Dashboard Confessional's Carrabba makes the crowd swoon at the band's Aug. 12 NYC concert -- but it's openers Say Anything who really rock

By Samantha Harmon
Updated August 16, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Dashboard Confessional: WireImage.com

Dashboard Confessional at Radio City

One year after touring with stadium fillers U2, Dashboard Confessional are drawing decent crowds of their own — on Aug. 12, in fact, they sold out New York’s Radio City Music Hall. The crowd was made up mostly of teenage girls and women in their 20s — all of them obsessed with frontman Chris Carrabba, to the presumed dismay of the unfortunate young lads they’d dragged along. (Also in the house: Carrabba’s No. 1 fan, his mother, whom he dutifully acknowledged during the show.)

The band is the brainchild of Carrabba, and tellingly, from the moment Dashboard stepped on stage, the spotlight was trained on him. It was almost painful to watch the rest of the band, including special guest violinist Susan Sherouse, who often performs and records with the group, slip into the shadows. Perhaps Dashboard Confessional will always be a solo act, the way Carrabba intended it to be back in 1999.

The band opened with ”Heaven Here,” a track off their fourth album, Dusk and Summer, released earlier this summer. The opening number may have been the most vocally diverse song Carrabba sang the entire night — most of the show was one generic love song after another. But the audience didn’t seem to mind, singing and/or screaming every word, almost drowning out Carrabba (whom they had paid to hear, right?).

During the title track, the acoustic serenade ”Dusk and Summer,” the stage lights stole the show: Shooting stars and tones of red painted the backdrop. Carrabba asked the audience to help him re-create the starry night on which he wrote the song by holding up their cell phones. (What happened to the good old days? Bic lighters, anyone?) Indeed, with this new album, which filled the majority of the set list, Carrabba is shedding his love-battered emo image to reveal a new, more optimistic side. ”Lay your armor down,” he sang on ”Don’t Wait.” Uh, Chris? That armor was your edge!

Thankfully, the night wasn’t a total cheesy love fest: Openers Say Anything, a SoCal band sporting dirty T-shirts and torn jeans, ruled the stage during their short set, with irresistible songs like ”Wow, I Can Get Sexual,” ”Spider Song,” and ”Every Man Has a Molly” (sample lyric: ”Molly Connolly ruined my life/ I thought the world should know”). Bitter? Yes. Sensitive? Not so much. But for those of us still a little jaded on love, it was freakin’ delicious.