Friday, October 21, 2011

The Switchfoot Concert



Two weeks ago my guy and I went to the Switchfoot Concert. It is his favorite band and we went a couple of days before his birthday as his present.

I knew that he liked this band but had never really listened to their music before. I had checked out many of their CD’s from the library and had been listening to them in the car and on my MP3 player. They were growing on me, but I wasn’t feeling super passionate about them.

The concert was up in Boulder and was all general admission. We were able to get seats up in the balcony, which was much better than standing with all the college kids in the mosh pit atmosphere down on the floor. We are getting up there in age! They guy at the door was checking id's as it was an over 21 concert. I asked if he needed to see ours. He paused and looked up into our faces and said, "Oh no, you can go ahead!" Thanks, I think!

There were two bands before Switchfoot: Atomic Tom and Anberlin, both of which I had not heard of before.

Atomic Tom was mostly a cover band out of New York. They were personable and joked and talked with the crowd.

Anberlin was a little more well-known to other non-novices. They were fairly hard rock: a little too loud and full on bass. They did some unplugged songs in the middle of their set, and I liked those ones very much. I am not one for the super hard rock where all it sounds like is screaming into the microphone. I am such a visual learner and low on the auditory scale. If I cannot hear the words clearly, I really cannot understand them and then I don’t enjoy it as much. But the bald man a couple rows in front of us was rocking out and singing along, so I think it was more his cup of tea!

This is the video for Stars, which is my favorite song of Switchfoot's.

When Switchfoot took the stage, the crowd was delighted. I was glad too. They played almost all songs I knew, except a few towards the end that were from their newest CD, Vice Verses, which I had only picked up at the library that morning. They played my favorite of their songs, Stars, as the second song, so I was very happy about that.

The thing that moved me the most, and it surprised me that it moved me so much, was when the lead singer, Jon Foreman, got down into the crowd for two whole songs. He wasn’t crowd surfing; he was actually walking in and amongst all of the people, letting them touch him and hold his hands. He stopped and stood on a railing at two different points. Prior to entering the crowd, he had a conversation with a man holding a sign with two of their album names on it, one on either side. He said he enjoyed the memories the sign evoked. I just found it so moving that he was developing relationships with these people. It wasn’t just the band on stage putting on a dog and pony show. They were there for the fans.

This is one of the songs he sang while down in the crowd: Dare You to Move.


Despite the bone jarring bass and the ringing in my ears for the next 24 hours, I actually really enjoyed myself. My guy had a great time as well. He hadn’t been able to go to the concert last year and was very disappointed about that. He was ecstatic that we were able to go. I am not even sure how many times he thanked me for the concert and the company.  The only thing I really wanted to do that I would seriously never have done is to offer Jon Foreman a barrette. I know so silly and so very mom of me! He just had this longer hair that kept falling into his eyes and he continuously swept it to the side. I did lean over and ask my guy, “Is it wrong that I want to offer him a barrette?” He just laughed!


My guy and I have this goofy tradition of taking a self portrait when we are at a major event together. There are two funny things about this picture. 1. The flash on my guy's cell phone was blinding! We are both laughing because we are trying to hold our eyes open! A previous picture didn't turn out because both of our eyes are closed from flash shock. 2. The guy behind us is smiling like the Cheshire Cat and was trying to be in the picture. He asked if he made it into the picture after we took it. We had a short, funny conversation with him. We tried to take a third picture, but could never keep our eyes open long enough because the flash was literally blinding us!


I felt that I had done my due diligence before we had gone by checking out the CD’s. However, once we were there, I found myself asking myself lots more questions about this band. What does Switchfoot mean? How did they come together? How long have they been playing? How many CD’s have they released? I knew they were a band that kind of walks the line as far as Christian music is concerned. They never really mention Jesus or God in their songs by name, but the meaning is often there. They are certainly not preachy, for which I am thankful. I love that their message is overwhelmingly positive. They are edgy and rock-n-roll. In concert, they are loud and full of bass beats that rock your whole body.

I looked up some information on them on Wikipedia. They are a band out of San Diego. Switchfoot is a surfing term to express what happens when one foot is moved in front of the other switching balance from the foot in front to the foot that was in the back but is now in the front. It’s a balancing term. John Foreman and his brother, Tim, started the band with drummer, Chad Butler. They eventually added two more members, Jerome Fontamillas and Drew Shirley. Their music has been featured in several movies: A Walk to Remember (Only Hope, You, Learning to Breathe, and Dare You to Move), The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (This is Home), and The Passion of the Christ (On Fire). Jon Foreman doesn’t necessarily follow the distinction of the band being called a “Christian Rock Group.” He likes to think of Christianity as a faith not a genre. "We've always been very open and honest about where the songs are coming from. For us, these songs are for everyone. Calling us 'Christian rock' tends to be a box that closes some people out and excludes them, and that's not what we're trying to do. Music has always opened my mind—and that's what we want.”

 I just love that statement. Sometimes Christianity is so exclusive when really it should be the most inclusive thing around! I had even been telling my guy earlier that night about the Christian radio station here in the Denver Metro area and how in the early 80’s, I remember that they would not play any Christian music that included heavy drums or bass guitar. I also remember how scornful they were of Amy Grant when she released a secular album. They even stopped playing her Christian songs for a while because they felt she had turned her back on Christianity by releasing more worldly songs. I think it would be a heavy cross to bear (yes, pun intended) to be labeled a ‘Christian’ band. I think Switchfoot has done a lovely job of getting out a positive message while not passing judgment on others.

This is another great song of theirs, This is Your Life. I have been playing it for Hannah and trying to help her understand that she is the one in control of where her life is going as well as she needs to learn to be the best Hannah she can be, not a Hannah of someone else's creation. She really loves the song and sings along every time it is played. She says she does want to decide what she wants to be and to be the best Hannah she can be. In addition, this is a video of them performing live, so you can see how he tries to connect to the crowd. It is really nice that it is not just about the dance routines and how sexy someone can look, but rather that they are there to connect with the fans. In this one he sings into someone's video camera. In the concert we were at, there were a couple of times when he wore a hat or two from people in the crowd and then handed them back.

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