Chris Daughtry is performing a concert to benefit Tempe’s Marquee Theatre on a virtual tour streamed live from Nashville as the concert industry remains closed due to COVID-19.
“It certainly started out of boredom and us itching to be back out on the road,” Daughtry says of the inspiration for the Live From Home tour. “A lot of our fans live for this and we wanted to do something that felt engaging.”
He also wanted to do something for the venues that have been there for the singer and the band that shares his last name all these years.
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Each tour date will support a different music venue — including the Marquee show on Thursday, Sept. 24 — through a percentage of ticket sales and tips that go directly to that venue and its staff.
ICYMI: Chris Daughtry announces livestream concert to benefit Tempe music venue
“These venues are so important to the communities, to the music industry, to us,” Daughtry says. “Like the Marquee Theatre. We’ve played there many times. And we just wanted to figure out a way to give back and help keep these businesses running.”
In the first two weeks of lockdown, Daughtry went through what he calls “a bit of an identity crisis.”
He didn’t realize how much he would miss the road.
“It was something I had my identity just completely wrapped up in,” he says. “And it was tough. It was hard to kind of pivot and figure out, like, what I do. I had to fully embrace the fact that I’m a husband and father and that was my priority job right now.”
That last part of the tour withdrawal has been the upside of this whole experience.
“It’s been great for my relationship with my kids and wife, just being involved at home on so many levels that I’m never here for,” he says. “So for that, it’s been a huge blessing and it’s given me a lot of perspective in general.”
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What to expect on Live From Home Tour
The Live From Home Tour is as close to the real thing as they can get for now.
There’s no studio audience — just Daughtry’s manager, tour manager and sound engineer.
And they’re stripping it down for these shows to just Daughtry and fellow guitarist Brian Craddock streaming from a rented space in Nashville, where the singer has been living for about four years.
“I love it,” Daughtry says of Nashville.
He’s been doing what he can to make the setlists for these concerts interesting.
“There’s certainly some songs on there that we haven’t played since the first album,” Daughtry says.
“A lot of these songs are songs that fans have been asking for for years and for whatever reason, they didn’t fit in the setlist. We’re trying to freshen it up, make it exciting for them. We’re gonna try to just keep it loose.”
They’ll also try to keep it interactive. There’s a Q&A feature, a VIP meet and greet after the concert on Zoom and a chance for fans to choose between certain songs in each market.
“Whichever song they vote on, that’ll be the one,” he says.
New Daughtry album in the works
It’s not just Daughtry’s touring plans that were upended by the new coronavirus. They were also forced to set aside the album they’d been working on.
“We were pretty deep into making it when everything got shut down,” Daughtry says.
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“It was moving along great. I won’t give too much away but I think it’s something our fans have been wanting to hear for a very long time from us. I’m excited for them to hear it.”
Daughtry dropped a single from those sessions, “World on Fire,” in mid-August.
“I hope this song inspires people to be aware and treat each other better, eradicate division and hate by spreading kindness,” Daughtry says. “I think that’s the most important thing we can do as a species.”
The actual album is still a long way from being done. For the single, members of the band recorded their respective parts separately in their own studio spaces.
Daughtry got a lot of his work on the album done that way.
“But there’s still a lot to be written,” he says, “and still a lot to be recorded.”
It was frustrating to tap the brakes on the recording process just as they were getting into it.
“But at the same time,” Daughtry says, “it’s given it a chance to marinate and given us a chance to really get perspective of the direction we’re headed. So it’s really worked out to our benefit.”
Hanging in Nashville with the kids and … chickens?
In the meantime, he’s enjoying family life in Nashville with his wife and the three kids young enough to live at home.
“The kids have been homeschooled even before this,” he says.
“So that wasn’t an adjustment, thank God. They’re always busy during the day with schoolwork. But it’s been a lot of fun getting caught up around the house, doing projects that have been on the back burner for a while. Working in the yard, planting gardens.”
He has chickens now as well.
“So we’re, like, fully self-sustainable,” Daughtry says, with a laugh. “We got some little chicks we’re raising in the garage until we’re able to put them outside. We’ve got a lot of hawks around here so you’ve gotta watch out.”
Life as a Rottweiler on ‘Masked Singer’
The singer returned to the world of reality singing competitions last fall 13 years after finishing fourth on “American Idol,” the series that launched his career.
This time, he placed second.
While wearing a Rottweiler costume.
“It was super hot,” Daughtry says, with a laugh, of the costume he wore to conceal his identity on “The Masked Singer.”
“It was probably the most difficult type of performance I’ve ever done. Like singing in a paper bag, gasping for air at every line, especially when you start to add choreography and things like that. But honestly, it was so liberating and so much fun to do.”
It was nothing like his time on “Idol,” where the singers all hung out together.
“I didn’t get to see what any of the other contestants were doing,” he says. “We were never around each other. So when we were seeing people get revealed on TV, that was my first time seeing it as well.”
When asked if people knew it was him in that Rottweiler costume, Daughtry laughs.
“Oh my god,” he says. “The second they started airing commercials, I had buddies I grew up with texting me going, ‘You ain’t fooling nobody in that mask.'”
He was touring when the series started airing and fans were coming to the meet and greets with Rottweiler-themed gifts.
“And I’m just having to play dumb and be like, What the hell are y’all talking about? I don’t know what’s going on here,'” he says, with a laugh. “It was a tough poker face to keep.”
He’s really glad he did it, though.
“It’s absolutely worth it,” Daughtry says.
“It’s not even about winning. It’s just so much fun. As artists, we never get to perform behind a veil of anonymity. Just being free to do whatever without any kind of judgment or preconceived notions of what they think you should be doing, it was very, very liberating.”
How to watch the Daughtry livestream
Daughtry Live From Home for Tempe’s Marquee Theatre is at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at onlocationlive.com.
Fans have the option to join the livestream for $10, bundle access with merchandise for $25 and/or join the singer for the Ultimate 2020 Experience, including a one-on-one video meet and greet, for $75.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: How Chris Daughtry found himself streaming a virtual concert to benefit a Tempe music club