Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional at The Caverns in Pelham, TN

Jimmy Eat World @ The Caverns, Pelham | Photo by Zach Birdsong

Nostalgia, singalongs and dad jokes galore were featured when Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional played a sold-out show at The Caverns.

Sydney Sprague led the night, but even before she and her backing band played a note, the crowd was already groaning. As she introduced herself, Sprague couldn’t help but make a cheesy joke, with the line, “You may not have heard of us because we are underground.” The only thing missing was a rim shot from her drummer for the added effect. Save that for the next time that she plays The Caverns. 

Musically speaking, though, there was no audible groan from the crowd. In fact, the audience seemed engaged throughout Sprague’s 30-minute set, leading to plenty of smiles from her and her backing band.

Fifteen minutes later, it was time for the first headliner of the night. As the light’s dimmed, Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba took the stage with just his guitar to perform an acoustic and solo version of “The Brilliant Dance.” Sensing that the crowd was ready for the older classics, the rest of the band joined him on stage to head on a trip down memory lane. 

Throughout the nearly 90-minute set, Dashboard Confessional made sure to play all of the fan-favorites and included some newer tracks. In late February, under the Dashboard Confessional name, Carrabba released the band’s latest record, All the Truth That I Can Tell

During the band’s set, it was evident Carrabba was elated to be performing for a live audience as he cracked jokes with the fans in the front row. A child in the crowd caught the Dashboard Confessional frontman’s eye, and he asked if this was the first time in The Caverns for the audience member. After getting a “yes” reply, Carrabba was eager to make the quip about the band’s two-date set in Pelham, stating, “This is my second show here, the first of which was last night.”  

Carrabba even made sure to razz himself during a performance of “The Better of Me,” a track from  the band’s newest album. According to the singer, the first performance of that tune in The Caverns on Friday didn’t go so well, as he mixed up the lyrics. He made up for it on Saturday, getting the words correct, even if they were taped on stage for him to read. 

With 14 songs already performed, Dashboard Confessional concluded their set with two fan-favorites that turned in a boisterous singalong. The first tune included “Vindicated,” which was featured on the Spiderman 2 soundtrack, followed by emo classic “Hands Down.” As the closing notes rang through the amplifiers, Carrabba raised his guitar to the audience, saying goodbye before heading off stage. 

Like the previous two bands, the members of Jimmy Eat World were in good spirits, and it was evident early into the set. Even before addressing the audience, once the lights went up, frontman Jim Adkins was all smiles as he looked out into the sold-out crowd. But just like Sprague and Carrabba, Adkins couldn’t resist a cheesy pun. According to the Jimmy Eat World singer, when he gets questions about what type of music his group plays, “I tell them I play underground rock music.” After some audience members cheered and some groaned, Adkins laughed, “Uh-huh, yeah, I just did that.” 

From the moment that Jimmy Eat World took the stage, the crowd was also in high spirits, as the group made it clear early that the majority of their set was focusing on fan-favorites. The band began their set with the optimistic “Futures.” The band followed with a darker tune in “Pain” before staying on that same pattern with the title-track from the 2001 record Bleed American. With those three tracks leading off, the audience was hooked for the remainder of the performance. 

Throughout their nearly 75-minute set, Jimmy Eat World made sure to incorporate songs throughout their 20-plus year career. Even after all these years, the group’s impact resonates with the fans, and the crowd on hand showered the group with their appreciation. As the band performed their final four songs of the night, the audience was the most vocal it had been all night. The catchy “Sweetness” got the most reaction of the night, as it seemed like every single member of the 1,000-plus fans joined in the singalong. 

Before exiting the stage, Adkins thanked the fans for making the trek to The Caverns. “This has been an amazing experience,” Adkins said. “I hope you guys all had a lot of fun, and I hope you all had a great time tonight,” before waving goodbye to the crowd. 

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About Zach Birdsong 39 Articles
A current communications specialist with a background in journalism, where he served as a multiple award-winning newspaper editor, photographer and designer. In eight years, he received 18 awards from the Tennessee Press Association, the majority of which stems from his photography. He's also been fortunate enough to have had photos used by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vanity Fair, Vogue Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and more.