I usually listen to a song once or twice and then it's programmed in my head permanently. First the beat or guitar riff followed by the hook and of course the words are always the final tattoo on my mind. The hardest thing about memorizing a Dashboard Confessional song is that Chris Carrabba sings so many words that most of the time I can't keep up, which leaves me to belt out a random verse here or there like a fool. Saturday night in Chicago my worst fear came alive when the entire sold out crowd at the Metro knew and sang every word to each Dashboard song. They knew every single fucking word! Dashboard Confessional songs are written in free verse, sung as if gently torn from a tear flooded diary, healing old wounds inflicted by disenchanted romances. As the cleaning crew earned their pay at the end of the night, all that could be found on the floor were forgotten memories of thousands of heartbroken lovers.
Chris Carrabba, covered in tattoos and black clothes, greeted the windy city faithful with The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, which is also the title of the band's debut album on Vagrant. Most of the tracks The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most were featured on this extremely breathtaking evening ("Saints & Sailors", "The Best Deceptions",
"Screaming Infidelities", "The Good Fight")
Although he could easily tower over Gary Coleman, Carrabba isn't what one would call "the tallest of dudes" which made the stage picture unique, as new guitarist Dan Hoerner (all 7' 5" of him) stood in the back all evening as if he were hiding. The former Sunny Day Real Estate axe-man added a lot to the performance, which I felt was lacking the last time that I confessed to the board during the successful Vagrant American tour. Hoerner was having fun, something that I also felt was missing during the last couple SDRE performances that I witnessed. Message to Carrabba - Hoerner was the best free agent that your team could have signed and he will brings years of experience and amazing song writing skills to the game. Excellent off season signing!
As the emotional set continued to skim through the Vagrant record, and various EPs, the fan's message was clear - they love this band. At times Carrabba would initiate a song and fall back away from the microphone leaving the singing duties to the extremely young audience, who never disappointed. Again...they knew every fucking word to every song! Carrabba changed guitars for almost each song, some of which were performed solely by him, others included the entire band.
Dashboard Confessional will release a new 4-song EP in mid-December, but had the great idea to press and release them during this almost completely sold out tour. Carrabba and Hoerner wrote the new tracks together, and previewed one of the tracks "Hands Down" which was warmly welcomed by the accepting fans. The magnitude of this EP is going to help catapult this band further into the stratosphere.
Dashboard closed the evening with one three-song encore, leaving my favorite track on the album "Screaming Infidelities" as their ultimate closing number. As I said I have a hard enough time reciting the lyrics to the Dashboard songs, so I definitely did not remember the title of each song which they played. I do know however that they performed almost every song that they have written and released, most of which has been on Vagrant, while the other EPs don't even exist in the band's discography.
I listen to The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most almost every single day, and each time I surrender my time to this recording, I fall victim to the powerful vocals, sentimental lyrics, and elegant acoustic guitars. I really love this band and want to thank Bill Carroll for wearing shorts to the show in 40 degree Chicago weather, and for hooking me up. PLEASE reach out and drench yourself in the effervescent electricity that is Dashboard Confessional.
Source: Jason Anfinsen