air, pumping them to the rhythm of the music. Quinn’s guitar solo mesmerizes everyone as you can see the emotion with which he plays. His eyes closed; you can clearly see he is not only playing the music but feeling it at the same time.
Martin welcomes the crowd and announces that this is the 30th anniversary tour and that they are going to play a bunch of stuff from their debut album. He also gives props to 3 Doors Down saying we are in for a great set from them. This leads us into the hit “Change”.
While Martin is singing the lyrics, you get the feeling that you are hearing a storyteller as well. This time around the lead guitar solo is performed by Island Styles, who has more of a hard rock vibe to his solo. Hair flying back and forth and fingers flying, he gets the crowd into the set!
After a couple more songs from the “Candlebox” album, Martin announces that the new album, “The Long Goodbye” will be released in August 2023 and says they want to play one from that album called “Punks”. You can instantly tell how their music has progressed over the years as the open riff clearly has a heavier beat and heavier rock vibe to it. Kerwin is having a blast on the drums for this one as he is grinning ear to ear for the entire song.
That is our one and only look at anything new from Candlebox. We head back to the debut album for “Arrow”. This song features Martin’s vocals which brings a roar of approval from the crowd. The headbanging and fist pumping is back as well to go along the rockin’ beat of the song. During the solo break, Martin introduces us to everyone in the band, then asks how many people have heard of Candlebox, which draws a load roar from the crow. Then he asks if has NOT heard of Candlebox? A few hands go up for this question, and he says, “That’s ok……welcome.” Then he proceeds to tell everyone there is thing called “the worldwide interweb” and you can look them up, which draws laughter from the die-hard fans.
Next, Martin tells a story about a man he knew who was a veteran and was going through many issues in his life. One day he just wasn’t there anymore, and Martin says he hopes the man found his safe place. And with that, they break into “He Calls Home”. A very emotional ballad that drew a few tears from some of the people in the crowd.
To close out the show, Candlebox performs three of their biggest hits back-to-back! “Cover Me”, “Far Behind”, and “You” which have people dancing in the aisles and trying to move just a little closer to the stage. As they close out the show, the crowd roars their appreciation for the trip back to the past and playing songs that hadn’t been performed live in many years!
Candlebox Setlist: Don’t You – Change – Blossom – No Sense – Punks – Arrow – He Calls Home – Mother’s Dream – Cover Me – Far Behind – You
3 Doors Down was formed in 1996 out of Escatawpa, Mississippi. They have mostly been described as a post-grunge, alternative rock band over the years. Today’s version of the band consists of original vocalist, Brad Arnold. Chris Henderson and Chet Roberts take up guitar duties. The rhythm section consists of Justin Biltonen on bass and Greg Upchurch on drums.
In March 2023, the band announced they would be hitting the road for the “Away From the Sun” tour. The tour: celebrating the album of the same name, will feature all the songs from the album, with a few additional hits sprinkled in. According to Brad Arnold, this is one of the band’s favorite albums because of how it resonated with the country’s service members.
As the lights go down over crowed, the stage lights come up to Henderson and Upchurch playing an almost bluesy rhythm. They are soon joined by Biltonen, and then quickly by Roberts. To this point, there was a light buzzing among the crowd, but as the spot lights hit the stage and Arnold appears out of the darkness, everyone comes to life.
The first song of the night is “Pop Song” from the “Away From the Sun “album. Arnold paces back and forth, engaging the crowd up front. The vocals are very strong and on point. During the solo breaks, he welcomes everyone to the show.
The band immediately breaks into “When I’m Gone” which draws a loud roar of approval from the crowd as this will be the first of many hits tonight. With fists pounding in the air, we get our first solo from Roberts as he comes to the front of the stage. He puts all of his energy and emotion into the solo which draws appreciation from the crowd.
The band continues with three more songs from the “Away From the Sun” album with “Away From the Sun”, “The Road I’m On”, and “Ticket to Heaven”. This brings us to their first song from 2005’s “Seventeen” album, “Let Me Go”. The groove to the songs gets everyone on their feet and swaying to the music. It also gets our first singalong as everyone joins in on the chorus. This draws a huge smile from Arnold as he shows his appreciation with a nod to the crowd.
As the show progresses with more music from the “Away From the Sun” album, we get to our biggest crowd reaction of the night. The lights fade to blue, as Henderson strums the open notes to “Here Without You”. Everyone is on their feet and as the initial roar fades, all cell phones are lit up and waving in the air. Arnold’s vocals are spot on with a few minor variations, but at the same time staying true to the song.
Let’s step ahead a couple of songs as Arnold tells us, “Let’s step ahead a few years”. Everyone jumps to their feet and begins dancing as the band breaks into “Not My Time” from the bands self-titled album from 2008. Everyone sings along and the band enjoys it longest sustained applause of the night as the song closes out.
Moving ahead in the set, Arnold tells the crowd that they want to step back in time one more time. As the lights fade to blue again, they begin playing “Loser” from the 2000 album “The Better Life”. A ballad with a powerful guitar riff and great harmonies through the chorus. At each chorus, the crowd comes to life and sings along.
To close out the show, Arnold says “There’s always that one song that everyone knows”. He turns to Upchurch and says “Yeah, let’s play that one”. Upchurch starts a cadence on the drums and is quickly joined by Henderson with the open riff of “Kryptonite”. With the crowd screaming throughout, we get a sing-a-long through the last chorus. The crowd screams with delight as the song comes to an end and Arnold thanks everyone for coming out and to have a safe trip home.
This was a great performance by two great bands from the 1990s. It is still early in the tour, so if they are coming to your area, there is no better way to spend an evening!
3 Doors Down Setlist: Pop Song – When I’m Gone – Away From The Sun – The Road I’m On – Ticket to Heaven – Let Me Go – Running Out of Days – Here Without You – I Feel You – It’s Not My Time – Be Like That – Duck and Run – Dangerous Game – Changes – Going Down in Flames – Loser – Sarah Yellin’ – Landing in London – Kryptonite