Chris Daughtry was an American Idol quarterfinalist from way back in the show’s fifth season. The show, being just a mere toddler at the time of Daughtry’s competition, is now a teenager and has spawned a few superstars. Aside from a few winners, notably Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, few of the winners have experienced stardom-level success from their victories on the show. Some of those who were in the final four have actually gone on to have larger commercial success in the music business. Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken and Daughtry himself are examples of that. Daughtry and his band came to the Fred Kavli Theater of the Thousand Oaks Civil Arts Plaza, on Friday September 7th, and they played for a name talent starved, Ventura county crowd.
The evening begins with a solitary performance from a singer/songwriter, who hails from Nashville by way of upstate New York. Sinclair comes on to the stage and begins by fiddling with a box to her right and singing a repetitive vocal. It’s a bit confusing until you realize she is using a looper to create a backing track. She then picks up a guitar and approaches the microphone at center stage. The guitar player and singer who performs under simply the name Sinclair launches into the first song of her 30 minute performance. She runs through a coffee house type set of original material, which focuses on personal battles and struggles, played mostly on electric guitar with heavy use of the looper to create the backdrop. Sinclair uses the occasion to share her new single Pop! Champagne with the audience. She also amuses the auditorium with a version of the Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas tune Smooth to which she forgot the first verse and joked about it. Sinclair has such a charm in connecting with the gallery, forgiveness is easily extended.
The main attraction for the evening begin their set with Just Found Heaven, which has a bit of a mellow beginning for an opener. They roll on with Feels Like Tonight, a rocking ballad with a catchy chorus. Next is Battleships, a song about two dreadnoughts passing in the night and firing salvos at each other when a relationship is at the point where fighting seems to be the only way to communicate. Midway through the performance, Daughtry proceeds to the front of the stage, with four white spots behind him, with just an acoustic guitar, he regales this fans with a morose rendition of Springsteen’s I’m On Fire. The musicians of Daughtry remain somewhat faceless and anonymous, as their is almost never any direct lighting on them. One would be hard pressed to pick any of them out of a lineup after seeing the show. Certainly, each of them is competent and professional at their respective instruments. The band consists of Elvio Fernandes on keyboards and backing vocals, Josh Steely on lead guitar and backing vocals, Josh Paul bass and backing vocals, Brian Craddock on guitar and backing vocals and Brandon Maclin on drums.
The back half of the production is full of crowd familiar anthems. Daughtry introduce Home as one he wrote 13 years ago, prior to going on “that TV show.” He relates “that playing the same song for 13 years gets really old, except that you guys make it special every night.” Daughtry himself expresses throughout the show, the voice that brought him to the brink of winning American Idol. His ability to sing love songs, country style ballads and good old fashioned rockers, all while bonding with his audience show why he fared well on the fan voted competition. Fernandes’ talents are on display in the beginning of White Flag, during a one-minute piano intro back lit by a white multi-beam light. The group brings the room up with the final two numbers, It’s Not Over and Over You, and ironically enough, it is over. Daughtry returns to the stage for a two song encore. The group satisfies the assemblage with Superman and September. It’s just about 10:15 pm when the show concludes, a bit early compared to some shows, but based on the age of the majority of attendees, it’s probably about the right time.
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