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August 27, 2007

Daughtry; California State Fair; 8.22.07

Chris Daughtry has certainly proven himself to be the emerging superstar from season five of American Idol despite the fourth place finish. His album, Daughtry, recently hit the three-times platinum selling mark, and with each successful single, is showing no signs of slowing down. 

The thing about my feelings toward Chris is that...well, they've never been very good. I couldn't stand him on Idol and celebrated his elimination from the show. Oddly enough, though, I don't have much objection to seeing him live (masochist? Perhaps.) Since I had missed his club tour in the beginning of the year, when I noticed he was playing the concert series at the State Fair this summer, I decided to check it out.


The stage they set up for these concerts was a little crazy in terms of the seating arrangements. There were four sections in front of the stage, called the gold circle, that tickets were actually sold for at $60/ea. Well, I might be willing to see Daughtry live, but I am not paying $160 after fees for a pair of tickets to do so. The show was otherwise technically free with fair admission (a much nicer $10), but since I didn't get there in time to grab one of the limited general admission seats, I was left with hundreds -- maybe thousands -- of other people waaay in the back to mostly view the performance via big screen.

My friend had sent me Daughtry's album a while back and, while I figured I wouldn't care for it, I didn't want to not give it a chance. The first listen through didn't do anything for me and I felt it all kind of blended together. I don't think I ever listened to it after that, but when I found out I'd be going to this show, I put it on again because I wanted to familiarize myself with the songs. Really listening to the songs more closely, I can see why this was a very successful album. It's not necessarily my taste, but it fits right in with the mainstream rock of today and Chris has a great recording voice. (I won't lie, embarrassing as it is, his cover of "Wanted Dead or Alive" was my favorite track on the, *cough*, Idol season five cd.)

Anywho, to the show itself. Once Daughtry took the stage, "Crashed" kicked off the set, with Chris singing the first few lines through a megaphone. This song definitely one of the highlights of the album. I think one of the most successful aspects of it are the smooth transitions from verse to chorus. It has a natural build-up and the drums provide a nice bridge between the two. Chris' vocals cut over the music very well; this could probably be said for just about all the tracks, but it stands out on this one especially, both live and recorded.


One of my favorites to hear live was "Used To." That is one damn catchy song. It has a nice, melodious feel that blends with its rock roots. I believe it'd be a mistake to pass up on the opportunity of releasing this as a single. I'd be shocked if it wasn't an instant radio hit.

I will admit, I've always liked "It's Not Over." Grudgingly, mind you. (I don't know what it is about Idol and its alums, but those fan wars are no lie. My name-twin and winner of season five of Idol, Taylor Hicks, was actually my favorite and though I knew Daughtry would easily find much more commercial success, you still don't like to admit defeat to these things.) Anyway, whatever: it's a really good song. I was a little disappointed with the live performance, though. It wasn't necessarily bad, but Chris strained his voice a lot in parts and I didn't think it passed, or was even quite equal to, the quality of the recording.

I must say I was happy to see how much Chris has grown in confidence in his stage presence. Last time I saw him live, he was still a bit hesitant to really put himself out there, I think. He comes across as much more comfortable in his role on stage now -- I imagine due a lot to having his own band behind him -- and can finally cast aside the doubts of seeing him as a real "rock star."


"Over You," the band's third single from their album, came near the end of the performance. This song shows off both sides of Chris' vocals due to the softer beginning and breakdown, with the stronger chorus. It's easy to see why this is yet another hit for them.

The set ended, of course, with the ever-popular "Home." Earlier this year, I would have punched you if you even suggested I hear this song again, but it's been a while so thankfully I no longer have that natural reaction. Before beginning, Chris asked for the lights to be dropped and that the audience all take a photograph of him at the same time, on the count of three, to illuminate him via flash. It was a really cool effect. It wasn't entirely successful since this concert was held outside, but I can imagine how great it'd be inside an arena.

Overall, I left the concert feeling a bit more appreciation for Daughtry as a band -- the other guys don't get much mention because of Chris himself, but they all are talented musicians (their cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday" that I heard a few weeks back was actually very impressive) and perfectly complimentary to their star front-man. I still can't say I'm much of a fan of the music in general, and I doubt I ever will be just because of personal taste, but if you are into mainstream rock these boys can put on a show.

Full set list:
1. Crashed
2. What I Want
3. Used To
4. Gone
5. It's Not Over
6. Breakdown
7. What About Now
8. There and Back Again
9. Feels Like Tonight
10. Over You
11. Home

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wow sounds like fun! i love them!


Nice job as usual! Youre a good writer. :)


Great review. Daughtry puts on a great show, can't wait to see them again.


Another fantastic review. I like how you described the songs and posted the set list. It really helps the reader grasp and understand what the experience was like for you.

I'm not a big fan of commercial music but I think I'd enjoy seeing Daughtry. Its nice when something good can come out of a reality show. Which we know Ryan Star is part of that company. :)


I love the review! It's so nice to hear an unbiased write up of the show even if you aren't much of a fan. I love Daughtry personally and thank you for it.


I very much appreciated your candor. Though not a Daughtry Fan, you did recognize their talent and why they are now the most sought after band in the land. Chris Daughtry is the real deal. His vocals are amazing especially live.

Yes the fan wars are very real and the climate with Daughtry doing so well very hostile towards Chris and his fans, so it is refreshing to read your honest assessment.

Thank You


You did a great job on the review. I like the cd and thought about seeing them live and based on what you said will have to follow thru with it when they come around. I echo the thanks for being honest about you're feelings but still being able to report an unbiased view of the concert and their music. Touch of a good reporter!


another great job taylore =) sounds like a fun time!


Amazing job girlie! I know you're not a fan so it's great to see you're able to still give an unbiased opinion of the show despite that. I too love the touch of setlist and song details!


I ditto the above sentiment...nice to see an objective review of a band you don't necessarily listen to yourself. Great job!


great job, you are a very good writer.


haha Oh my god, Daughtry! How funny. You really did do a great job writing this up though. I don't like him but it sounds like they can put on a show.


i saw daughtry in san fran in february and it was great. they do put on a high energy and fun show. i'm glad that seeing them live changed your opinion on them a bit for the better! =)


I was a big fan of Chris on American Idol and am so glad at his success. It does suck about how other AI fans who didn't like him just brush him aside, because he is talented. I'm happy you saw that! Great job.


My wife and I are big Daughtry fans. You did a great job representing his show and music. Glad you had a good time!


Good job girlie!


This is a great review!


this was informative and funny. i really like how you write about concerts. not too editorialized but not strictly boring blah blah stuff.

i am a fan of daughtry and it's nice to see that even those that aren't can recognize his talent. wish there were more writers like you!


as much as i hate to admit i, i really love "home." i think you did a great job reporting this show. keep it up!

katie l.

You did a really good job on this review! As a big fan of Daughtry I appreciate reading an honest look at the show he puts on because so many journalists go into it with their opinions set in stone and just editorialize. Thanks.


I saw the All American Rejects at the fair and you are right about the wonky set up!! You still did a great job w/ this review...sounds like fun!


You know whats funny is for the longest time I never realized this guy was from American Idol b/c I've never watched it. Ha ha. Great review though!

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