The All American Rejects
Date: July 13, 2017
Location: The Pacific Amphitheatre
I contemplated attending this concert for days but ended up attending on a whim. Dashboard Confessional had embarked on a second tour this year bringing The All American Rejects along with them. This show happened to be their first stop of this new tour; which also marked the last pre-concert before the Orange County Fair began. Parking turned not to be as horrid as I imagined,thank goodness. I bought my ticket onsite – how did this concert not sellout! – ready for an adventure. The warm weather produced the perfect conditions to view an outside concert. Summer will not official begin for me until I’ve attended a concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre. This tradition beget three years upon seeing Juanes and I continued the following year with The Offspring concert last year. All my experiences at the venue have been pleasant so wouldn’t I go every year? Well back to talking about the concert at foot.
Precisely at 7:15 pm The All American Rejects hit the stage ready to rock. All the members of the band – Chris Gaylor (drums), Mike Kennerty (rhythm guitar), Nick Wheeler (lead guitar), Tyson Ritter (vocals, bass), and Scott “Scotty” Chesak (keyboards) – took a “grown up” approach this evening by wearing suits…well almost all of them. Ritter did wear a professional vest, with no other shirt which exposed his chest and arms. As the majority of the audience, I attended the concert to relive the nostalgia this band means to me. During my freshman year of high school I became introduced to the band. I started school in the fall of 2005 right around the time when Dirty Little Secrets received regular rotation on MTV. Those were the best days when the channel would introduce me to new bands. Ever since I viewed their music video I’ve been hooked to this pop punk band. Last year I had the great fortunate to see the band for the first time when they opened for blink-182. The band were great, loved every minute of it, but being in the nosebleed section I could hardly see them. This time around with better seats I had my second chance to take decent photos of them. The band began their set performing Swing, Swing to the screams of the fans. The moment the chords of this song were first played a wave of nostalgia hit me like a ton of bricks. “Swing, Swing from the tangles of, My heart is crushed by a former love. Can you help me find a way, To carry on again.” Singing the chorus along with everyone in the audience built a feeling of inclusiveness. It’s odd to explain but through the night no one felt like an outsider this night.
Ritter, the humorous man he is, would tell us jokes from time to time. A favorite of mine is when he compared tonight’s nostalgia to an apple shaped dildo. With this being an emo concert, many in the audience were decked out in their emo attire. A fact which went unnoticed by Ritter who singled out a couple with colorful hair. The man had orange hair while the woman’s was blue. Ritter compared their hair colors remarking how the orange represented sunrise while the blue represented the night sky. Goes to show that sometimes opposites do attract. Soon the band performed their biggest hit to date, Dirty Little Secret. My eyes stayed glued on stage as every member of the band gave it their all. Memory snippets of high school consumed me of freshman year when I had discussions regarding the band with fellow classmates. Scenes of the music video came to my mind as well. As I lost myself the performance sadly came to an end.
The fun continued as the band played some of their biggest hits including It Ends Tonight. Following this track the band played new song from their upcoming EP. Once the band made this announcement one could hear murmurs in the crowd “No new songs! Play only the old ones.” The band played the live debut of their newest single called Sweat. It had been precisely a month when they released the single on June 13th. Behind the band stood an enormous wall made up of what I assume to be sheets. In the middle of this wall stood a tall grey triangle. During the song on the triangle portion of the wall visuals popped up that showed the outlines of a woman wearing panties as she walked. To be clear, the visuals were not a of a real woman just a silhouette of one. After this fun performance the band continued playing their classics with an energetic performance of Move Along. This caused everyone in the venue to stand on their feet as they moved along to the song. They debuted a second song during their setlist with Close Your Eyes. I’ll be honest in that I did not enjoy this song. Not to say it’s terrible, I didn’t enjoy this mature, serious take they were going for. To be fair I thought the same thing back in 2003 when blink-182’s music matured. It took me a while to warm up to it, but I think in due time I’ll enjoy this song in the future. Another factor of why I didn’t enjoy this performance is that this is the slowest song during their set which didn’t fit along with the rest of the songs. The band did end the night on a high note with Gives You Hell.
After a short period of time Dashboard Confessional crashed their way on stage. The bands presence could be felt the instance they stepped foot on stage. The band played one of their biggest hits to date; Vindicated best known as the theme song for Spider-Man 2. The red, dark lighting created a sense of power as Carrabba conveyed his emotions for all to see. Memories flooded upon seeing Chris Carrabba when he took the mic. Carrabba this evening wore all black – regardless of the warm Southern California – with his hair slicked back. The tattoos on both of his arms were out were exhibited for all. The other members of Dashboard Confessional – AJ Cheek (lead guitar), Ben Homola (drums), and Scott Schoenbeck (bass) – were magnificent, however to be honest all of my attention on set was purely on Carrabba.
Carrabba exceeded all of my expectations as he displayed such strong charismatic manners. Through the night he continuously demonstrated his ability to sing notes for an extraordinary long time. There were two incidents where he sang and held a single note for around a minute I kid you not. Stolen received the biggest reaction by the crowd, not surprisingly though. I’ve always had a soft spot for this song back in my hopeless romantic years. I thought the lyrics were so beautiful with it being one of the best love songs I’ve heard. I credit this song in my discovery and eventual love of emo bands. It might have caused me to undergo a short emo phase, nevertheless I enjoyed it. I recorded portion of the chorus and sent it to my sweetheart…I just had to. Even though he’s never heard the song, I have constantly thought of him listening to it now. I believed that would be the highlight of the concert, but no more great surprised for in store.
My favorite part of concerts is when artists do acoustic versions of their songs. The simplicity of the singer just playing guitar gives their performance a warmth feeling, while also making it more intimate. The artists is baring their soul to us, they’re exposing themselves to us. Carrabba did just that evening as he performed three acoustic versions of the bands songs; The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, Ghost Of A Good Thing, and Heart Beat Here. The hits continued to come in afterwards. He did the The Cure’s Just Like Heaven justice as he played it towards the end of the night. The band ended the night with an encore consisting of Hands Down. To introduce the song Carrabba made a passionate speech to the audience. His speech went along the lines of how everyone here is not an outsider, we’re all here sharing a moment. of course ended his speech with a disdain for Trump, didn’t think it was possible but love him even more! Hands Down went on for an incredible long time with everyone in the audience up on their feet. Soon the magnificent song came to an end, leaving the night on a memorable note.
Dashboard Confessional Setlist
2. The Sharp Hint of New Tears
3. Saints and Sailors
4. The Best Deception
6. We Fight
7. The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most
8. Ghost Of A Good Thing
9. Heart Beat Here
10. Don’t Wait
11. Again I Go Unnoticed
12. The Good Fight
13. Remember To Breathe
14. Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)
15. Screaming Infidelities
16. Hands Down
The All American Rejects Setlist
1. Swing, Swing
2. Fallin’ Apart
3. My Paper Heart
4. Dirty Little Secret
5. Kids In The Street
6. I Wanna
7. There’s A Place
8. It Ends Tonight
9. Sweat (Live debut)
10. Move Along
11. Close Your Eyes
12. Gives You Hell
- 3rd concert at the Pacific Amphitheatre.
- 1st time seeing Dashboard Confessional.
- 2nd time seeing The All American Rejects.