CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- As the reds and blues of the spotlight panned across the stage, fans screamed and cheered Chris Daughtry as he opened his concert with a song from his new album, titled “Baptized.”
The singer and his band performed a free concert for service members, their families and guests Oct. 25th at the Camp Foster festival grounds.
The concert, hosted by Marine Corps Community Services Okinawa, promoted camaraderie and enhanced esprit de corps between everyone who attended as they gathered around the stage and sang along with the band.
“This is how we can boost the morale of our military,” said Chris Daughtry from Lasker, North Carolina, and the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the band. “We want [service members] to know we are behind them and support them in their efforts.”
The band has performed for service members several times in recent years during tours and individual performances, most recently at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan.
“As musicians, this is the least we can do,” said Daughtry. “We all have ties with the military in our families, and we whole heartedly support the military. We go and play music all the time, and that’s not that hard. They have hard jobs and we want to give back any way we can.”
In addition to service members and their families from all parts of Okinawa, the concert also brought in local community members which allows the opportunity to strengthen and build upon an already strong bond between local residents and those stationed here.
“It’s very touching and exciting,” said Yoko Asato, a resident in Okinawa. “I never imagined that kind of star coming to Okinawa. The service members are very hardworking people and that’s why he came.”
While most of the songs he performed are featured on his newest album, Daughtry also played some of his biggest hits, including “Waiting For Superman” and “It’s Not Over.” Of all the music played, his song “Home” really connected with service members as it led them to thinking about the next time they would see their loved ones, according to Lance Cpl. Steven J. Cobb, a heavy equipment operator with Marine Wing Support Squadron 172, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force.
“It means a lot to us because they actually acknowledge and support us,” said Cobb, from Richland, Georgia. “We are away from our families and friends that are back home and it’s really cool that they came out here to sing for us.”
Understanding what it is like to be away from their families and friends on tours around the world, Daughtry and his fellow band members empathized with the service members. As he toured Air Force bases in the Middle East, he realized the extent of what service members go through, according to Daughtry.
“I never realized how much it meant until a few years ago when we went overseas to the Middle East,” said Daughtry. “Hearing their stories and seeing their faces. We look at it as just playing music, but it was way bigger than that for the troops. They kept telling us, “You don’t understand, not a lot of people do this.” It made it all worthwhile by just seeing their faces and knowing how much they appreciated it. It’s the least we can do.”