Confessions, Unplugged

“So this is Dashboard Confessional Unplugged, which might be redundant. Thank you guys for coming,” Chris Carrabba, the lead singer/guitarist of the acoustic band Dashboard Confessional, said to a studio full of his own adoring fans.

Dashboard Confessional MTV Unplugged was released with a bonus DVD, which appropriately showcases the band’s ability to animate a crowd. Viewers might find themselves more engrossed in the crowd’s performance than the band itself.

The record’s personal, unfiltered sound plays out well on the home stereo. The spine-chilling sound of the audience never missing a note is essential to experiencing a live Dashboard show.

The Unplugged album laces tracks from previous Dashboard releases, while combining the raw sound of acoustic instruments, a touch of humor and an audience that may be too emotional for the average person to handle.

So grab your marshmallows and roasting weenies and get ready for a Carrabba campfire style sing-along.

The allure of Dashboard lies solely in Carrabba’s honest lyrics and heart-wrenching vocals. The band also has a solid reputation of triggering a crowd to sing along, and the crowd that crammed into the MTV studio for the show was just that type. It makes you wonder if they have a subversive screening process for all Dashboard shows, or if all of their fans are simply obsessed.

Whether it’s nodding their heads and tapping their feet or singing along with an occasional fist pounding the air, the Dashboard crowd is noticeably devoted to the band’s music.

Why are Dashboard fans so diehard?

It’s probably because the band’s own enthusiasm can electrify any crowd. The music is heartfelt, and it shows on Carrabba’s face as he performs. He often steps away from the microphone and sings along with the audience, allowing the audience to empathize.

This can be a drawback when it comes to listening to the audio CD — key verses to songs are frequently heard being sung by audience members. But true Dashboard fans know that their own voices normally drown out Carrabba’s, anyway.

The last four songs of the concert recording are the most enticing and uplifting, led into by a painfully slowed “The Brilliant Dance.” The crowd welcomes “Screaming Infidelities” with open arms, never mind its sinful popularity, and bounces along to “Saints And Sailors” and “Again I Go Unnoticed.”

Before the final song, Carrabba mumbled, “This song is about the best day I ever had.” Fans who heard that song introduction before knew that “Hands Down” was coming and cheered wildly.

Those who are not Dashboard fans may enjoy watching the DVD to figure out what all the fuss is about. But those who are already fans might be overjoyed to bring this concert experience home.

So go ahead, push the DVD into your Playstation 2, blast the volume and wipe away your emo-tional tears, kids, and cheer up.

Contact Andrea Papadopoulosat