After five years since their last visit to Australian shores, Dashboard Confessional returned on Wednesday night for the first show of their 2017 Australian Tour, in Melbourne and ‘hands down’ (had to) it was one of the best shows I’ve seen them play and a definitely a night to remember.

It certainly was a pretty sight to see the words ‘Dashboard Confessional’ up in lights on the billboard for The Forum. As I walk into the old theatre, it’s already beginning to fill up with eager faces, some who according to age, have jumped on the Dashboard train at various points in the band’s collection of emotive soundtracks to young love. I’m sure each person is holding onto different memories attached to the heart felt and emotion stirring songs that singer, Chris Carraba and the band, have released over the years.

Far Away Stables certainly did a good job of warming up the crowd, jumping out of the gates and galloping onto the stage with their infectious energy and passionate vocal delivery. (Horse puns because well, Stables…yeah you get it)
The 5-piece from Sydney with their Saosin-like sound, delivered a high octane, raw and catchy set, definitely making them one to watch out for as they continue to build momentum as a band.

The stage is lit in a deep and calming blue as Dashboard Confessional walk out to an excited cheer from the enthusiastic crowd. Opening with just a drum beat and Chris Carraba’s vocals, the song is eagerly recognized as “Don’t Wait” as he encourages everyone to sing along with him.

It’s safe to say that Chris and the band were missed in their absence from Australia. The crowd showing their appreciation of the Floridian band’s return to Melbourne, as they sung along at the top of their lungs in the beautiful open theatre throughout the entire set. At times the chorus of hundreds of voices coming together was so loud that singer, Chris Carraba simply stood back from the microphone, played his guitar and judging my the smile and look of reciprocated appreciation on his face, just let the moment sink in, embracing the angelic sounding choir as they sung every lyric with heartfelt nostalgia. At one point during the song ‘Stolen’ the singer said “Oh why didn’t we come back sooner!?” revealing that Dashboard might just have missed us Australian fans as much as we have missed them.

The heroes of Emotive rock delved right into their back catalogue leaving no hit single or crowd favourite sing along track out of the hour and a half long set. Songs like ‘The Good Fight’, ‘Saints and Sailors’, ‘Screaming Infidelities’ just to name a few, were definite highlights of the show, with all four members showcasing their individual talent. During one song, recent addition to the band lead guitarist, Armon Jay even lay on his back and spun around while playing guitar, in true rock n roll style.

There were a few purely acoustic songs showcasing Chris Carraba’s incredible vocal range, especially during ‘The Places You’ve Come To Fear The Most” going from a soothing and velvety gentle tone to powerful and passionate with ease leaving the crowd well and truly transfixed on the singer, a true master of his craft. Carraba’s charismatic and witty stage presence made for entertaining banter in between songs, particularly before a few cover songs that the band worked into the set from their surprise covers EP- ‘Covered and Taped’ released this year. Chris telling various tales, of romance, his band mates talent as musicians and drinking wine. Chris explained that The Cure’s ‘Just Like Heaven’ is “…by far our favourite song of anybody else to play live” Dashboard executed it well with beautiful vocals and highlights of the familiar guitar riffs and bass lines. Justin Bieber’s ‘Love Yourself’ was covered too, which makes a surprisingly appropriate Dashboard song. The third cover was Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’. Carraba’s vocals and the lyrics were a perfect match.

We got a taste of some new Dashboard too with a little bit of a faster tempo and rock n roll sound with Chris calling on the crowd again to sing so it could be recorded for the new song. The set ‘ended’ on the classic Dashboard track, ‘Vindicated’ which of course was a hit. After a lot of cheering, hands clapping and feet stomping from the crowd to encourage the band to come back for an encore, they of course obliged and played one of their most loved and popular tracks, ‘Hands Down’ from their 2003 release, ‘A Mark, A Mission, A Scar” The band definitely leaving on a high note as ‘Hands Down’ was, and has always been, a very big crowd favourite of the night. Carraba playing an extended version with just him and the guitar after the rest of the band had left the stage.

What a night. Hopefully we don’t have to wait too long for the band’s return to our shores for another night of emotive rock and sing alongs.

Review By Sarah Thomson. 13.09.17

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