Armed with only 2 guitars, Chris Carrabba drove many in his audience to the brink of tears when he wore his heart on his sleeve while serenading the audience with his heartfelt and sentimental lyrics during his solo acoustic show at the Shine Auditorium on Dec 4.

You could say he lived out his declaration at his press conference earlier that afternoon at Carlton City Hotel, when he said, “Dashboard Confessional is about having an emotion connection.”

The lead singer and guitarist of the emo/indie rock band played a 90-minute stripped down set, inspiring a rush of emotions among the 700-strong crowd of mainly young adults, as they embraced the special connection shared with the passionate performer on a night of rawness, intimacy and perfect harmonies

Dressed casually in a grey long-sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans, Carrabba kicked off of his All Request Tour with “The Sharp Hint Of New Tears”, which was not only the first song he wrote for Dashboard Confessional but also the one that led to the band’s name.

It was a good vocal warm up for the crowd, who essentially became the backing choir throughout the night right from the first strum. “You guys sing the lead and I’ll do the backing vocals,” he offered upon sensing their overwhelming enthusiasm.

“You guys sound so good,” he remarked, visibly thrilled by and delighting fans who were belting out whole verses and choruses.

A masterful guitarist and vocalist, the former special education teacher endeared himself thanks also to his refreshing sense of humor.

“This guitar is so new it still thinks it’s a tree,” the Connecticut native shared, holding the audience’s attention even while tuning his instrument.

If that wasn’t funny enough, how about “these songs are written by a very handsome man. Okay, I’m half kidding”.  This became his unintended joke of the night as the gig transformed into a stand up comedy for a few moments.

Known for not having a fixed set list and staying true to his All Request Tour, Carrabba promised prior to the show to take requests from the crowd. Naturally, fan-faves, like “Stolen”, “Vindicated”, “The Best Deception”, and “Hands Down”, could be heard shouted from every corner of the auditorium.


To calm them down, the seasoned performer said, “I don’t want to rush things. It’s been almost 2 years (February 2012) since I last saw you guys (at the Esplanade).”

While introducing Twin Forks(a folk-rock band formed by Carrabba in 2011) by playing 2 distinctively different songs: “Cross My Mindand Back To You,he  hinted at a possible return next year.

The 23 songs he delivered went beyond Dashboard Confessional or Twin Forks fare as the entertainer included a cover of Cory Branan’s Tall Green Grass” as well as a surprise rendition of “Mean” by Taylor Swift, whom he had revealed as one of his celebrity crushes alongside Jennifer Love Hewitt and Sarah Michelle Gellarduring his press conference earlier.

Just as the fans were waiting anxiously for their requests to be finally played, Carrabba wisely saved that exact moment to end with “Stolen”and “Vindicated”, a number you’re definitely familiar with if you’ve watched Spider-Man 2back in 2004.

Piercing chants of “one more song” erupted immediately, fueled by nearly 2 years worth of pent-up fan frustration, as the singer exited the stage only to reappear shortly after. He asked the fans to share the stage with him by requesting them to sit around him as he created the last, but most magical moment of the night with “Hands Down”.

If you were part of that intimate experience, you’d certainly agree that it was one of the best nights of 2013, hands down.

 Set list:

  1. The Sharp Hint of New Tears
  2. The Brilliant Dance
  3. Again I Go Unnoticed
  4. Saints and Sailors
  5. Screaming Infidelities
  6. As Lovers Go
  7. Tall Green Grass (Cory Branan cover)
  8. The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
  9. The Good Fight
  10.  So Impossible
  11. Carry This Picture
  12. Mean (Taylor Swift cover)
  13. The Swiss Army Romance
  14. Cross My Mind (Twin Forks’ song)
  15. This Bitter Pill
  16. Am I Missing
  17. The Best Deception
  18. Remember to Breathe
  19. Don’t Wait
  20. Back to You (Twin Forks’ song)
  21. Stolen
  22. Vindicated
  23. Hands Down (Encore)