Monday, May 31, 2010

Daughtry and Lifehouse in Nashville

One of my presents to Althea this year for Valentine's Day was a pair of tickets for us to see Chris Daughtry and Lifehouse live in concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. Before the concert, I took Althea to dinner at Toyama (our favorite Japanese hibachi restaurant), and dinner was just as good there as it is every other time we eat there. The concert was earlier tonight, and here is my review.

The opening band (whose name escapes me) was a rock-ish sort of band, and as opening acts go, they weren't that bad. Still, the fact that I can't remember their name can't be a good thing. Lifehouse was up next, and they were fabulous as always. They are perhaps my favorite overall band of all time, and Althea likes them too, one of the few musical acts for which we both share an affinity. They played about 8 songs, including their biggest hits ("First Time", "Whatever it Takes", Hanging by a Moment"). I really hope (and have heard) that Lifehouse will be headlining a tour later this year and that they will come to Nashville. For reasons I don't know or understand, Lifehouse hasn't played Nashville as a headliner in quite some time (if ever). I saw them play in Knoxville a couple of years ago and earlier tonight as an opening act, but that's pretty much it.

Chris Daughtry was the main act of the evening, and his overall performance was pretty good. The only real issue I had with his performance is that Chris has a bad habit of taking his mouth too far away from the microphone on big notes. My guess is that this tendency is an unfortunate side effect from his American Idol days. On the show, if he kept his mouth close to the microphone, it would sound too much like a scream and sometimes the microphone would screech out feedback on the big notes. That's too bad because he's one of the few rock artists who can actually sing well enough to hit the loud notes with the correct pitch in the proper key.

Since Daughtry hasn't been a big hit or a headliner for very long, he pretty much had to play all his hit songs. I am sure that if I were a bigger fan and/or had listened to each CD of his in its entirety, I would have been more into the show all night. Even so, my favorite song of his ("No Surprise") was a big hit with the crowd, and I enjoyed it immensely right along with them. Perhaps just as (or even more) noteworthy as the performance quality of Chris's songs was the quality of Chris's special guests and cover songs. Chris did a better than serviceable, mostly acoustic rendition of "In the Air Tonight", by Phil Collins, and the accompanying light show was neat to watch. He also performed a cover of "Whipping Post" (originally by The Allman Brothers) as a duet with Brad, the lead singer from Three Doors Down. Although the song itself isn't something I was inspired to run out and buy or listen to, Brad stole the show with his performance of his part of the song. Listening to the relatively vapid and shallow lyrics of the recent work of Three Doors Down, I hadn't really heard anything to indicate any real vocal skill on the part of their lead single. However, Brad's performance of "Whipping Post" was outstanding, showing excellent range, great passion, and good stage presence...I was pleasantly surprised.

For me though, the biggest hit of the show was Chris Daughtry's band-less, acoustic duet with Kelly Clarkson. Both Kelly and Chris said that "Fast Car", by Tracy Chapman, was and is one of their favorite songs of all time. I like the song it very much too, and I was initially concerned that they would mangle it. Fortunately, my concern was misplaced, as both Chris and Kelly turned in stellar performances. Chris played the acoustic guitar and sang his part well, and Kelly sang even better than him. Kelly Clarkson seems like a genuinely real and good person in real life, which makes her success easy to root for. That said, I believe she is at her best when she does slower songs and power ballads. She has the vocal chops for the faster, more pop-heavy songs, but for whatever reason, the emotion doesn't really come through her in those kind of songs, so they come over as somewhat forced and unenjoyable (for her and, in turn, for her fans). Her portion of this performance was striking in its quality, and the feeling with which she sang bordered on hauntingly believable, as if she had experienced the story of the song herself...really a good showing for Kelly.

On the whole, this was an enjoyable show worth the price of admission, and I'm glad I went, but I don't think I would go to see another Daughtry-headlined show again.