LIVE: Hello Gone Days Tour at Beak & Skiff

Dashboard Confessional and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness brought their co-headlining Hello Gone Days Tour to the stage at the Beak & Skiff Orchard in Lafayette on Tuesday night. Opening act Armor for Sleep rounded out the lineup. It was a picture-perfect night for an outdoor concert. Seventy degrees, slight breeze, and zero humidity. After the string of brutally hot days, it was a welcomed bit of relief.

New Jersey-based rock band Armor for Sleep hit the stage at 6:30 pm. They played an impressive if too short thirty-minute set. Many of the fans in attendance were familiar with the band’s material, singing along. Singer/guitarist Ben Jorgensen absolutely pummeled his Fender Telecaster, thrashing about and getting into the music. Some opening acts phone it in, not this one. Armor for Sleep was impressive.

After a quick changeover, a sticker-covered piano was wheeled to center stage and Andrew McMahon emerged. McMahon was previously in the bands Something Corporate and Jack’s Mannequin. On this night, backed by a stellar band, he pulled material from all of his projects. He hammered on the piano like a modern-day Jerry Lee Lewis, standing and pounding on the keys. To say that Andrew McMahon knows how to command an audience is an understatement. He jumped on top of his piano and sang from the lofty perch.

The fans ate it up. Roadies brought out an inflatable pool float and McMahon rode atop the float, singing as fans passed him from the front of the stage to the back of the crowd. Toward the end of his set, he simply jumped into the crowd and surfed from front to back. It was great to see an artist that involved in the performance. The highlight of his set was his performance of “Cecelia and the Satellite.” The song was written for McMahon’s young daughter. The crowd erupted with applause when the namesake of the song joined her dad at the microphone to sing her song. In between lines of verse, McMahon would look back at his daughter. The pride in his eyes was palpable. As a father myself, I thought this was such a cool moment for both McMahon and his daughter.

Shortly after 9, Dashboard Confessional took the stage. Singer Chris Carraba stepped to the mic with just a beat-up old Martin acoustic guitar and launched into “The Brilliant Dance” from the 2001 release The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. Moody lighting set the tone as fans sang the song back to Carraba. His band joined him on stage and ran through a sixteen-song set of mostly fan favorites. McMahon joined Carraba on stage for a cover of The Cure’s classic “Just Like Heaven.”

It was perfect.

Dashboard Confessional shows have always been known for the interplay between the band and the fans. Last night was no different. The audience sang at the top of their lungs on songs such as “Screaming Infidelities” and the set-closing “Hands Down.” Twenty-two years after releasing his first record under the Dashboard Confessional moniker, Carraba still knows how to give the fans what they want.

The venue itself couldn’t be any cooler. The stage, nestled at the bottom of a hill, surrounded by apple trees, offered great sightlines from just about anywhere on the property. The sound quality was superb. I can’t wait to get back here for more shows.

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