Words & Photos By Beth Rutschman

All aboard the Rock & Roll Express! Amercian rockers 3 Doors Down and Collective Soul boarded together for a co-headlining tour across the US this summer! Making a stop in Riverside Iowa on Saturday night at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. The venue is a seasonal outdoor concert venue that can currently house 4000 concert revelers. The Rock & Roll Express Tour is the last of the summer shows booked for the season at the resort.

First to hit the stage were 90s rockers Collective Soul! The band has been in existence for 25 years. Having gained popularity in the 1990s with hits like “Shine“, “The World I Know“, “Smashing Young Man“, “December“, and “Precious Declaration“, “Heavy“, “Gel“, and “Where The River Flows“! The band has 9 studio albums under their belt and released a live album titled “Collective Soul Live!” Collective Soul released a new album in 2018. Titled “See What You Started By Continuing“. The band has released 3 songs to date, from the album! During their performance at Riverside tonight, the band gave us a taste of some of their new music and it was well received by the crowd!

Collective Soul frontman, Ed Roland gave it his all on stage. Powerful vocals matched his acoustic guitar skills. He even played the keyboards during “Shine“. Nolan moved around the stage, banging his head, kicking up his feet, and flashing the peace symbol several times during his performance. He would come to the front of the stage often. Before some songs he would talk to the audience about how “we can get better as a society”. During Where The River Flows, Nolan pointed his fingers at guitarist, Jesse Triplett and tickled his head. Showing the playful side of Collective Soul. Band mates, Dean Roland, Will Turpin, Johnny Rabb, and Jesse Triplett all gave a solid performance! Bassist Will Turpin even jumped in midair from the drumset in true rock and roll fashion! And drummer, Johnny Rabb gave an impressive solo during Shine.

Nolan mentioned that (paraphrasing) ‘sometimes you write songs for mass appeal, sometimes you write for therapeutic reasons’ and stated, ‘lets go to church’ and the band went into Lay Down. Nolan also told the crowd that, “to be honest, you all are the nicest people! We want to make you honorary southerners”! Which made the crowd errupt in applause. He even thanked Iowa people for giving them life! He introduced and thanked his band and told the crowd that “we’ll see you next year on our 25th anniversary on our double record, we’re not afraid!”

The band played very well together. Jamming out tunes with a brotherly comradery. The last song of the night was Run. The screen behind the band was showing a white horse running and images of a woman running toward the sunset. Which gave you a peaceful, good vibe. Band members came to the edge of the stage to throw out guitar picks, and wave as if to say goodbye to the crowd. They finished the song together with just Nolan’s acoustic guitar, huddled together in a dark corner in the back of the stage.

Next up were Grammy Award nominated, mutiplatinum, good ‘ol Mississippi rockers, 3 Doors Down! The band also formed back in the 90s. 1996 to be exact. Which made for a great pairing with their brothers in Collective Soul! Throughout their tenure as a band, they’ve released 6 studio albums. They’ve had such rock hits as; “Kryptonite“, “Loser“, “Be Like That“, “When I’m Gone“, “The Road I’m On“, “Here Without You“, “Let Me Go“, “Behind Those Eyes“, “Citizen/Soldier“, “Train“, and “Time Of My Life“.

3 Doors Down band members include; vocalist Brad Arnold, lead guitarist Chris Henderson, drummer Greg Upchurch, Chet Roberts on guitar, and Justin Biltonen on bass. Currently signed to Republic/Universal Records, they’ve released Us And The Night (their last studio album thus far) in 2016.

The band is dedicated to helping those in need. In 2003 they founded The Better Life Foundation (TBLF). Which supports many US charities. The band supports the US and it’s troops and it was ever apparent during their performance in Riverside last night. An US flag flew on side stage, along with images of the flag, and fighter jets at various times during their set on the big screen toward the back of the stage. Vocalist, Brad Arnold thanked the military and their families many times during is time on the stage. Stating, “God bless our citizen soldiers, thank you my friends!” He also went on to mention to the crowd that (paraphrasing), “you’ll see a lot of things out there saying that America is divided. America is America! We are not divided! We are the greatest country in the world!” He then asked if there were any Charlie Daniels fans here tonight? The band went on to cover The Charlie Daniel’s Band’s song, In America. 3 Doors Down put their own rock and roll twist on the song to make it rockin’ and head banging worthy.

3 Doors Down shredded through all of their chart topping songs throughout their set. Arnold stated that “it’s hard to believe that these next two songs 18 years ago! Honest to God we’re having more fun now! It’s amazing what sobriety will do. We’re gonna go old school!” They played the first guitar chords of the song, and the crowd started yelling Loser! Which indeed was the next song that they performed! By this time the crowd was well into the show and having a great time listening and seeing their favorite band! “Kryptonite” was the other song played that was released an amazingly 18 years ago. Which included a blast of stage fog! To which is hard to believe. It seems unfathomable for it to be true. But, here we are. Over a decade later and people are still getting into the songs! 3 Doors Down are well on there way to becoming legends with mass appeal, still going strong!

When the band performed what was thought to be their last song of the night, the lights went out and they walked off stage. The crowd wasn’t having any of it! They began chanting “oncore! oncore!” Followed by, “USA! USA!” And continued to cheer and chant until the band reappered on the stage. They performed two oncore songs! The melodic, heartfelt songs, “Here Without You”, and “When I’m Gone“.

The band waved, thanked, and said goodbye to the crowd! With the onset of heavy stage fog due to the grand finale, guitarist Chet Roberts pretended to swim through the fog across the stage. Guitarist Chris Henderson had a broken guitar string. The band threw out handfuls of guitar picks to the crowd and included a few drum sticks as well. The crowd went into a frenzy, making a mad dive to catch the prized gifts from the band!

The Rock & Roll Express Tour will be touring across America until their last stop in Cherokee, North Carolina on October 27th!