Dashboard Confessional Brings Nostalgia To The Spotlight at Sold Out First Avenue Show


Tuesday was just one of those days. My alarm didn’t go off (sure, maybe I forgot to set it) so I was running late which really just set the tone for the day. Staying awake at work was a struggle and, by the time it was done, I really just wanted to go home, go to bed, and try again the next day but there was a show in town and, repeat after me, I never miss a show. So I sucked it up, got in my car and drove downtown all the while my car was making a terrible grinding noise. Yeah, it jut wasn’t my day but after a couple of drinks and some dinner with friends, I walked into First Avenue for the Dashboard Confessional show and my terrible, no good, very bad day instantly changed into a nostalgia fueled night full of smiles, sing-a-longs, and everything that I live for.

Sure I was excited for headliner Dashboard Confessional, I was equally (if not more) excited for opening act The Get Up Kids. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, The Get Up Kids are one of those bands that were a voice for a generation. Their iconic pop-punk drenched rock songs got many people through some of the highest of highs and lowest of lows. I’ve had the privledge of catching these guys multiple times and am never let down by their performance or energy and last night was no different. It was no surprise that people were anxiously awaiting the headliner so I was a bit surprised when, just a song into The Get Up Kids’ set, I looked around and realized that majority of the audience was singing along to every word with an undeniable sense of passion and love.

Although it would take a playthrough of their 2004 album ‘Guilt Show’ for me to give them a ten out of ten on the set list, last night was a strong 9 out of 10 and I’ll take it. Regardless of what song they were playing, just hearing vocalist Matt Pryor’s voice gave me all of the feels and had my head completely lost in a cloud of nostalgia. Their great cover of The Replacements’ “Beer For Breakfast” was not only the perfect cover to be played in the iconic First Avenue Mainroom but was also the icing on the cake to yet another perfect performance from The Get Up Kids.

The stage turnover for the headliner seemed to last forever but I blame that on the anticipation clearly felt throughout the very sold out audience. As soon as the lights went down and the one and only Chris Carrabba was spotted climbing the stairs to the stage it was game over for my ears and my heart. The chatter around my friends and I instantly turned into a deafening sound of shrieks, screams, and cheers, and my heart got taken over by butterflies. Without saying anything, Chris jumped into a set that had everyone in the audience (myself included) feeling emotional, ecstatic, and well, just feeling all of the feels.

20 years. That’s what last night’s show was celebrating. 20 years of Dashboard Confessional and to say that is a feat would be an understatement. Much like The Get Up Kids, Dashboard was one of those bands that seriously had a huge effect on my generation. Every breakup I’ve ever had has had a Dashboard Confessional song attached to it. Every time I moved or every time I fell in love, Chris and his band just spoke to a lot of people when all they needed was a little pep talk. I just saw Dashboard last year at Riot Fest (along with countless other times in the past) but didn’t get the full effect due to it being a giant outdoor festival and my intoxication level at the time but last night I got the full effect and then some and am already wanting a replay of the night.

It has been a couple of years since I really sat down and listen to Dashboard. I guess I just haven’t had one of those moments that I really needed the soft and delicate sound of the band but that didn’t stop every single word of every single song from flooding back to me. Their lengthy setlist was comprised of a mix of acoustic/ solo songs from Chris and full band songs but the one thing every song had in common was that it was an old one. It was clear that the band understood what they meant to fans when curating the setlist or at least the idea of one (there were moments where it seemed as if the band was literally just playing what they wanted or what the audience was shouting out). Of course songs like “Vindicated” and “Screaming Infidelities” were met with the audience almost drowning out Chris’ voice with the amount of power they had but there were also other subtle lines in various other songs where Chris stepped away from the microphone and just let the audience do their thing and a beautiful thing it was.

Although Dashboard’s set was great and a true celebration of 20 years of this amazing group, they could have played for another four hours and the audience still would have been left wanting more. It’s pretty insane how big of an effect this band still has on people after so long and, even more surprising, is how good the band still sounds and how every word still has the same amount of passion as I remember it having back in the day. Why am I rambling? Because Dashboard Confessional definitely let me lost for words and feeling all the feels after Tuesday night’s performance to the point where I struggle to find the right words to describe the night.

Tuesday wasn’t the best day I’ve had lately but after the concert things were feeling much better. I got in my car to realize that the super loud noise had stopped and ended up driving home with a smile on my face. I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it but I’m not sick of saying it– live music is a hell of a drug and if you’re have a bad day, it may be just what you need to turn it all around.