Funny thing happened earlier this year: I found out my hands down, all-time favorite of all time forever and ever band, Dashboard Confessional, was pairing up with another favorite, Taking Back Sunday, on the Taste of Chaos Tour. What was even more incredible was they were scheduled to play Tallahassee. What that whaaaa?! No one ever comes to Tallahassee, at least, not by choice. So in a frenzy of excitement and disbelief, I purchased two tickets to the Tallahassee show. But before that, I purchased four tickets to the show scheduled the day before in Tampa. I didn’t want to risk the Tallahassee show being cancelled and missing Dashboard. Four tickets was over zealous, yes, especially considering I didn’t have a single soul to go to either show with at the time, but, like… yolo.
Fast forward two months, I was able to sell two of the Tampa tickets but still had two I wasn’t going to let go to waste. I had concert buddies for both shows: Saturday – Tampa show with my sister; Sunday – Tallahassee show with my bestie. It was everything I hoped for and more… oh, and did I mention that I GOT TO MEET CHRIS CARRABBA?! Who’s that? Just the lead singer of Dashboard and the man of my adolescent dreams, nbd. Here’s a recap of me fangirling my way through one of the best weekends of my summer…
awkward & awesome
So, let’s just get to the good part, which is the first part. I met Chris Carrabba! Our tickets allowed us early entry to the venue and a small, acoustic, pre-show performance, and we were pleasantly surprised with a meet and greet. Despite me sweating balls and downing an $11 Dixie cup sized jack and coke, I was still super nervous. He was of course, lovely and kind and despite the look on his face below, very gracious.
loosing my mind | #2002
It should be noted that hanging my sunglasses on my dress like that was the wrong move. Walking away from this epic interaction, my sister pointed out that my top was unbuttoned and my bra was very exposed…. I inadvertently flashed my teen idol. Of course I did. Thanks, Life.
Cut to the pre-concert concert. It was so nice to hear anecdotes and Chris’s thoughts on past albums. He took requests and made us laugh and sang really old stuff. And then a guy in the audience proposed to his girlfriend in the middle of it all. It was a truly emo moment and suited the scene perfectly.
We got settled in our seats and prepared for the big show. Opening bands included SAOSIN and The Early November, the latter of which pleasantly surprised me.
After the two opening acts and few over-priced beers, Dashboard Confessional got on stage and took me back in time. The first concert I ever attended was a Dashboard show at the House of Blues when I was in high school. HOB remains one of my favorite venues because it’s small and intimate, the perfect setting for a Dashboard show. I paid just $12 for the ticket and that show solidified my love for Dashboard. They are one of those bands that sound amazing live. That’s what I remember about that first concert, and this show evoked those same feelings all over again.
The venue never did fill up, which was nice because boo crowds, but a little sad because, “Hey everybody! DASHBOARD IS PLAYING TONIGHT!” By the last song, Chris called for the crowd to rush the stage which I immediately did without hesitation. We screamed Hands Down at the top of our lungs with all the other diehard fans, just a few feet away from the band. This show was especially great because I got to share it with my sister. Although we weren’t as close when we were younger, we both liked the same music, which is weird but was pretty awesome in this situation.
The next day I did all over again in Tallahassee, this time with Victor. I know he’s not a fan of Dashboard, but he was game and he’s always great company. What was cool about this show was that it was part of Vic’s farewell Tallahassee tour so we spent the night drinking shitty beer and reminiscing about our college shenanigans.
This time the pre-show was even smaller than before, so I felt almost in appropriate taking photos. I took this one because when will I ever be in this moment again?!
I was also unreasonably excited about the above concert geotag. I love a good geotag.
The Tallahassee venue was cool because having early access allowed us to grab a spot right in front of the stage. By now, The Early November was growing on me…
After the concert, I definitely saw Adam Lazzara, lead singer of Taking Back Sunday, walking through the parking lot of the venue. He a few other guys starting trekking down North Monroe like it was no big thing! I may or may not have told the Uber driver to follow them, for like, half a second. We left before it got weird, calm down.
Overall, the weekend was frenzied and amazing. I’m so glad I got hear this music live again, and come face to face with the voice of it all. It kind of felt like bittersweet closure, yah know? I can’t imagine it getting any better than shaking the hand of the man I’ve listened to for years and years. Hands Downs was the anthem of my first love, and Dusk and Summer marked my college years. I can still see the house lights at HOB come up when I listen to Heaven Here. I saw them with a friend at UF, my sister at UCF, and I love that each album marks a significant time in my life. Who knows if I’ll ever see Dashboard Confessional or Taking Back Sunday again, I hope I do, but if not, this weekend felt like an exclamation point at the end of a really long, really good story.
I made a playlist inspired by the setlist and some of my other favorites, if you’d like to give it a listen…