It’s thirty minutes until showtime at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in Englewood, NJ, this Tuesday, March 27, 2018 evening where the excitement is already building for tonight’s concert by rocker Chris Daughtry and his band!
Inside the beautiful Bergen PAC auditorium, we chat with Roz from North Arlington who has been a fan of Chris Daughtry ever since he appeared as a contestant on television’s American Idol in 2006.
“He is the best!” exclaims Roz, declaring, “I’m glad Chris lost on American Idol because that enabled him to make it big his own way.”
Revealing, “I’ve seen him five or six times,” Roz adds, “and I’ve met some of his band members, too, and they are so sweet! His songs relate to everything in my life.”
After noting, “My two all-time favorite music artists are Pitbull and Daughtry, and I already have Pitbull’s lyrics tattooed on my back,” Roz discloses, “but I’ll be getting a Daughtry tattoo, as well — I just haven’t decided what words to use yet.”
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Rachel from Saddle Brook is also a long-time Daughtry fan who remarks, “I saw Chris Daughtry for my 13th birthday — it was my first concert,” acknowledging she’s been a fan for so many years because, as she explains, “I just love his music.”
Nicole from Palisades Park, however, notes, “I think he’s extremely hot!” adding, “I’ve loved him since American Idol where he should have passed Katherine McPhee and won. He’s just incredible!”
Nicole — a singer, guitarist, and actress — tells us that while a student at William Patterson University, she worked as a DJ at the school’s radio station where she played a lot of music by Chris Daughtry, noting, “He was very popular.”
Lastly, Sebrina from Morristown comments, “I think Chris is cute, but I like his music, too,” before declaring, “I find him to be really inspirational.”
Opening tonight’s show is a performance by the talented young singer/songwriter, Sinclair. Originally from New York State by way of Nashville, Sinclair opens her set with an original pop confection — the incredibly catchy “Shy Love.” Accompanied by a duo on drums and keyboards — all three musicians wearing matching tie-dyed shirts — Sinclair’s soulful voice and clever songwriting quickly get the audience’s attention.
Following another catchy up-tempo number, “Pop! Champagne,” Sinclair tells the audience a little bit about herself. Revealing that she grew up in upstate New York, Sinclair says, “I’m the sixth of nine children,” joking, “I was never bored as a kid.” Explaining that her father is a pastor, Sinclair says, “I came out to my family when I was 20. It didn’t go well.”
“After nine months at home with my family, I was so depressed,” continues Sinclair, “but a friend told me, ‘You have no idea what your life will look like one year from today.’” And as it turns out, in less than a year, Sinclair moved to Nashville where she met her partner, Natalie.
At this point — her beautiful clear voice accompanied by her own guitar playing — Sinclair performs “This Too Shall Pass,” a lovely melody with a message of hope.
Moving on to “Barcelona,” Sinclair teaches the audience the number’s lyrics so they can sing along with her. Commanding the stage, the audience happily joins in as Sinclair rocks the house.
Unaccompanied vocals take center stage on “Sexy Sugar Sweet,” with Sinclair handling the lead, her keyboard player singing bass through a vocal processor, and her drummer beatboxing in rhythm. With their lively choreographed moves, Sinclair and her musical colleagues get the audience up and dancing as lights flash over the crowd.
Following huge applause, Sinclair takes a moment to personally thank Chris Daughtry for inviting her to open each show of his current 32-date tour. Then, she performs her final number — “Heaven on Earth” — a song about creating beauty.
Asking the sold-out crowd to take out their phones, Sinclair announces, “You all are going to be my stars,” as audience members sway back and forth with their phone lights glowing.
Winning over the crowd with her personality and talent, Sinclair thanks the audience before taking time to meet with folks in the BergenPAC lobby during intermission.
Here, we get a chance to chat with Sinclair who says, “Even though I’m from way upstate in New York — St. Lawrence County — I love working in New Jersey,” adding, “Tonight’s crowd was really great! We did Atlantic City and we’re looking forward to performing in New Jersey again in Morristown.”
When asked what it’s like to be out on the road with Chris Daughtry, Sinclair says, “It’s so good! I think a great artist sets the tone for the whole crew, and Chris has done that so well — we’ve felt so well-treated and respected by everyone from the lighting crew to the tour manager to his band mates.”
“And, of course,” adds Sinclair, “it helps that Chris is becoming, more and more, one of my favorite people to spend time with. So — with all that said — I LOVE touring with him and I would do it all over again, no question!”
Soon, the lights dim and the crowd inside the auditorium begins to scream. Spotlights gleam off the metallic stage set.
Opening with “Just Found Heaven,” from out of the darkness the audience hears a deep, resonant voice. Lights flash as the members of the Daughtry band — Josh Steely on guitar, Josh Paul on bass, Brian Craddock on guitar, Elvio Fernandes on keyboards, and Brandon Maclin on drums — take their places on the stage. Soon, the audience gets to see, center stage, the hooded figure behind that big voice — Chris Daughtry — illuminated by flashing cubes of light.
Although this is only Daughtry’s first song of the evening, the entire crowd is already on its feet, moving to the infectious beat!
Following huge applause, Chris announces, “Come on! Let’s get you dancing!” as he segues into “Feels Like Tonight.” With an ever-changing laser light show illuminating him and his band, members of the audience sing and dance along with Chris as he vocalizes, “And it feels like tonight/I can’t believe I’m broken inside,” on this well-crafted rocker.
The crowd cheers as Chris takes off his hoodie, exclaiming, “It’s good to be back in Jersey!”
After inquiring, “You all feelin’ good tonight?” keyboardist Elvio Fernandes plays the intro to “Battleships.” The rhythm section joins in just as a fan yells out, “I love this song!” Clearly at ease on the stage, Chris rocks out on this number singing, “‘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.”
Grabbing an electric guitar — which he begins to play low on his hip — Chris and the band perform a number from his album, Break the Spell — the power ballad, “Crawling Back to You.” As lights spin on the crowd, the music swirls around them, arranged and performed with precision, but perfectly balanced in this sonically superior listening space.
Following cheers and whistles, Chris takes a sip from a red Solo cup, exclaiming, “Cheers! It’s gonna be a fun night. I can feel it!”
Joking, “We have a lot of records now, and another ‘kid’ on the way,” Chris adds, “It’s been in the oven a long-a** time!”
Going back to the days when Daughtry opened for groups like Nickelback and Bon Jovi, Chris recalls, “We were writing songs on the road and we recorded about 50 to 65 tunes,” noting, “the ones you heard were the good ones!”
Here, Chris and the band launch into “Life After You,” a rock ballad featuring Chris on acoustic guitar. His powerful voice pleading, “All that I’m after is a life full of laughter/As long as I’m laughing with you,” Chris’s resonant lead vocals are supported by top-notch vocal harmonies from his bandmates.
Revealing, “Our new record will be out early summer — it’s the most mature record we’ve ever made,” Chris introduces a new song from the album which, he explains, is about “times in our lives when things aren’t so great — when you have to have some backbone.”
The drums opening with a hip-hop-influenced feel, the band performs Chris’s newest song, “Backbone,” an electrifying number which encourages listeners to “show a little backbone.”
Complete with explosions of red and purple lights accentuated by bright white flashes, the group’s background vocals cry out with Chris’s lead soaring above them. The crowd — still standing since the first number — cheers for this new song!
“You dig it! Yeah!” exclaims Chris, before joking, “I’m gonna catch my breath — I mean take a sip of water.”
“We’re gonna play something old for you now,” explains Chris. “I wrote this when I was 20 years old, and I’m super proud of this different version.”
Here, the group performs Chris’s classic tune, “Breakdown,” from their 2006 debut album, Daughtry. Chris’s falsetto is strong and clear as he sings, exposing his talent and soul in a stripped-down arrangement of the song.
In this version, vocal harmonies ring out as the band jams. Soon, however, Chris and his colleagues bound offstage leaving just a single guitar and drums…and then just a single guitar….and then just an empty stage.
Following excited applause, Chris returns with his acoustic guitar stating, “I want to perform this next song the way I wrote it.”
For the first time this evening, audience members take their seats as Chris performs a solo acoustic version of “Long Way.” His percussive rhythm guitar playing accompanying his soulful voice, Chris sings, “There’s no direction where I stand/Just dead end signs and wasted land/And its a long way down/To you.”
Keyboardist Elvio Fernandes plays the introduction to a cover version of U2's “With or Without You.” Soon, the band kicks in and the audience rises to its feet again to dance to the beat and sing along with Daughtry on this well-known classic.
After introducing the members of his band, Chris says, “Give some Englewood, NJ , love for our opening act, Sinclair!” before exclaiming, “I hope you guys are having as much fun as we are!”
The audience reacts with whistles and cheers as the musicians segue into “Baptized.” The twang of the slide guitar is punctuated by the backbeat played by Brandon Maclin on drums while Chris’s soulful vocal leads everyone down to the water.
Following a screaming Josh Steely electric guitar solo, Daughtry fans cheer on the extended musical interlude. The strum of the guitars builds as the band jams, blue lights flashing to the clear sound. By the end of the jam, several fans can be heard screaming, “We love you!”
Introducing another new song, Chris says, “If you feel compelled to dance, please do.” Dancing with his microphone stand, Chris’s vocal on “Back in Time” is urgent yet yearning, as the rest of his colleagues rock out and dance to the driving beat.
Announcing, “This never gets old — it’s so much fun,” Chris takes the audience “back to 2006 — a year which,” he confesses, “kind of flew by for me.”
An arpeggiated guitar part introduces the Daughtry classic, “It’s Not Over,” the audience happily singing along on this catchy number, “Let’s start over/I tried to do it right this time around/It’s not over.”
Following enthusiastic applause, Chris accepts a bouquet of flowers from a fan and places it on the stage before announcing, “Tell me something good, Englewood!”
Ostensibly referring to his appearances as a contestant on American Idol,Daughtry inquires, “You all remember when I was on that TV show?” before telling a humorous story about a different television program, revealing, “I have twins that are seven. My son says, ‘Daddy should go on America Ninja Warrior!’ and my daughter says, ‘No, he will fail!’”
The sold-out crowd cheers as Chris and the band perform their enormous hit, “Home.” His voice wistful, yet powerful — tender, yet earnest — Chris exclaims, “Sing with me, Jersey!” as the audience joins him on the famous chorus, crooning, “I’m going home/To the place where I belong/And where your love has always been enough for me.”
Soon, red lights flash, ultimately forming a star in the background. Throwing a guitar pick — and a T-shirt — into the crowd, the audience whistles and cheers for an encore!
Soaring vocals and a driving beat are featured on Daughtry’s first encore, “Waiting for Superman.” As Chris sings his heart out, white lights circle and members of the audience dance in the aisles.
“It’s been a good evening!” exclaims Chris, noting, “It feels like the weekend to me! Thank you for keeping this band alive — as long as you keep doing that, we’ll keep doing this!”
For his second encore, Chris’s voice rings out on the rock ballad, “September,” the audience singing along, “Of all the things I still remember/Summer’s never looked the same/The years go by and time just seems to fly/But the memories remain.” Picking his electric guitar, the crowd cheers — the song ending on a high note.
As purple drops of rain fall behind them, laser lights dance as Daughtry and company perform their third, and final, encore number — a moving cover version of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” A highlight of the show, Chris’s soulful voice is perfectly supported by his talented cadre of musicians. Following a wailing guitar solo, the audience cheers, all singing along to this popular number, “Purple rain, purple rain/Purple rain, purple rain.”
As happy audience members make their way out of the BergenPAC auditorium and into the lobby, we catch up with several music lovers in the crowd who react to tonight’s performance.
States June from Elizabeth, “Chris Daughtry is awesome, and I love the energy of his band — they are really tight!” before noting, “And I really like Sinclair, too. She’s got this truly authentic vibe and her music clearly resonates with me.”
June’s friend, Sharon from Nutley, agrees, adding, “Daughtry rocks — I loved every song. It’s amazing to me how just six musicians can create such a big rock sound.”
Tammy from Newton exclaims, “I thought Chris Daughtry was good on Idol, but he’s so much better live! He gives it 200% — you can tell he really appreciates his fans.”
Chip from New Brunswick remarks, “Daughtry’s music is powerful and the acoustics here at BergenPAC are excellent. For me, the sound and the great lighting all worked together to create one highly visual show.”
Lastly, we chat with Sharon — a long-term Daughtry fan from Livingston — who remarks, “Chris’s music keeps getting better and better. I loved the old tunes. I loved the new tunes. I loved everything!” before concluding, “All I can say is WOW!”
To learn more about Chris Daughtry, please go to daughtryofficial.com. For information on future performances at BergenPAC — including Pat Benetar and Neil Giraldo on April 12, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia on April 20, and Kansas and The Outlaws on April 26, — please click on bergenpac.org.Photos by Love Imagery
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