It was an interesting walk to the theater last night. I could hear the cheers of avid basketball fans as I passed 4th Street Live from Muhammad Ali Blvd. The cheers soon transitioned into the excited banter of Daughtry fans waiting in front the doors of Louisville Palace. I didn’t know what kind of crowd to anticipate with the 6:09 tip off of the Final Four rivalry between Louisville and Kentucky, but to my surprise I joined a sold out crowd in the historic theater. A sold out crowd that was not decked out in your typical concert attire, but rather spirited red and blue like they were attending an elaborate pep rally hosted by a multi-platinum selling rock band.
The opening act on the bill was singer/songwriter Mike Sanchez. Sanchez put on a brief but impressive set, ending with an exuberant rendition of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Sanchez graciously thanked the crowd before exiting the stage to sign autographs and take photos at the merchandise table in the lobby.
If you’ve ever enjoyed an event at Louisville Palace, you are well aware of the pleasantly breathtaking atmosphere. Second opening act, SafetySuit, quickly shifted the vibe from elegant to “rock.” The Nashville-native band played several of their hits including “Let Go,” “These Times” and an upbeat rock cover of “Hallelujah” made famous by Jeff Buckley.
I really enjoyed SafetySuit’s set. It was laden with guitar solos and rock anthem moments from the knees. They brought a high level of intensity and strong presence to the stage. As a matter of fact, the lead guitarist needed a towel to dry his face halfway through their second song. Before their song “These Times,” lead singer Doug Brown said,
“If you take anything from us tonight, remember that if you’re going through a rough time, it will always pass.”
SafetySuit finished their set with their hit “Stay” which is known for reaching #1 on VH1’s Top 20 Countdown. Brown took a tour around the Louisville Palace crowd, singing amongst the fans and taking novelty photos as he went. All in all, it was an impressive set and left the Louisville crowd ready for the headliner.
Daughtry took the stage at just a tick past 9 o’clock. A monochrome video of the band walking in the desert and a classic muscle car revving faster and faster was projected onto a white curtain until the curtain finally dropped, revealing the band segueing into their song “Renegade.” Chris Daughtry was dressed head to toe in his traditional black on black. Chris was sporting black leather shoes that had noticeable specks of mud on them, almost as if to show that he remembers where he comes from.
The stage was dressed in a cool and literal “rock” theme. The side walls and stairs on the stage were made to look like boulders and concrete, while a large red “Daughtry” banner draped down the middle of the backdrop.
The band played the title track of their new album Break the Spell and followed it with “Feels Like Tonight” and the first single off the new record “Crawling Back to You.” The opening hits had the Louisville Palace crowd singing word for word. If you’ve never heard Daughtry before, I’d best describe them as having the intensity of Fuel or Chevelle, while still having a poise and emotional range comparable to Shinedown and Three Days Grace.
Just two songs in, Chris was already having to lose the leather jacket.
“Louisville, KY! How you doin’ tonight? You look gorgeous,” said Daughtry.
Daughtry played the second single off of their new album, “Outta My Head,” for which they just finished shooting a music video. This song is likely my favorite off of the new album. It’s a very catchy song that hits hard, is laced with an infectious drumbeat and contains the perfect amount rebel yells from Chris.
“It’s good to be back in Kentucky! Gotta catch my breath, feel like I’m getting old,” joked Chris.
Chris appears to wear his heart on his sleeve from time to time with songs like “Start of Something Good” and “September,” but none more so than when he performed the band’s hit single “What About Now.”