Just hours before Augustana, Dashboard Confessional, and Third Eye Blind Took stage, phones across northeast Missouri were blowing up with tornado warnings, severe weather alerts, and flash flood warnings. The only atmospheric instability I could witness was the convergence of bros and emos at The Uptown Theater in Kansas City. Despite the clash of clichés among the crowd everyone was just as damp as one another and just as excited to witness what Chris Carrabba, lead singer for Dashboard Confessional, referred to as “The best show they’ve played all year.” If you haven’t heard already Dashboard Confessional and Third Eye Blind are co headlining a huge tour across the US and Dashboard fans everywhere are rejoicing. This is the first major tour for Dashboard Confessional since Chris Carrabba embarked on his solo expeditions in 2010.
Augustana opened the stage at The Uptown with their new single “Ash and Ember” and it was obvious the crowd was immediately attracted. Dan Layus opened that stage with his amazing voice and set a tone that was almost hard to be matched. The set was only six songs long but that didn’t hold Augustana back one bit. Dan Layus is not the only one to deserve praise, each member of the band was obviously putting forth a hundred and ten percent. Each time someone took the mic you could see the passion flowing through them. Augustana may have been the spark that lit what was about to be a fire storm at The Uptown Theater. The set ended with their critically acclaimed hit “Boston”. When Dan Layus set his guitar to the side everyone knew what was in store. Dan took the piano and signed farewell to Kansas City with his angelic vocals. It wasn’t seconds after Augustana exited the stage that one thing became immediately clear. The crowd was overcome with excitement as they knew Dashboard Confessional was about to take the stage.
While the stagehands and crew were prepping the stage for Dashboard Confessional I got the pleasure of speaking with St. Louis native and Dashboard Confessional diehard. Kelsey had been to fifteen or so Dashboard shows in the past nine years. Despite the bands break Kelsey was just as excited to see them live again considering this was her second or third time seeing Dashboard this year. The Kansas City stop for this tour may have been one of the only inside venues for Dashboard, which may have contributed to the explosive set but I don’t want to downplay what I was about to witness. Dashboard Confessional took the stage to the Top Gun soundtrack which I hope was to commemorate the 4th of July either way, very rad. From the very first song the crowd was fully engaged. I mean normally you see a crowd engaged at a show but, no. This was clearly a different type of engagement. Chris Carrabba was not just singing to a crowd he was singing right beside them. Almost every word was matched by hundreds of fans. After the second song and the vocal engagement by the crowd Chris Carrabba suggested just sticking to the old stuff for a while which they did. This is when things really started to take off. Every member of Dashboard was feeding off the Kansas City crowds vibes. It’s one thing to hear a musician talk about the rush of being on stage and playing for a crowd but when it’s visually clear a band delivering the same amount of energy they are receiving it is truly a masterpiece. About the fifth or sixth song Dashboard transitioned into a little bit of an acoustic sound and the guitarist took seat behind the piano.
This transisition although not permanent didn’t change the level of excitement one bit. The crowd at The Uptown Theater was just as excited as when they first took stage. When it was time for Dashboard to play “Belle of the Boulevard” Kelsey told me this was the first time she has seen Chris Carrabba take the piano on stage. This could’ve been attributed to the fact it looked like Chris was running on high feeding off the intensity by the crowd. With every member back behind the helm of their own instruments Dashboard didn’t stop delivering. The stage was set with the tours own lighting and the atmosphere was high from the beginning of the show. Dashboard Confession even played a Twin Forks, “Back to You” song (Chris Carrabba’s new band with some of his family). It wasn’t a song everyone knew much like before but the crowd still visibly enjoyed it. I started to lose track of the following songs by Dashboard, their set was amazing and also pretty long. Alex LeCavalier from Third Eye Blind took the stage along side Dashboard for their sixteenth song in the set, “Vindicated”. It was a riot by this time, everyone was not ready for them to stop playing. Before playing their last song Chris Carrabba had to address a serious issue. This was one of his best days ever, playing for Kansas City was truly one of the best shows of the year for them. The crowd loved Dashboard as much as Dashboard loved them. Chris was even wearing a heart KC shirt which was provided by Kelsey, the diehard from St. Louis, who immediately exited the crowd after Dashboard exited the stage. (Hometown pride, the shirts are made by a local KC company called “Charlie Hustle”) I could have left at this point and been just as satisified, I’m glad I didn’t, but this was truly the peak of the show.
Third Eye Blind opened in the dark, silhouettes of the alt rock, pop, post grunge band members were starting to come to life as they opened with a classic. The atmosphere was still high and at this point the crowd really started to push forward to experience some old memories. Third Eye Blind opened with “Graduate” and the lighting made it tricky for Josh to shoot but it didn’t take away from the set. Front man Stephan Jenkins started the set off behind the dismal lighting high on a podium but it wasn’t two songs into the set that he began to wrangle the stage and make it his own. Third Eye Blind, in my opinion could not match what could have been Dashboard Confessionals best show on the tour, but they certainly displayed their amazing ability to play. Stephen was killing the mic and also wearing a hoodie and shorts. It was great in my opinion. Stephen Jenkins was raw and unabided. Stephen alongside each diligent band member finished the crowd off and left people wanting more. It was a blast from the past and it couldn’t have gone better for Third Eye Blind.
The Uptown Theater was so full I’m confident it was sold out, which with the weather conditions provided may have hindered attendance for any other line up. The Third Eye Blind, Dashboard Confessional tour may be one of the best tours running this year. If you are considering making the trip to a show near you, don’t be selfish, you’re going to want to share this experience with a friend. If you cannot make it check out all the photos here to relive the amazing Kansas City experience.
3rd Eye Blind
Photos by Josh Chaikin
Review by Kyle “Speedy” Scranton”