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The Dearly Beloved Tour Makes History At Historic Ryman Auditorium

Chris Daughtry Headlines at the Ryman Auditorium

Nashville Tennessee is a place sacred to many music fans and artists alike. From the beginning, the city has had a destiny of telling many stories for many people. Each time I come to town I am reminded of how I will walk away with a new and exciting one to add to my many adventures, trekking the excitable streets of Music City and making my way to a bucket list venue of my own. The Historic Ryman Auditorium. Built from 1843-1904, it would be named after business owner and famed architect Thomas Ryman, who would later pass after its doors opened two years later in 1906. Which prompted its name change from Union Gospel Tabernacle to The Ryman Auditorium.

This quickly gained traction as a hotspot for entertainment of all kinds from boxing to concerts. Eventually becoming the famed Grand Ole Opry. Ironically enough this would soon earn the nickname “The Mother Church Of Country Music." With that in mind, The Ryman would soon host a show with the likes of Tremonti, Sevendust and Daughtry for the Dearly Beloved Tour 2021. Which I am just going to call the tour of the year.

As I made my way from the incredibly massive parking structure across the street to this monolith of a building with hundreds of years of music history, I couldn’t help but be swept up with emotion as I knew the night had something intrinsically special in store. As I checked in with venue security and took one final breath before crossing the famed threshold inside I was immediately taken by surprise with a feeling of “things happen here." Each corner of this place has history seeping from its structure. From the stairs to the church-like pews and stained glass windows, you don’t believe in something, you will when you leave this place. The gods of music were present and accounted for. It was ten minutes to showtime and the lights went pitch black.

Mark Tremonti opens things up on the Dearly Beloved Tour

Taking the stage like only they can, Tremonti opens the show with colossal riffs, chugging and pulsating in the bones of every patron in attendance. A rush of air and it was off to the races as Tremonti began playing their smash “Another Heart” from the Dust album in 2016. Eric Friedman, Tanner Keegan, Ryan Bennett and Mark Tremonti were emblazoned, almost possessed, by the spirits that reside in these hallowed halls of The Ryman. I have seen Tremonti play many shows, this one was very different from any show I have ever captured before. Progressing in their career as a stand alone act away from their individual projects, these four men manage to cultivate an experience for their fans unlike any other that I have had the fortune of working with. Still something felt so different than before. Maybe it was all the hype I built in my head prior to arriving or perhaps it was the knowledge that I had been advised that special things happen here. Nonetheless, ”special” is exactly what I would get. Tremonti would go on to put on a show for the ages with a set I’ll soon never forget. Closing their set with the ever popular “Wish You Well” off their debut album All I Was in 2012. This one is going to be tough to top for me on a scale of Tremonti performances.

Sevendust's Morgan Rose on the drums

Onward to more exciting and compelling events, the mighty Sevendust was minutes from taking the stage. Now, when I say “mighty” you have to understand the context of whom I am referring to. It’s effing Sevendust. Veterans of the genre, all around purveyors of power, a face in the Rushmore of rock. Founded in 1994 these guys haven’t changed, wavered or lost a step in 27 years. Lead singer Lajon Witherspoon stepped center stage with his longtime band mates and grinned, holding nothing back, they began playing louder than I’ve heard them play in years, with the always killer ”Pieces”. Each note, each verse and each drum beat felt like it was making my chest rattle. I know the guys have missed playing shows, however this one was bigger than I had thought. Lajon is a Nashville native and spent many years walking around the streets to venues and catching shows and from being an eager young man to now playing on the grandest stage of them all in Music City, he had come full circle and he KNEW it. This man sang his ass off, smiling, shedding tears, sharing memories, creating new ones. Sevendust yet again captured lightning in a bottle and let it fly throughout The Ryman Auditorium in glorious fashion. Sevendust pulled no punches and even slowed it down for the evening to play a fan favorite “Angel’s Son”, which he dedicated to the memory of anyone in attendance who had lost anyone to COVID-19. A truly touching and memorable moment that will attach itself to the spirit of this place. Lowery, Connelly, Witherspoon, Hornsby and Rose played a truly brilliant set with such ferocity that I will remember for years. What can be said when you have all the right pieces to a successful band like Sevendust and at its core, they’re the most compassionate and kind hearted people you’ll ever meet. Do not sleep on this tour!

Chris Daughtry headlining the Dearly Beloved Tour

Finally the moment for Daughtry to hit the stage was near. Anticipation on everyone’s faces as much as there were smiles, everyone was buzzing with that electric feeling you only can get when waiting for the band to take the stage. One by one, each member of the highly anticipated headliners assumed their respective marks on stage, soon followed by an excited Chris Daughtry! The sound of cheers and rambunctious applause filled the hallowed halls of The Ryman Auditorium. Electricity glided through the air like a symphony of pure emotion. Daughtry made quite an opening statement with their first song of the night, playing “Desperation” off their most recent record Dearly Beloved. I made my way around the historical Mother Church Of Music Venues like a stealthy ninja with my cameras in tow, looking for my next spot to capture the show of the year. Chris Daughtry would address the fans in attendance and thank them for coming out to the show with a big smile and a full heart. As someone who knew this man was meant for greater things since his first appearance on American Idol all those years ago, Chris and his band have been blasting out hit after hit, seemingly shaping his future and cultivating a slice of history along the way. From each member of the band, Josh Steely, Josh Paul, Brian Craddock, Elvis Fernandes, and sensational drummer Brandon Maclin all performed to perfection. I remember seeing Daughtry on their first headlining tour many years ago before becoming a photojournalist and ever thinking about picking up a camera. So to be here in this venue, with these artists was a very full circle moment and I am truly grateful to have the opportunity to document it. With that said, the night eventually had to come to an end, and in doing so, Daughtry closed out a wicked set with their song “Asylum."

This tour is just kicking off and you do not want to miss out on all the fun that can be had at a show with the likes of these three bands. Tremonti, Sevendust and Daughtry are firing on all cylinders with no signs of stopping. So what exactly are you waiting for? We already have you the links above, go click on them and buy that pair of tickets!

Photo Gallery: Daughtry - All photos by Brandon Scott Hanks

Photo Gallery: Sevendust - All photos by Brandon Scott Hanks

Photo Gallery: Tremonti - All photos by Brandon Scott Hanks