Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Dashboard Confessional

The crowd started to gather as early as three o’clock in the afternoon. Waiting anxiously and patiently among the crowd, you could feel the excitement building.

It’s not every day that Boca’s hometown hero comes back to his old stomping grounds for a welcome-home concert. I mean, this guy is to South Florida what Bruce Springsteen is to Jersey.

Chris Carrabba, better known as the voice of Dashboard Confessional, graced the stage of the University Center Auditorium on Friday for a special acoustic concert. For the first time, Carrabba played solo at his alma mater and around the corner from the house he grew up in.

This concert was significant for another reason: opening up for Carrabba was his former band, Further Seems Forever. Since parting ways, Carrabba and the band have kept in touch and are still good friends. No hard feelings, especially since they grew up together and are doing just fine on their own.

The fans came from all over to see this once-in-a-lifetime performance. Three individuals in particular (Daniel Hall, Nikki King, and Bekka Reese) drove 13 hours all the way from Tennessee to see their favorite crooner. One of the main reasons for doing so, said University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student Daniel Hall, was because he wanted to see him play in his hometown. Bekka Reese, also a student of UTC, said, “I’m hoping he’ll play some songs with Further Seems Forever.”

“It’s gonna be one of the more amazing shows,” added Nikki King.

Although the crowd was peppered with college students, the majority of the crowd was made up of high school-aged students and younger. I guess underage groupies are just a part of being a superstar. Although a hefty jail sentence might result if he took any of them backstage, I’m sure he doesn’t mind the attention.

The crowd was jam-packed with underage admirers, some with homemade T-shirts displaying their affection, some with T-shirts they purchased at the show, and some even came equipped with parental supervision. Mary and Emily Cross are a mother/daughter duo who have seen Dashboard in concert once before.

Fifteen-year-old Emily’s mother took her daughter to see Dashboard the last time and before the concert was over, she was a fan herself. “I liked the way he interacted with the crowd,” said Mary Cross. “He seemed like a real person”.

This happened to be at four o’clock in the afternoon, a good four hours before show time. When she was asked why she was willing to wait so long, she responded, “My daughter has to be in the front row to see Chris.” One concert and she’s already on a first name basis with the musician-interesting.

I guess it’s the way he talks to his fans and the crowd that they have this certain connection with him. Anyone who has been to a Dashboard show or knows anything about them knows that Carrabba only does about half the vocals and the crowd fills in the rest.

Another mommy/daughter combo was on hand waiting to see the show. Laura Adair from Jupiter and her daughter, Rebecca, were also waiting anxiously for the auditorium doors to open. “I want to marry Chris Carrabba,” said 13-year-old Rebecca.

Marriage seemed to be a common theme among the young Dashboard fans. Sixteen-year-old Jules Joudry along with her 17-year-old buddy, Mary Ester Flowers, claimed, “One of us is going to marry him tonight.” Tonight? Ladies, these things take time; only fools rush in.

Chatting with all these young ladies ready to race to the altar really made me realize the influence Britney Spears has on our youth. But enough about nonsensical nuptials, there’s a Dashboard show on the horizon.

By the time 5 o’clock rolled around, the box office had run out of tickets. Considering the University Center Auditorium only holds around 2,300,it was no surprise. The University Center lobby was filled with desperate fans trying to get their hands on a ticket.

From what I could gather, I’d say only a small percentage of those awaiting entry were FAU students. In fact, I’d say only a small percentage of those in attendance were old enough to be in college. That doesn’t matter though, because rock has no age limit, just ask Avril Levigne. But enough about the crowd, on with the show.

Further Seems Forever took the stage promptly at 8 o’clock. They, too, hail from South Florida, with some band members from Boca. So this was a welcome-home concert for them as well. They didn’t play long, a little over a half hour.

But before they left the stage, the man of the hour, Chris Carrabba, joined them and treated the crowd to what they wanted to see: two songs with his ex-bandmates.

In the first song, he was the sole vocalist. For the second song, Carrabba and Further’s lead singer, Jason Gleason, performed a rock duet. You could tell he had a connection with the band when he performed with them.

They looked as comfortable as if they were putting on an old pair of sneakers. Gleason, the band’s lead singer, has certainly changed the face of the band since Carrabba’s departure. Besides the fact that Gleason is about two feet taller than Carrabba, he also has a different sound. As opposed to Carrabba’s soothing, melodic voice, Gleason carries a more edgy tune. But that’s fine, the two seem to be doing well on their own.

After leaving the stage with Further Seems Forever, Carrabba left the crowd wanting more.

Well, it wasn’t long after the hors d’oeuvres were served that it was time for the main course. Carrabba took the stage to an overwhelming amount of hoots and cheers.

The hometown crowd had waited in line all day for this moment and they let him hear it. He took the stage with his guitar strapped on and ready to give the crowd a sick show. He opened up with “Saints and Sailors” just to get things going. However, it was during the chorus of his second song, which repeated the words “I’m home” that the crowd could really feel that he was at ease and that he had come to put on a hell of a show.

Carrabba played for nearly two hours with only one break for an encore. He played some old, some new and a few covers. You could really tell he was comfortable and at ease; perhaps that was because a bunch of his childhood friends were in attendance.

His mother was also in the audience, so when the little girls would shout out obscenities involving what they want to do to him, he would remind them that his mom was present. Of course, they also shouted out marriage proposals and things of that nature whenever he paused to take a sip of water.

He paused between almost every song in order to chat with the audience-something he does at most of his concerts, but you could tell that this time it was more intimate. Most of the time he would recall an anecdote that took place no more than a mile or so from where we were gathered.

He disclosed that many of the songs were either written on this very campus about a girl from FAU or while he was attending FAU. It was great! The crowd really got a glimpse at what life was like for him before he became the superstar that we know now. He even gave good old Surf Cafe a shout out.

Of course, no rock show would be complete nowadays without the artist making their political affiliation known. Carrabba did just that but not by preaching or making any sort of right wing statement; simply by stating that he had voted early in the State of Florida for John Kerry.

All in all, it was an awesome show. Carrabba played his heart out and the crowd could tell this was not just another concert for him. FAU freshman and longtime Dashboard fan Andrea Plaza said, “It was the best concert I’ve ever seen in my life.”

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