[Concert Review] Dashboard Confessional, All American Rejects – Detroit, MI

Teenage dreams came true for many music fans when emo mainstay Dashboard Confessional and pop rockers All American Rejects announced a co-headlining tour. On the #dcaar tour, opening support was provided by The Social Animals and The Maine. The nostalgic summer tour made a stop in Detroit at the Fillmore, and Altwire staff member Sarah Spohn was there to sing loud, proud and off-key, even in the photo pit.

Minnesota indie four-piece The Social Animals opened the evening, followed by Arizona alternative rock band The Maine. Up next was the always-entertaining, spunky Stillwater, Oklahoma band, the All American Rejects. Last, but certainly not least, was the emo-founding-fathers themselves, Dashboard Confessional.

This isn’t the first time The Social Animals have shared stages with Chris Carrabba and company; they recently went on tour with his other band, Twin Forks and Dan Layus this past spring. Looks like they earned their spot on another tour, and continue to be equally impressive on stage with harmonies, stand-out witty vocals, and a little bit of banjo here and there.

When the Maine frontman John O’Callaghan took the stage in a grey paisley suit, the crowd could tell he meant business. After the first song though, the coat jacket came off and the dance moves mode was turned on. He encouraged concertgoers to participate in the dance party in between songs.

The night’s second lanky frontman, Tyson Ritter, of All American Rejects took the stage next. With a lazer light show, and perfectly timed AAR logos on full display, the show kicked into high gear. Upbeat, poppy familiar hits like “Swing, Swing,” “I Wanna,” and “Move Along” brought fans back to the early 2000’s trucker-hat-era. Tyson is a seasoned frontman, with the “Dirty Little Secret” singer’s devilish, sly grin and captivating bright eyes, emulating wild energy and passion on stage. Offbeat dancing and exaggerated movements never deterred the charismatic singer from hitting every note, just as we’d remembered from our scratched-to-pieces self-titled All American rejects CDs. During the 2012 track “Kids in the Street,” Tyson jumped into the crowd and got face-to-face with the band’s loyal fans.

In a black Sally Yates t-shirt and black skinny jeans, a clean-cut Carrabba proudly took the stage — smiling as usual. The Dashboard Confessional setlist included a Smashing Pumpkins cover, “Today,” showing off a much lower register than we often hear from Carrabba. Other D.C. hits included “Don’t Wait,” the Spiderman 2 soundtrack hit “Vindicated,”with impressive guitar riffs and the 2001 tune “The Best Deceptions.”

Showcasing a new song to fans, the band took a moment to talk about equality and spoke on community. The new track, “We Fight” is an anthem on people uniting for a greater good, and will be on the independently-released album.

The always-charming and endearing acoustic set from a sole Carrabba included “Ghost of a Good Thing,” followed by a new crowd sing-along song “Heart.Beat.Here.” The band rejoined him with “Easy as Lovers Go,” “Screaming Infidelities,” and the popular teen-romance-turned-marriage song of choice, “Stolen.”

In true D.C. fashion, the concert ended with the ode to the best day ever, with the 2001 “Hands Down” hit. A Dashboard Confessional crowd is never afraid to sing aloud, and this song is the epitome of a good time live. Just like the early days of the band, in smaller clubs with a sole guitar, Carrabba ended the night-stroll-down-memory-lane with a call-and-return of those iconic, lovable, sixteen-year-old lyrics.

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