By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Chris Daughtry is sitting in a purple-lit room in his home with a wide smile on his face. A character, however, is towering over his shoulder.
“That’s Deadpool,” he says with a laugh. “It was a gift from Chad Kroeger from Nickelback on our last tour together. He wheeled it out while we were doing ‘Home’ and it had rainbow and unicorn balloons all over him.”
Daughtry fondly recalls other tour shenanigans, and he desperately misses it. However, he wants to ensure there will be theaters, summer sheds and clubs in which to play. To help the cause, he’s going on a “virtual tour.” Throughout August and September, he has hosted 19 acoustic performances, streamed live from Nashville and broadcast to fans across the United States.
Each show will provide localized support through a percentage of ticket sales and tips that go directly to the partnering venue, and feature unique setlists, Q&A sessions, song requests and surprises specific to the city being highlighted.
On Thursday, September 24, he’ll support the Marquee Theatre in Tempe.
“I’m doing it strictly out of boredom,” he says with a laugh via Zoom. “Well, that’s part of it. I’m just missing the road, missing performing and missing the fans and wanting them to feel connected and engaged.
“I wanted to come up with a way to partner with these venues that are struggling right now. They’re so important to the community and artists, like myself, who have had the opportunity to play the Marquee many times. The Marquee has always been great to us, and they jumped at the chance to partner with us. It was exciting to be able to do this.”
Daughtry says he wants to see venues thrive.
“It’s so awful for so many small businesses right now—especially family-owned businesses. It’s sad to see the current state of everything right now. This just felt like one little thing we could do to help.”
For the shows, Daughtry will be accompanied by his longtime guitarist, Brian Craddock. He says the two are bringing back songs that they haven’t played in a while and reviving deeper cuts that fans have requested over the years.
“Some of these songs we didn’t think would go over well with the majority of the crowd,” he adds.
“This is certainly catered toward the fans. We hear them loud and clear on certain songs. We wanted to feel loose and engaging—not so sterile. It’s always daunting to perform when you don’t see the crowd or feel the energy. You don’t realize how much you rely on that. So that ought to be interesting. We’re determined to have fun, regardless.”
He admits he had to refresh his memory with some of the songs.
“Oh yeah,” he says with a laugh. “Mostly, I had to remember the words, but they came back just like riding a bike after I sat down with it a couple times.”
He wouldn’t reveal those songs, though.
“If I say them, that’s giving it away,” he says. “I want to keep it a bit of a surprise. There were a couple, though, where I thought, ‘I might have to pull up my own lyrics on that.’”
When the virtual tour wraps on Tuesday, September 29, with a benefit for the Cannery Ballroom in Nashville, Daughtry may start pushing new material. He wouldn’t reveal much about the new songs, other than some of it in the proverbial “can.”
“We were really deep into making the record right before everything shut down,” he says. “The first few singles were done and recorded. The guys were able to record their parts at home. I already had my stuff done.
“We do have stuff coming soon. That’s all I’ll say about that. We’re really excited about it. I’ve used this time, instead, being a husband and a father. I haven’t been home this long in 14 years. The first two weeks were the most difficult for me. I didn’t realize how much of my identity was wrapped up into touring.”
Daughtry, 6 p.m. Thursday, September 24, $10 to $75, daughtryofficial.com/events/450437.