Chris Daughtry Gathers His “Dearly Beloved” For San Jose Concert
SAN JOSE – Rocker Chris Girl kept its promise of a sixth hard-rock album in Beloved, and that same energy translated to the stage at the San Jose Civic Theater on Thursday. The band relied heavily on material from their last release, playing almost the entire record in 85 minutes.
Dressed in a black beanie, thick black jacket and an all-white Gibson Explorer guitar, Daughtry and his four-member band took to the dark stage – other than a bright neon sign in the back that flashes the album title throughout the evening – for the dramatic opening verses of “Desperation.” The band then launched into the hard rocker “World On Fire” as the bearded frontman barked the opening verse through a megaphone and into the microphone.
Not only was Chris Daughtry in his element in the heavier sound, but the band also fired on all cylinders. Drummer Brandon Maclin pounded his kit while adding a rhythmic twist. Longtime guitarists Josh Steely and Brian Craddock laid down the riffs while Elvio Fernandes added powerful keyboards and backing vocals.
“As crazy as things are right now, I promise changes are coming,” Daughtry said before the band released the song of the same name. The vast rig of lights behind the stage matched the building momentum of the track until things soared into the anthemic chorus. Daughtry was in high spirits, engaging with the crowd throughout the night and often taking a moment to introduce the upcoming song.
After a rumbling drum solo, the band launched into the bluesy hard rock swagger of “Evil.” Most impressive of the performance was Daughtry’s strong voice. The frontman is known for having strong pipes, but it really seemed like the new material allowed him to push his vocals further than some of the more traditional Daughtry material.
Really, the only challenge facing all three bill acts was engaging San Jose Civic’s sometimes passive audience. While many in the large crowd clapped, sang and cheered, others needed to be coaxed out of their seats even during the heaviest bits. One of rock and roll’s deadly sins is sitting down during a show, but the band ultimately managed to somehow engage the audience.
Before leading the crowd in an acoustic rendition of “Home,” Chris Daughtry joked about the song’s massive success, saying it’s the “one song” self-proclaimed fans still claim to know and love.
“Sing along to this one, even if you don’t know the words,” Daughtry joked. “I’ve heard pretty much all the bad talk at this point.”
Lights dimmed and cell phones lit up the stage for the sing-along track. Before moving on to another solo acoustic performance, “Cry For Help,” Daughtry spoke about mental health during the pandemic.
“When people ask us how we are, we just say ‘fine’ because we don’t want to talk about bad things,” he said. “It’s good to talk about it.”
After the band covered their first big hit, “It’s Not Over,” the frontman took a moment to dedicate the song that followed.
“The song is for Ukrainians who are fighting for their lives,” he said.
The stage lighting changed to the deep blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag for the dramatic and brooding rocker “Heavy Is the Crown.” Although obviously written long before any crisis overseas, the relevance of the lyrics was unsettling, making for a powerful and poignant performance; one of the highlights of the evening.
“Never falter, never let ’em bleed you / I’ll still be standing when they try to bring down my castle,” Daughtry sang.
During “The Victim”, beams of light shot in all directions and enveloped the band. The band then wrapped up their main set with new track “Lioness” and hit “September.”
Back for an encore, Daughtry thanked the fans for coming out and supporting his band in a very Daughtry-esque way: “You could have gone to see Justin Bieber,” he deadpanned. “I don’t think he’s in town, but you could have.”
Daughtry strapped on the acoustic guitar again for an upbeat solo performance of “Waiting For Superman” before leading the crowd in a raspy chant on “Over You.”
Although rooted in melodic hard rock, Tremonti, which preceded the headliner, often delves into heavier influences like thrash and metal. Guitarist Mark Tremonti is one of the most talented rock musicians around and watching him navigate the fretboard was truly an experience. Even beyond that, Tremonti surrounded himself with a stellar three-member band who played punishing hard rock with near-orchestral precision.
The band’s eight-song set relied the most on the recent release walk in timebut also drawn from earlier documents.
Opening with “Thrown Further,” Tremonti ripped through the songs with thunderous cohesion. For a guy who said two decades ago he had no interest in becoming a singer, Mark Tremonti has become a really solid hard rock singer.
“We haven’t been here for over two years, so let’s go,” Tremonti said straight away.
The band played songs like “Let That Be Us” and “Marching In Time” before concluding with the light riffs of “Wish You Well”.
New York rocker Lyell opened the show by demonstrating a dynamic range of influences and a natural stage energy.
“It was a great day here,” Lyell said early in his set. “I come from Rochester. We don’t get many there.
Flanked by a particularly impressive drum and guitar duo, Lyell won over audiences with tracks like “Potions.” Lyell was very excited about the release of her new single, “Eraser”, which she performed live and said it would be available to download and stream later that evening.
Follow writer Mike DeWald on Twitter.com/mike_dewald. Follow Chloé Catajan on Instagram.com/riannachloe.