Last night my fiancee and I finally got to see Daughtry perform live, up close and personal. At least that’s how we felt at the Nokia Theater down in Times Square. The trip down wasn’t too bad, we took NJ Transit trains to get into the city which took about an hour. Besides a little confusion as to what trains went where, as well as our printed schedules not adding up to reality… We made it.
Everything about the place was top notch. First, going in, there was no chaos. Sure there were a few assholes who felt the need to cut in line – c’est la vie. The line had already looped around 44th and Broadway, but each line in itself was an orderly queue. Event handlers did a pristine job of funneling the crowd inside. Once inside? Plenty of bars – $6 for a mix drink is fine by me at such an event. They also had decent food which cost about the same as I’d get at a local deli… $8 for a ‘gourmet’ sandwich (aka a little meat, a lot of bread, but plenty of flavor).
Now as for getting into the stage area, there literally is no bad location in the place to watch the show. We sat 1 row from the back in comfortable stadium style seating and still had a clear view of the performers. Even standing on the floor, there was plenty of breathing room. I just hope that nobody at Nokia gets greedy – for the first time I can recall I saw a major act at a small venue and did not feel like a sardine. The acoustics in the place were the best I’ve ever experienced. From what I could tell the walls were covered in sound deadening material, as a result the music was LOUD but not distorted. I left the place able to hear clearly, and even today I don’t feel like I went to a 3 hour concert last night.
Now the opening acts? Made me wish I took a later train and arrived just in time to see Daughtry. Don’t get me wrong, there was some pretty good talent there – but… Death of Fire opened, the music was great but the singer seemed to be overextending himself. When he sang like normal, he did ok – when he broke into this raspy howl it was just painful to watch and hear. By the end of the 2nd song his voice was already shot. Daughtry came out on stage during their performance to throw an assist during the 3rd or 4th track which seemed to reinvigorate things on stage. The next act though… that one threw us all off.
“The Middle States” I think they were called. I’m not sure who booked them on this tour, but within 15 seconds of their first song every single person in the venue had the same look on their face… Something like “Daddy just slapped Mommy at the restaurant… and we don’t know what to do.” Again, the music was pretty tight – albeit far too laid back and the vocals just screamed “I’m not emo enough to be emo, someone please kill me.” One song after another seemed to send out waves of depression – The Middle States were like a stiff cocktail of Prozac and Valium. The kid could play the piano, but honestly the band had no place in the night’s performance. Death of Fire – Hard Rock. Daughtry – Hard Rock. Middle States – justification for the PMRC to reunite and save us from the grasp of crappy Emo.
As for Daughtry – holy crap folks. The guy just has stage presence and a seemingly unending talent. He ran through the catalogue of his first album along with some Alice in Chains, Johnny Cash, Ozzy Osbourne (the reggae version of Crazy Train sung by his guitarist was hysterical) as well as some new material. Crowd participation was at a peak all night, every time the microphone was aimed at the crowd, Chris got to hear his songs sung back to him by throngs of adoring fans. The show didn’t really slow down for a moment, and each component of the band performed better than I’d ever seen at a live show. The focus of course was on Chris for most of the night, he fills the seats – but the whole ensemble keeps them there.
Outstanding performance, outstanding venue, I’d highly recommend it to anyone. Speaking of which – Queensryche is playing there in February, anyone interested? 🙂