“John [Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls] and I were joking that we should call the tour ‘A Night in Hitsville,” Chris Daughtry of DAUGHTRY announced intriguingly to the Long Island crowd at the Jones Beach Theater on June 14, 2014. Perhaps, it was a joke that Daughtry was projecting onto the audience, but it didn’t appear to be far from the truth, particularly, from the audience’s perspective.
Naturally, the audience tended to gravitate towards Daughtry’s performances of hits, including the well known “Home,” “It’s Not Over,” and “What About Now.” Chris Daughtry’s professionalism and devotion to creating a memorable experience for audience members was seemingly never questionable. He possesses, and has always possessed, remarkable stage presence and the coyness and ‘coolness’ that usually correlate with embodying the rock star persona.
Despite his admirable presence and ability to command a stage, the audience frequently fell short of his expectations, which was easily perceptible. Audience members seemed to remain more fixated on hitting a beach ball floating throughout the crowd or capturing an image on their cell phone, rather than enjoying the moment; singing along with the artist or simply just being there. Chris Daughtry didn’t shy away from expressing his feelings towards the seemingly absent, removed audience, telling the audience that they were “being so awkward.” Fortunately for the audience, reviews don’t necessarily pertain to them, but his desire and attempts at interaction were noticeable and admirable.
Striving to include audience members as frequently as possible, along with speaking to individuals, Daughtry had fans on stage, as a part of a purchased VIP package, which also included them meeting Daughtry, prior to the show. During the performance, Daughtry told the fans on stage that they couldn’t just “stand there and look cool” but that they were on stage to sing, with the band. Even if the audience didn’t meet Daughtry halfway and appeared removed, it was nothing accredited to lack of effort from Daughtry. In particular, Chris adored engaging with fans, interacting as frequently as possible, and lack of participation was not due to lack of effort from him.
Around 9:15, John Rzeznik and Robby Takac, comprising the Goo Goo Dolls, took the stage, in true veteran, rock star fashion. Captivating audiences with the electrifying guitars, reverberating, solid vocals, and flashing, bold imagery from the lighting, it became known from the moment that the Goo Goo Dolls took the stage just why they’ve been successful for this long.
Whereas the Goo Goo Dolls typically end their summer with the Long Island venue, Rzeznik announced that it was one of the first stops on their summer tour, which presumably felt different for him, but it appeared to be a favorite venue of the band’s. Similarly to the preceding act of Daughtry, the Goo Goo Dolls hadn’t shied away from fan interaction. While the reception was similar to Daughtry’s at times, the audience awoken with the familiarity of hits echoing, specifically from the opening guitar chords of both “Slide” – earlier in the band’s set – and songs closer to the set’s end, like “Iris” and “Broadway.”
Admirable about the Goo Goo Dolls’ set was the band’s comfort on stage – making it seem as though the stage is their second home – somewhere they know, somewhere they’ll always find comfort in. Between Rzeznik’s ease in joking on stage (such as announcing that he can always find the boyfriend or husband that was dragged to the concert and exclaiming that he didn’t know that “there were so many Mormons in New York,” after finding out the venue doesn’t sell alcohol) and Takac’s free spirit and tangible energy when running around on stage, the Goo Goo Dolls made the Long Island crowd feel at home at the Jones Beach Theater, as well.
On the windy, chilly night along the Long Island shore, both Daughtry and the Goo Goo Dolls took to the theater’s stage, with hopes of delivering stellar performances that will remain embedded in the audience’s mind. By the end of both bands’ sets, it became evident that the two didn’t disappoint, demonstrating their mastery of performance, further displaying why they continue to be musical-veterans; rockers at heart, consequently, setting the standard of performing, musicianship and comfort that all current and future bands should strive to mirror.