The guys in 3 Doors Down are no strangers to acoustic performances. They've done too many radio promos for that. The band — which has been a mainstay of contemporary rock radio since its debut album was released in 2000 — even put out an acoustic EP.
But before heading out on its latest tour, the band had done only one full-on acoustic set. It was at a show in Nashville and the reaction was so overwhelmingly positive they decided to take in on the road.
So the "Songs From the Basement" tour, which kicked off Friday in Reno, is an experiment. "We're just going to get up and play these songs," says Chris Henderson, guitarist for the Mississippi rock band, whose 2012 greatest-hits album scored a Top 5 single on the Billboard rock chart with "One Light."
When the band plays Wednesday night at the Visalia Fox Theatre, it will perform the hits (including 2000's "Kryptonite"), but also reach into the catalog for the fan favorites, the stuff that rarely has been heard live.
It requires a bit of memory, but the band isn't too concerned with getting everything just so, Henderson says.
"We're musicians — I don't think we need to polish it to the point where it's flawless."
That is part of the draw of this tour, for him. He doesn't have to worry about how he looks or how he walks across the stage. He can just sit on a stool and play the songs and focus on really connecting with the audience.
"You really get to live in the moment," he says.
It's a whole new experience for the audience as well. A limited number of seats are available right on the stage — on couches set up around the band. It's more than proximity — the audience is hearing the songs in a whole new way, Henderson says.
Most people know the songs from the album or radio. What comes out over the airwaves is often very different from the way the song initially was conceived, he says. People know "Kryptonite," which sold more than 2 million copies, but "that's not necessarily the way the song was written," Henderson says.
An acoustic show like this presents the songs in their rawest form, without any of the studio production, sound layering or overdubs. It is a special, exciting thing, Henderson says.
"People have never heard these songs in this form," he says. "And the only way to do it is to buy a ticket."
3 DoorsS Down, Visalia Fox Theatre, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 15. Tickets are $30-$60. Details: (559) 625-1369, www.foxvisalia.com
This reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, firstname.lastname@example.org or @joshuatehee on Twitter and Instagram. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com