Chris Carrabba, leader of the band Dashboard Confessional, headlined at the Troubadour in West Hollywood, California on Friday, February 25th, 2022. This concert debuted his newest album titled All the Truth That I Can Tell. Audience members witnessed the first-ever live performance of the album, which was released by Hidden Note Records/AWAL earlier that day. It was a solo performance in which Carrabba sang and played acoustic guitar. The setlist included Dashboard Confessional classics as well as songs from the new album.
On February 27th, two days after this show, the band began co-headlining a tour with another emo fan-favorite, the band Jimmy Eat World, composed of Jim Adkins on lead vocals/guitar, Tom Linton on rhythm guitar/backing vocals, Rick Burch on bass and Zach Lind on drums. Though both bands are touring to promote their newest albums (Surviving from Jimmy Eat World and All the Truth That I Can Tell from Dashboard Confessional), there is little doubt that the tour will celebrate their older hits, which have become standards in the emo listener’s canon.
The atmosphere of the concert was soft and comforting. Reds, pinks and blues illuminated Chris as he played at the foot of the stage to be closer to his audience members. The concert was simple and honest. Carrabba delivered raw emotion onstage, such as when his voice quivered during “Everyone Else is Just Noise.” A historically iconic music venue, the Troubadour provided the perfect setting for an album release by a band that is an important part of emo music history.
The tone of this performance was uplifting. “Screaming Infidelities,” perhaps Dashboard’s quintessential heartbreak ballad, was performed with less anger and more clarity than is found on the studio recording. It felt more like a celebration of the music between artist and audience, and less like a song aimed at an ex-girlfriend. Similarly, the iconic quip “it’s useless/I’m useless against them” on “The Sharp Hint of New Tears” was sung with pride by both Carrabba and his fans. Perhaps time has healed old wounds.
Earlier in the day, Carrabba performed an entire set on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, yet still, his voice was fresh and strong. He screamed the words “I believe” on “Carry This Picture” without losing control, and belted an impressive amount during “Vindicated.” He also wowed on the guitar, such as when he switched things up with heavy-handed strumming and brisk syncopation in “Saints and Sailors.”
The concert was a vocal and instrumental feat, especially considering the fact that Carrabba has been recovering since 2020 from a near-fatal motorcycle accident. As a result of his injuries, as told by his vocal coach Toni Kasza, Chris “had to relearn” how to play guitar, and essentially, to perform altogether. She and guitar coach Scott Goldbaum worked with Chris virtually over Zoom to recover his abilities. Kasza beamed in the corner of the Troubadour’s high rise as their hard work unfolded onstage. For her, this performance was “a comeback.”
Because the songs from the new album blended so well into Carrabba’s established repertoire, old songs and new songs sounded almost indistinguishable. The themes were more modern in that they were personal to Carrabba’s recent experiences, but the music was still good ol’ Dashboard. According to one audience member, at his concerts “He always plays old shit.” This concert, though a release for new music, was no different. Upon hearing Chris say he was going to play “some new shit,” another audience member jokingly yelled: “You should’ve warned us!” But truthfully, the audience knew the new shit, too. “Here’s To Moving On,” Chris’ new mantra about overcoming obstacles and healing (which is especially impactful to him in the context of recovering from his motorcycle accident), was sung by everyone in the house. Chris might have been alone on stage, but the audience acted as his choir all night long.
Whether the songs performed were twenty years old like “Screaming Infidelities,” or newborn babies like “Here’s To Moving On,” they were important to his audience members, and their lyrics were indispensable. All the Truth That I Can Tell sustains the relevance of Dashboard Confessional, and the excitement of fans at Dashboard’s Troubadour performance proved that the band’s touching lyrics and moving sound still resonate with listeners today.
- The Swiss Army Romance
- So Impossible
- Everyone Else is Just Noise
- Don’t Wait
- The Sharp Hint of New Tears
- Carry This Picture
- Remember to Breathe
- Saints and Sailors
- The Good Fight
- Here’s To Moving On
- The Brilliant Dance
- Screaming Infidelities
- Burning Heart
- The Best Deceptions
- Hands Down