A mind-blowing band called Switchfoot
Switchfoot: verb. a surfing term meaning to switch your feet and face the opposite direction
Switchfoot: noun. a Christian band playing music that captures the human condition
I had no idea who or what Switchfooot was when I first heard about them in 2008 while they were on tour across the world. Eight years later, I knew of them, but I rarely listened to their music, preferring Tenth Avenue North, Third Day, and OneRepublic. It was only this past semester that I began to listen to them more. I bought their compilation of greatest hits “The Best Yet” and was pleasantly surprised by the depth of their lyrics, the quality of their music, and the style of the lead singer Jon Foreman.
As I was discovering them, I heard that Switchfoot was on tour with Relient K and would be performing in OKC. Since the day I heard about concerts, I have longed to watch one of my favorite bands play live but wistfully sighed as they never came close enough for me to go. Knowing that I finally had the chance to watch a band play live, I convinced some friends to shell out the cash for a ticket and go with me.
We arrived at the concert about an hour and a half before the doors were to open, and (thankfully) only a couple dozen people stood ahead of us in line. Some of us waited in line while the others bought food and brought it back to us.
Packed in like sardines, a huge group of fans stood before the stage; and because we had arrived early, we secured a spot close to the front, only nine or ten rows back.
The show left me speechless. It’s one thing to listen to a band’s music on your phone or computer, but it is entirely different to watch them perform 15 yards from you, especially when aforementioned band is Switchfoot.
First of all, the lead, Jon Foreman, possesses great showmanship; he is captivating to watch. When Switchfoot plays, he roams all over the stage–back-to-back with his brother Tim one moment, leaping from a raised platform another, singing from Chris Butler’s bass drum another, swinging the microphone stand another–the entire time singing with passion ringing in his voice. Twice, he hopped off the stage mid-song and climbed the barrier, steadying himself with the help of some fans, and sang. Once, he climbed over the barricade and walked into the throng of sweaty, cheering fans, shaking hands as he waded through the mass. I almost got a handshake but missed it by one hand. Towards the end of the concert, he surfed the crowd, something I managed to help out in. Between songs, he would talk to us as if he were sitting across from a friend at a coffee shop. When he was not climbing across the barricade or darting across the stage, Foreman enjoined us to sing with the band. When we sang with them, we were no longer a wall Switchfoot was singing at but another part of the band.
If the showmanship of Foreman didn’t captivate me, then the light show definitely did. Clearly, a great deal of planning went into designing the light show. Some of the songs made extensive use of the lights, with the lights pulsating with the music and flashing red, green, blue, and gold. Other songs hardly used the lights, using the lights occasionally but with a huge effect on the song.
Regardless of how great the light show was or how well Foreman fronted, the band played with superb skill. Because my foray into the world of Switchfoot had only begun recently, I have barely scratched the surface of their music (Since the inception of the band, they have released twelve albums). Their concert introduced me to songs I had not heard before and helped me appreciate other songs much more.
I would go to another Switchfoot concert in a heartbeat. It was that fun, and they are that good.