I go to a few shows each month, and although I'm always excited to attend (or else I wouldn't), it's rare that I actually get giddy to see a concert. One such occasion was seeing Dashboard Confessional and New Found Glory on their recent acoustic tour. I hadn't been this excited for a show since the Blink 182 reunion. New Found Glory is one of my all-time favorite bands, and they never disappoint live. Although I'm a fan of Dashboard, I had never seen them in concert, but I had heard good things about their shows. Plus the whole tour was acoustic, for which I am a sucker. To add to the appeal -- as if it needed anything else -- the bands were playing small venues. On December 10, 2009, the bands came through The Middle East in Cambridge, MA, and it lived up to high expectations.
Considering New Found Glory concerts are usually high-energy engagements, the band's show translated surprisingly well to an acoustic environment. Their 50-minute set spanned from their early days (busting out "Broken Sound" from their debut album) to their band's latest, Not Without a Fight (surprisingly only one cut, "47"). Some of the songs selected were the slower tempo ones you would expect, but the band also reworked some of their faster songs to fit into the show, such as "Something I Call Personality" and "My Friends Over You." At the end of the latter, the band segued into a cover of Ben Folds Five's "Brick". This lead the band to a conversation about falsetto singing, following which they broke into an impromptu cover of a few bars The Darkness' "I Believe in a Thing Called Love". Their set concluded with the band's rendition of "The Christmas Song".
I thought the band might be a little awkward deviating from their norm, but they had the hang of it at this point on the tour. The guys was their typical fun selves, joking about everything from how they couldn't cover up all of their mistakes when playing acoustic to how drummer Cyrus Bolooki was only allowed in the band because he can play so many instruments. (Bolooki alternated between guitar, keyboard, and various percussion instruments throughout the set.) The band also quipped that they were going by their old monicker, A New Found Glory, with the A standing for acoustic.
While New Found Glory's set was as fun and energetic as always, Dashboard Confessional made it obvious why it was their tour. For these shows, it was frontman Chris Carraba, for whom the ladies swooned, along with guitarist/pianist John Lefler, but the whole crowd sang along to every word of each song (as opposed to NFG, where most people only knew the words to the singles). The crowd-pleasing set was fairly low on dialogue, instead utilizing the (roughly) 75-minute set to play as much material as possible, including some requests. Carraba did mention a few things, including how much he enjoyed playing the smaller venues and the fact that many of his family members were watching from the side of the small stage.
The band opened with a nostalgia-inducing trio of "Brilliant Dance", "Again I Go Unnoticed", and "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most". They went on to play a near-perfect mix of all of their material, including plenty of older songs that aren't often heard. Lefler also played one of his own songs, "Up My Sleeve", and the band covered Ingrid Michaelson's "Breakable." The duo left the stage after playing "Stolen," but the crowd knew they weren't done. They came back out and Carraba announced, "This song's about the best day I've ever had in my whole life." Fans erupted as he strummed the opening notes to the band's biggest hit, "Hands Down". It was fitting, because this intimate show was surely one of the best I've been to in quite some time.
Also be sure to check out all of my photos from the show here.