Another 700 Miles is a holdover EP recorded at Chicago's Congress Theater during 3 Doors Down's summer 2003 tour. It features the band's three hit singles, a new song called "It's Not Me" (presumably to appear on their eventual follow-up to Away from the Sun), and a spirited cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "That Smell." The crowd is quite engaged throughout, cheering wildly during each break and reacting with raucous enthusiasm to frontman Brad Arnold's easygoing stage chatter. The EP makes a point of including Arnold's setup for "When I'm Gone." Sun's first single, it gained momentum in spring 2003, when lyrics like "Hold me when I'm here" and "Love me when I'm gone" helped make the bluesy rock number a sort of anthem for the blue-collar soldier. On Another 700 Miles, Arnold takes a moment to explain 3DD's position on the hostilities -- they're pro-soldier, not pro-war -- but it doesn't take much convincing, as he's soon cut off by rowdy chants of "USA! USA!" This passage is interesting, as it marks 700 Miles with an indelible timestamp, and records the grassroots reaction to and acceptance of "When I'm Gone" for posterity. All of this nationalism makes the subsequent by-the-numbers pound of the breakthrough hit "Kryptonite" fall a little flat, but that's only in a critical sense, as the Congress crowd sings along enthusiastically. It's unclear where the strings that fill in the ballad "Here Without You" come from; it's unlikely the band dragged a string quartet with them over those many miles. But barring this nod to accessibility, 3 Doors Down proves to be a quite capable live act. They even rip through a spot-on cover of Skynyrd's "That Smell," a move that solidifies their stance as Southern rockers for the 21st century, and not simply another Creed rip-off.
Johnny Loftus, Rovi