Very rarely do we get the chance to see our favorite bands sharing the same stage while touring together. Fortunately, I happened to experience this 8 years ago tonight.
I was a senior in high school. Music was life (let’s be honest…it still is). Going to shows made me whole. I was such an emo kid. I followed the scene. Warped Tour was a must every summer. Band tees were a standard in my wardrobe. I constantly looked for new bands/songs that professed the words of every single solitary feeling my teenage body elicited. I wasn’t always this way though. I followed the mainstream radio pop for years until my freshman year of high school, specifically in the spring, when I went through what I like to call a musical enlightenment.
For many people out there, myself included, there’s always a band/musician/song/album/some sort of musical element that changes your life. For me it was a band. During my freshman year of high school I became exposed to music other than what was on the radio. It sort of started with Something Corporate when a friend of mine had me listen to Punk Rock Princess. At that point I liked just one or two alternative songs and I still listened to the radio. My enlightenment didn’t occur until I was first introduced to Dashboard Confessional in April of that same year. It was 2004, shortly after Dashboard released A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. They weren’t up and coming. They had previously released albums like The Swiss Army Romance and The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most (arguably their best). They had been around for a couple years and were known by those in the emo/indie/alternative fan base. But, they were the first band I ever really got into that wasn’t part of the radio pop/rap/R&B (cringe) stuff I liked at the time. It was huge for me.
A friend had recommended them and I gave them a shot. I really liked what I heard (pretty sure the first songs I listened to were “Screaming Infidelities”, “The Swiss Army Romance” and “Hands Down”). I went out and bought their third full length (A Mark, A Mission…). I listened to it on repeat trying to memorize the words to all the songs on that album, especially “Hands Down”. That was THE song. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say everyone wanted a night like the one described in “Hands Down”. It became my anthem that spring. The local hockey team (referenced them in a previous post) ended up making it to the finals of their respective league that year and I played the song before every game. I played it so much that my mom learned all the words and would get into it too (we used to bang on the car dashboard during that break in the chorus). That June my family planned a trip to Disney World and I found out Dashboard was playing the night of our arrival at the House of Blues in Orlando. I tried so hard to get my mom to allow me to go. It didn’t work out in my favor, but that entire trip was still amazing even without seeing my favorite band. The spring of 2004 was a special time in my life for so many other reasons, but this musical enlightenment was a part of that and I owe it to Dashboard Confessional.
That sounds like such a great ending to the blog post but I never even mentioned why 8 years ago tonight actually mattered. Well obviously it had something to do with Dashboard. But before I get into that, let me say the first time I saw Dashboard Confessional was in the Spring of 2006. A local college sponsored them as their spring concert and my friend Megan and I went to see them. It was everything I hoped for and my mom was happy I finally got to see them since she didn’t let me go in Florida. Then, less than a year later, you guessed it, they came back.
This time they were touring with Brand New, another one of my favorite bands that I fell in love with shortly post-Dashboard (told you Dashboard changed my life). This tour was probably the coolest thing ever for me at the time. My top two favorite bands in one night, are you kidding me? Who gets to see their favorite bands perform in the same night. Me. Duh. I was definitely going. I’m not sure how it happened either but I convinced my friend Shannon to attend this show with me (Megan..same friend from above…came along as well). It was pretty incredible that Shannon decided to come along because Shannon did not listen to the same music as me. She wore cardigans. She never cursed. She listened to all the radio stuff (she still does…extreme T-Swift fan). She just wasn’t the same emo/punk rock/indie/alternative kid as me, but I introduced her to Dashboard from a mix tape I made her (I made/make the best mix tapes I swear). She loved them from that. Plus this was going to be her first “real” show (general admission, pit, the works).
It was a fun night. At the time it was the best show I had ever been to (it’s still probably in my top 10 favorite shows). There were plenty of things that happened. Shannon wore converse (they were pink though…go figure) and screamingly confessed her love for Chris Carrabba. A classmate of ours almost got in a fight with a drunk girl. Brand New didn’t play Seventy Times Seven (teenage anthem forever…I was heartbroken). I sang along to so many songs that I knew and loved (“Vindicated”, “Bend & Not Break”,” Screaming Infidelities”). Most importantly, as the standard for Dashboard in those days, they always closed their shows with “Hands Down” (I wouldn’t have it any other way). That night was no different except for the fact that I got so pumped during the song I decided to jump up and down and ended up twisting my ankle when I landed on a bystander’s foot. It was a memorable night for sure. Can I say that it was hands down the best day I will ever remember, always remember? No. I’ve had some better times and no one kissed me like they meant it, but it was pretty damn good enough to come close.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite Dashboard Confessional songs that I recommend to the world besides all those listed above aka “Hands Down”, “Bend & Not Break”, “Vindicated”, “Screaming Infidelities”, and “The Swiss Army Romance” (that means listen to these too cause they are also my faves):
1. The Secret’s in the Telling
2. As Lovers Go
3. Saints & Sailors
4. Again I Go Unnoticed
5. The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
6. The Sharp Hint of New Tears
7. Age Six Racer (in particular listen to this on the day before the first day of school, Labor Day, or whenever the last day of summer is for you)
8. Rapid Hope Loss
Just to give you a head start on listening…the song of all songs: