The rain started just minutes before Dashboard Confessional emerged from its trailer and headed -- cue huge cheers from the audience -- to City Hall Plaza's summer concert stage on Thursday night. By the time the emo kingpins had dispensed two familiar old songs, ``The Sharp Hint of New Tears" and ``The Good Fight," it was pouring.
Despite being a free show, no one left. After all, audiences don't come more devout than Dashboard Confessional's.
It's been a while since Dashboard was on tour and not just gigging occasionally -- though founding member and frontman Chris Carrabba toured solo last fall . For years, Carrabba and Dashboard were nearly synonymous.
Dashboard Confessional finally has a follow-up to it s 2003's mainstream breakthrough album , `A Mark, a Mission, a Brand, a Scar," due out June 27 and with the pretty title ``Dusk and Summer."
But Carrabba and his five on stage musicians weren't in new album mode here. When the band returns to play the Opera House on Aug. 13, songs from the new album will undoubtedly be abundant, but on Thursday the new disc's first single, the emotive rocker ``Don't Wait," was the only debut.
Instead the strong and beautiful concert was filled with older numbers like "The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most," which was performed acoustically by Carrabba and guitarist John Lefler; ``Am I Missing," with its nervy catcall chorus; and mainstay angst ballad ``Screaming Infidelities." The latter, as usual, became a huge sing-along: ``Your hair is everywhere," sympathized the wet audience.
At one point, Carrabba lit into the rousing chorus of Phantom Planet's ``California," just as he did when he played Avalon last fall. But an airy and aching cover of Radiohead's ``Fake Plastic Trees" was much fresher.
One notable band addition was violinist Susan Sherouse, who added tender haunting tones to ``Trees" and the spare introduction to a richly textured ``For You to Notice." Following the triumphant closing anthems ``Vindicated" and ``Hands Down," Dashboard left the stage and the rain immediately stopped. Just like that.
As the clouds gathered earlier, opening quartet As Fast As blazed through a short set of melodic pop-rock.