Reader Sarah attended the Daughtry concert in Orlando FL last Tuesday. She emailed a re-cap, and here it is.
By the way, if you attend an Idol concert and would like to submit a recap with or without pictures, please email them to email@example.com. Thanks.
So, as most of you know, I’m a HUGE Daughtry fan. Loved Chris on the show, love the band, love the cd. So, when I found out that they were going to be playing the Hard Rock Live at Orlando ‘s Universal Studios, I was stoked. I found a friend to go with me, and bought tickets right when they went on sale. Big kudos to the season five’ers for coming to Orlando in concert (unlike some others *cough*CarrieUnderwoodandKellyClarkson*cough*)!!
Sarah-friend and I got to the studios at about 5:45 and decided to go ahead and check out what the situation was like at the Hard Rock. Our tickets said that the concert started at 8, but she’d heard 7 somewhere. So I figured that was when they’d be opening the doors. So, we get to the outside of the Hard Rock, and there are already about 300-400 people standing there waiting already. At 5:45. So, since we were hungry, Sarah-friend and I decided to go grab something quick to eat, then come back to get in line. We got back at around 6:30, and as we’re walking up, I hear some people calling out things, so I just glance up at the balcony that looks over the outside entrance to the concert hall. And what do I see but Josh Steely’s signature fedora. All of the guys had come out to the balcony to check out the crowd and wave and call down to us. Cool. Too bad I didn’t have my camera handy. So then, we got in line and security was already letting people inside, so by 6:45, we were inside. Getting there early gave us a great spot to stand. Since it was standing room only and the concert was sold out, Sarah-friend and I decided not to risk claustrophobia and stood next to the banisters in the back, right off the main floor and over to the left of the stage. It was a great spot. We could see everything happening on stage and were elevated above everyone standing on the main floor. And the banister gave us something good to lean on as the night wore on and our feet started aching. So yay us!
Okay, so onto the show. First, let me say that the concert was GREAT. If the purpose of their tour early in the year was to kind of let the band get comfortable playing together and really gel, then that purpose has been accomplished tenfold. These guys are TIGHT musically. Very professional, and hearing them live, I never would have guessed that they’ve only been playing together as a unit for a little over a year (even less than that, really, since Brian Craddock was added in early this year). They are all really great musicians – very, very impressive live. Chris’s voice was in top form, and all of the songs sounded better than they do on the cd. I definitely got my money’s worth!
However, it’s a good thing they put on a great show. Because here’s where my beef starts. Whoever thought it was a good idea to have not one, not two, but THREE opening bands and not advertise them? Should have to face some kind of consequences. Not cool, TPTB, not cool. It’s one thing to have opening bands and advertise them, so that people know they can come later, if they don’t want to hear anyone but the headlining act. It’s another thing entirely to have three opening acts, all doing a 6 or 7 song set each, and not advertise them at all. It’s the principle of the matter. As Sarah-friend pointed out, it’s like whoever is making these decisions, whether it’s management or the tour director or the band themselves, is taking advantage of the fans. Because, obviously, no one is going to leave the concert before the act they came to see, and paid to see, takes the stage. However, if the opening bands were advertised, no, there wouldn’t be a huge crowd there at the beginning and a long wait at the door, but people wouldn’t have to stand in 3 inch heel boots for 6 1/2 hours if they didn’t want (as you can tell, I’m still a bit upset. My feet still hurt. Heh.). And you’d still have a great crowd when the headliner takes the stage. Just keep in mind that this is coming from a huge fan, TPTB – and one who actually LIKES to discover new bands. Many of the other fans at the concert were very frustrated and annoyed that we had to wait 2 1/2 hours before Daughtry ever took the stage – so much so that the last band (who were really quite good) actually got booed. Add in the fact that it was an all ages crowd and a school night, and the fact that Daughtry didn’t even take the stage until 10:30 is just not. a. good. thing. And in all honesty, I don’t think that reflects well on the band, no matter who is making these decisions. It’s just not professional.
Now, off my rant. :) The opening bands themselves were actually pretty good. The second band (You Are I Am) kind of stuck out to me as a weird choice, because their sound is one that would have fit better opening for a Matchbox 20 or Maroon 5 or John Mayer concert. They were good, but just didn’t fit with the kind of music the crowd was wanting to hear. The first band, Dirty University, is semi-local so they got a good reception from the crowd. They’re from West Palm Beach , and I think they play clubs in Orlando sometimes. I can’t figure out where else I would have heard of them, and I recognized the name. Good sound, but the lead singer has a really annoying stage presence. I don’t know what it was, but Sarah-friend and I both agreed that he was getting on our nerves. The last band, Midway State, is from Toronto , and has a really cool sound. They’re driven by keyboards as well as guitars, with a very melodic sound. I really liked them, but since they were the last one, they didn’t get much love from the frustrated crowd. I felt bad for all of the bands, but especially them. I may have to friend them on myspace and tell them that I really liked their set.
So, 2 1/2 hours later, Daughtry finally takes the stage, to the relief and delight of the crowd. From the very first bars of “Crashed”, it was like the entire crowd knew that it was worth it. And it so was. They did every song on the album plus two covers, and a new song that Chris hopes will make it onto the next album. They rocked hard for about 6 songs, then broke the set up a little by dropping the curtain and setting up the front of the stage with two spotlights and a microphone. Chris then came onstage with a guitar and sang an acoustic version of “All These Lives”, which was great. Then he talked about coming back from touring overseas, and said he’d like to let us hear one of the new songs he wrote, at 6 am in a hotel in Amsterdam . I really liked it, but I don’t think he ever said the name of it. Then, he talked about the Beatles and getting to visit some historic places, and said that he’d be honored if we’d allow him to sing “Imagine”. This was also an acoustic version, and there was a backlight that shone on the drumset behind the curtain, where Joey had a keyboard set up next to his drums. He played keys while Chris sang, and it was great (I have a hunch that Joey had a hand in getting that song into their setlist, as he loves the Beatles, especially John Lennon.). Then, Joey did the keyboard intro to “What About Now” and the curtain came back up and the show was back in full force. The end of their regular set was “Over You” and Chris did this fun audience participation thing to see how loud we could sing. He said “I’m not going to sing every word of this song, because I want to see how loud YOU can get.” It was a lot of fun. And he poked a little fun at “It’s Not Over” when they sang it, too, saying “I hope you’re not tired of this one.”
They also did a cover of “Paradise City”. It was really funny to see the little girls next to me looking at me like I was crazy when I was singing along to every word of ” Paradise City”. I was thinking, “yeah, your parents were rocking out to this song before you were ever even a thought in their minds, kid.” LOL. When it first started, I knew it wasn’t one of their songs, but I recognized the guitar riffs at the beginning, so I leaned over to my friend and said “Is this Paradise City?” Then the drum beat started, and sure enough, it was. Loved it! They also tagged “I Walk the Line” into “What About Now”, which I never would have thought of, but it worked really well. And they tagged Motley Crue’s “Home Sweet Home” to the beginning of “Home”, which was really cool.
The best part of the night for me was when they came back out for the encore. Chris came to the microphone and said “So, who wants to hear Josh Steely sing a solo?!” and the crowd is like “woooo!!” So… they break into this REGGAE song! I recognized it, but I can’t remember the name… but then I don’t really listen to reggae much, lol. But, it was hilarious, and it was actually good! It totally caught me off guard, but I loved it. Then, they closed out with “Home” and “There and Back Again”.
They’ve really ramped up production/design on the set since I saw them in April, and it’s a really cool set. Lots of lights, a cool design on the sheer curtain I mentioned earlier. The music is harder live than on the album – particularly “Used To” and “Feels Like Tonight”, but they both still have the cool melodic guitar riffs. They really rocked the house last night. The concert was sponsored by O-ROC, Orlando’s big rock station. I don’t know what the capacity of the HRL is, but it was packed – and a very diverse crowd, too. There were younger couples there, older couples, parents with kids (both younger kids (9-12) and teenagers – I’ll so be that mom one day, dragging my kids to concerts with me, lol), and groups of women around my age and older. There were a lot of guys. I wasn’t really surprised by that per se, especially after my own brother finally broke down and bought the cd, but it was great to see it.
So yeah, they really put on a great show. I was very impressed by them and how great they sound together. The only thing that I’d like to see more of is interaction with the crowd. Chris is actually a pretty funny guy, and his little one-liners were cracking us up. Like when a girl yelled something out (we couldn’t hear her, so I don’t know what she said), and he deadpans “You know I’m married right, darlin?” Hee! And when talking about the new song, “If you like it, I want you to go crazy. If you don’t, I want complete silence.” Pause after someone yells something. “Oh come on, y’all haven’t even heard it yet. Don’t be that person who goes to a movie 18 times then comes out and spoils it for everyone.” Sarah-friend and I were DYING at that one, cause we totally got it. And then at the end “Who brought a camera? Show them to me. Okay, something really cool is going to happen on the count of 4, and I want you all to take a picture of it. Okay. 1, 2, 3, 4.” Nothing happens except a bunch of flashes going off (which actually looks pretty cool on stage). Chris laughs and says “That never gets old.” Sarah-friend and I cracked up at that one too. So, yeah… I’d definitely love to see him interact more with the crowd a bit, especially at the beginning, when it’s more just seamless transitions from one song to the next. Because he was interacting more with us starting with the acoustic set, and that stuff was just cracking me up.
So obviously, if you don’t like Chris or his music, I wouldn’t recommend the concert to you. But for those who like the cd or liked Chris on the show? Definitely. It is definitely a high energy, loud show, and it’s just plain family-friendly. Plus the guys are just fantastic. I really think that if they keep growing as musicians and putting out good albums, they’re going to be around for a while. And possibly, eventually even playing arenas. I can only hope! I know I’d be there in a heartbeat. :)