3 Doors Down

Away from the Sun Anniversary Tour 2023 

Special Guest: Candlebox

The Long Goodbye Tour 2023 

Pacific Amphitheater – Costa Mesa, CA

Saturday, July 15th, 2023

Review and Pictures: Diane Lynn

It was a beautiful summer evening at the OC County Fair’s Pacific Amphitheater!   

Outdoors under the stars and listening to some great live music isn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday night. The guys from 3 Doors Down and Candlebox made a stop at the Costa Mesa, Ca venue to entertain their So Cal fans and wow, what a fun show!  

Opening the night’s festivities were special guests, Candlebox. A band I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing live until now. Boy, have I missed out because Candlebox were awesome!  

Candlebox are on The Long Goodbye Tour, after 30 years the band has recently announced that this will be their very last tour. This tour is also supporting their final studio album, of course titled “The Long Goodbye”, which comes out August 25th of this year. 

Before the sun had set Candlebox took to the stage to wow the already filled amphitheater with their talents. Kevin Martin is a captivating frontman. He has fun on stage, and after so many years of touring, that’s a rarity to see. He keeps the banter in between songs light and fresh and his vocals are still so amazing!  
I have to admit, there were several songs I knew, but some I didn’t realize were Candlebox songs AND this show turned me onto several tunes that I hadn’t heard before that I really liked.  Looks like I now have a few more Candlebox songs to add to the playlist. This show was almost like discovering a new band, for me. They are a really great live band!  


They started us off with a song off their self-titled debut album, which was released 30 years ago, almost to the day, called “Change. Of course, they covered all of their hits, staying mostly with the songs from their first album. During the show Kevin would occasionally grab a few drumsticks from Drummer BJ Kerwin’s kit, sign them with a sharpie and toss them out to the excited crowd.  

With not a whole lot of room to move around on stage the band made the most of it with Lead Guitarist, Brian Quinn heating things up stage left, especially during his electrifying solos. Rhythm Guitarist, Island Styles would never go unnoticed as he worked his magic over on stage right. Bassist, Adam Kury was working those bass strings as he stayed mostly center stage. Kevin Martin was here, there and everywhere. He made sure all sections of the venue were acknowledged and enjoying the show, which they definitely were and then some. I loved the live version they did of the song “Cover Me”.  The band really gave this song an incredible new life for me.   


Just before the start of “Far Behind, Kevin told the fans that he wanted to dedicate this song to a few of his good friends that were no longer with us, then called out the names, Chris, Kurt, Layne, Mark, Andy and Scott. Using only the first names but we all knew who he was acknowledging. Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, Layne Staley, Mark Lanegan, Andrew Wood and honorary Seattleite- Scott Weiland. 

3 Doors Down is celebrating the 20th Anniversary of their ever popular Away From The Sun album. This album produced several mega hits, continuing the bands soaring popularity even more with this killer follow up to their debut, the 7x Platinum, A Better Life. 

The show started off with, as Brad Arnold jokingly said, “a song that nobody’s heard of” called “Pop Song“, which I believe was a bonus track off of the Japanese release of the Away from the Sun album. The plan for the night was to play AFTS in its entirety and throw in a few extras here and there. 

Next up on the set list was the mega popular “When I’m Gone, a song that at the time it was released quickly became “the military song” among my enlisted friends and family and it’s still recognized as such today. The crowd was mostly standing throughout the show, singing along, raising their hands and dancing. Brad got great responses from the fans he pointed out to acknowledge them as they were dancing or waving at him.   

The stage was simply set with the drums sitting high on a riser center stage. As a photographer I was bummed to see the kit as Greg Upchurch was surrounded by a drum shield. I would have loved to have snapped a nice clear shot of Greg and his kit, but I suppose his power hits are just too loud.  

While Brad Arnold covered the length of stage as he sang. He was looking great and sounding great. I almost didn’t recognize him with his long hair, but it suits him.  

The two Guitarists, Chris Henderson and Chet Roberts covered the left and right of the stage, occasionally crossing over to jam together. Bassist Justin Biltonen moved around, mostly working the center of the stage while rocking out with the crowd, they all seemed to really be enjoying another night in the spotlights.

Brad took a moment in between songs to thank the fans for coming out, which he did several times throughout the show. He seems to be the humblest of “rockstars” I’ve come across in a while. His southern accent and his strong faith were present as he spoke to the crowd. His love of the US was present as well with the display of the American Flag that stood on stage to his right.  

The hits kept on coming throughout the night, “The Road I’m On”, “Here Without You”…  It’s live shows like this that leave a lasting memory, great songs you can sing to while you’re having fun with friends and fellow fans as the band is also having a good time up on stage. 

Once the album was covered entirely, the 3DD said good night and left the stage. The fans weren’t budging and out came the band again to perform the final two songs starting with “Landing in London.” An emotional and heartfelt song about the hardships that come with being a touring musician and the sacrifices made by their families. But before they left the stage, Brad turned to the crowd and said, “so I guess before we run off, we gotta play that one song” and the crowd erupted! “Kryptonite!”  

Thank YOU 3 Doors Down for a memorable show!   

3 Doors Down at Orange County Fair 2023 Setlist

It was a full night of amazing live music with memorable performances by both bands. I’m sad that Candlebox won’t be coming around again but I’m definitely looking forward to catching the next go around for 3 Doors Down 


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