Daughtry Proves He’s an American Idol After All at Red Rock

By Heather Vale

Photos by Roger Bennett and Heather Vale

Welcoming in August by being sandwiched between the Plain White T’s and the Goo Goo Dolls in a concert at Red Rock’s Sandbar, Chris Daughtry proved that he is an American Idol even if he didn’t win the reality show’s title when he competed in 2006. Hey, I guess finalist isn’t bad… but Daughtry is probably one of the hardest-working and most passionate performers in the industry and many would argue that he deserved better.

In his audition for that TV show, he was told by the judges that he had shown no emotion whatsoever. That’s no longer a reality for Chris Daughtry.

Fronting his band Daughtry for the past eight years, the energetic North Carolina native certainly doesn’t hold back on emoting. He now has four studio albums under his belt and a solid string of popular songs. He also shows versatility as a musician by sometimes picking up a guitar, sometimes banging a tambourine and sometimes just singing, with or without using the mic stand as a prop.

The band’s regular lineup is rounded out by guitarists Josh Steely and Brian Craddock and bassist Josh Paul.

Backed by gigantic high-tech LED video screens, they started their 60-minute set with crowd-pleasing hits like the Lifehouse-esque “Feels Like Tonight” and angst-filled “Over You,” which Chris had the audience help him sing in traditional call-and-response style.

Within a few minutes he was also belting out his first-ever chart topper “It’s Not Over” with intensity. What a great way to hook an audience – give them everything they expect right off the bat, and put your all into delivering it.

He slowed things down for another of his early hits, “What About Now,” which has elements of Heart in the opening strains. Daughtry has mastered the art of sounding a bit like a variety other artists, while keeping his own distinct style intact.

Then he pulled out some new material, like “Wild Heart” – which he dedicated to his “bad ass” wife – and Battleships. Introducing the latter, he said he wanted everyone to go home singing the chorus “Boom, ba-boom, boom, ba-boom, boom, boom, Boom, ba-boom, boom, ba-boom.” Okay, perhaps those aren’t his most inspired lyrics. But the rest of the song is full of metaphors that work extremely well to describe a relationship in peril:

“Cause I don’t wanna fight no more,
Even when the waves get rough.
I don’t wanna see the day we say we’ve had enough.

And I don’t wanna fight this war,
Bullets coming off our lips.
But we stick to our guns and we love like battleships.
Like battleships.”

Talking about the song on his website, Chris Daughtry lightheartedly says, “It’s not a breakup song — which we’ve been the ambassadors for over the past six years.” Rather, he explains, “It’s about butting heads with the one you love. You don’t want to fight, but it happens. You’re both going to stand your ground, but you’re really fighting for each other.”

Daughtry dedicated his song “Home” to the military, and while it hasn’t received the level of international acclaim as a song with the same name by Phillip Phillips, who won American Idol seven seasons after Daughtry competed, it was very much appreciated by the audience. Most members of the crowd sang along as they swayed in their seats and various locales around Sandbar’s pools. Next up, the ballad “September” was equally well received.

Daughtry’s set ended not with a whimper but a bang. He treated the finale “like a party” with the fun ditty “Long Live Rock & Roll.” But the truth is, the party vibe never ended during the whole hour he was on stage.

It’s interesting to note that Daughtry is the newest of the bands on the bill, but to me they actually sound a lot like a ‘90s rock group. When you think about it, that’s just one more mark of versatility – Daughtry can just as easily be on the lineup with modern-day alternative rock acts as they can with the popular resurgence of retro rock tours. Either way, Chris Daughtry is sure to continue gathering more and more fans along the way as he proves that he’s not going anywhere fast.

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One Response to Daughtry Proves He’s an American Idol After All at Red Rock

  1. You left out mentioning a VERY important and loved new member of the band. Elvio Fernandes who plays keyboards, guitar and sings back up. I disagree that Daughtry sounds like other artists. I don’t not even think of any other band when I listen to their music. Particularly because Chris has THE best voice in rock today!!!

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