LIVE: Daughtry Acoustic Trio, Troy Savings Bank Music Hall 10/16/19

American Idol alumni Chris Daughtry, flanked on either side by Elvio Fernandes (Piano) and Brian Craddock (Guitar), put his heart and soul into over an hour of some of Daughtry’s biggest hits in their purest form Wednesday night at Troy Music Hall.

After years of trying to get myself in a seat at one of their concerts, this was my first time seeing the group. However known for their rock music they may be, I think that this was the perfect way to experience them for the first time. The rock concert pyrotechnics were swapped out for a bare and stripped-down stage. The prancing of musicians was reduced to a trio of stools, their microphones, and their bodies, leaving us with an intimate and relaxed giant coffee house vibe. Between Chris’ naturally emotive powerhouse vocals and the acoustics of the music hall, there wasn’t a space in the hall that wasn’t reverberating with the raw quality of the music he was singing.

While there was a setlist in place, it was as if there was a conversation taking place between the musicians and the audience. Chris would tell anecdotes about his songwriting, ones that seemed dissimilar from those you usually hear told to large crowds at rock shows. He would jest about which album was “the good album” (which is his first—his words, not mine!) and joke about all the names he’d drop. In a break between songs, Fernandes began to play the theme from Cheers! and the audience was privileged to hear a Chris Daughtry version of “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”

As more evidence to the conversational nature of the show, there was even a song that had been requested by an audience member (a song called “4 a.m.” that I can’t say I’ve ever heard) during the earlier meet & greet. Chris explained as much, and then offered up as much of that song as he could muster (read: remember). He gave up after only about a verse but the audience member had been absolutely delighted. Much to my amusement, probably five songs later he exclaims in a contextless interjection, “I remember the next verse!” and then proceeded to play us the remembered music leaving his bandmates on either side somewhat perplexed. And even in the few call-and-response moments, the instructions felt more casual and natural than I’ve experienced at rock shows prior.

My one big criticism is that of his song choices. By that I mean it seems he opted to play the songs that the audience wanted to hear, and not ones that would have worked better in an acoustic setting. This may seem a tad ridiculous because that’s what a concert is, a musician playing music for the fans that the fans want to hear. But if you’re going to play an acoustic show, that’s what your repertoire should be geared towards. Personally, songs like “Crashed,” “Gone,” and “Call Your Name,” which are either more acoustic in nature or have been performed acoustically on various music platforms, would have fared far better in the acoustic diamond mine of Troy Music Hall. “Waiting for Superman” and “Backbone,” for example, albeit excellent in their acoustic forms as performed, are much harder in their studio versions and hearing them stripped down left me feeling a tad…un-satiated. After all, if I wanted to hear familiar rock songs in a rock setting, then I’d be at one of the rock shows.

That being said, maybe I’m just spoiled since my criticisms of the performance come from my knowledge of their music. A new fan might listen and be just as floored at Chris Daughtry’s voice, none the wiser to the more acoustic content found on their albums.

The Daughtry Acoustic Trio was preceded by Augustana frontman Dan Layus, who solo performed some hits from Augustana and his solo albums including the 2005 hit “Boston.”

Setlist: Just Found Heaven, Feels Like Tonight, Backbone, Breakdown, Life After You, Drive (Cover of The Cars), As You Are, 4am, Home, No Surprise, Where Everybody Knows Your Name (Cheers! Theme), It’s Not Over, White Flag, Over You, Waiting for Superman, September

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