To be honest, I can’t think of a better lineup than Third Eye Blind, Dashboard Confessional and Augustana. Before I even stepped foot inside The Fillmore Auditorium on Thursday night, I knew I was in for a real treat, but by the end of the night, my expectations were blown away.
Kicking off the night was Augustana, and I’ll be honest - I’m a little biased because before this show, I had been waiting years to see this band live. It seemed that every time Augustana came through Colorado, I missed them, and I was definitely excited to catch them on tour with Dashboard Confessional, who the band has toured with many times. But even without my own personal bias, one thing was certain during Augustana’s set, and that was the crisp, clean and spot-on quality of the vocals. Admittedly, The Fillmore doesn’t have the best sound (I’ve walked away from multiple shows disappointed because the venue’s sound was sub-par compared to other auditoriums) but even from the back of the venue, the vocals seemed to shine, especially on some of the band’s more popular songs, “Boston” and “Sweet And Low.” While there weren’t any particularly crazy or entertaining stage antics, the band’s sound made up for it by miles.
Following Augustana was the return of the band that the majority of fans in the crowd seemed excited for: Dashboard Confessional. Right off the bat, Dashboard’s energy and stage presence was at an all time high, vocalist Chris Crarrabba storming onto the stage with a wide grin before addressing the crowd with an excted, “What’s up mother fuckers?!” Having seen Carrabba’s other project, Twin Forks earlier this year, I thought I knew what to expect from Dashboard Confessional, but it seemed that with a larger stage came more energy, and before long, the venue was exploding and guitarist John Lefler was rolling around on the stage while Carrabba screamed the lyrics to “Saints And Sailors” along with the crowd. With each passing song, the energy both on stage and in the crowd seemed to skyrocket. About halfway through the set, Carrabba’s cousin and Twin Forks bandmate, Shawn Zorn joined the band on stage with a floor tom to perform a cover of Twin Forks’ “Back To You,” which somehow, was even more high energy than the band’s previous songs. Closing out their set with fan favorites, “Stolen,” “Vindicated” and “Hands Down,” Dashboard ended their set with a bang, leaving the stage in shambles and much of the crowd wondering how in the world Third Eye Blind was supposed to top that.
While the energy wasn’t necessarily as high or chaotic for the headliners, Third Eye Blind, it did seem that the venue only got more and more full before the band went on. By the time they kicked off their set with “Faster” and “Graduate,” Third Eye Blind had the full attention of everyone in the crowd. Swapping raw energy for a beautiful production, pretty lights, and a stage presence that was impossible to take your eyes away from, it was apparent that Third Eye Blind wasn’t necessarily trying to compete with or one-up their tour mates, but instead give their fans a memorable and excitingly beautiful experience. Mixing in older hits and newer favorite tracks, Third Eye Blind dominated over The Fillmore Auditorium for seventeen songs (ending their set with “Jumper,” of course) before coming back for a two song encore, which was closed out by the band’s smash hit, “Semi Charmed Life.”
By the time I left the venue, running back to my car to beat the horde of fans that would soon flood the street, I couldn’t help but feel I had just witnessed one of the best performances of the year. Not one band seemed to compete with or outshine the other, as it was all apparent that they were very close friends, happy to be on tour together. Carrabba even covered a segment of Augustana’s “Boston” during Dashboard Confessional’s set before bringing Third Eye Blind keyboardist Alex Kopp out for a song. The amount of joy and fun that the bands put forth on the stage was contagious, and I couldn’t stop smiling all the way home.