Switchfoot at the Pima County Fair
Switchfoot at the Pima County Fair 4/22
Let’s hop in the DeLorean for a second and travel back to when I was 12 years old and picking up drum sticks for the first time. I didn’t know what I was doing, but one thing I did know is that I wanted to play some Switchfoot.
Learning To Breath, The Beautiful Letdown and Nothing Is Sound were and still are some of my favorite albums of all time. Even now, I could nearly quote you word-for-word every song of Nothing Is Sound. So it would come as a shock to you that now at age 19, I still had never seen them play live. That all changed yesterday.
Equipped on little sleep and stomachs full of fairground foods, myself and three other friends traversed down to Tucson, Arizona to see Switchfoot thrown down an epic show at the Pima County Fair.
Nearly 20 years since their creation and Switchfoot still knows how to put on a killer show. It wasn’t a large crowd or a particularly energetic one, but to lead singer and guitarist Jon Foreman that didn’t seem to matter. Throughout every song he engaged the audience, drew them in as if there was only 10 of us in a small dark-lit bar. His stories and energetic personality showed that he truly cares about the performance no matter what the setting. Personally, I’m not sure you could put together a better performance given the circumstances.
The band kept it simple playing most songs from their latest two albums: Vice Verses and Fading West. They opened with Say Like You Mean It and went on to play Love Alone Is Worth The Fight, Who We Are, When We Come Alive, and Let It Out all from Fading West. From Vice Verses, they rocked Dark Horses and closed with Where I Belong. They also mixed some excellent covers of Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down and The White Stripes Seven Nation Army.
Personally, the highlight of the concert was when they threw down a superb acoustic version of Only Hope from their 1999 album New Way To Be Human. Of course, they also rocked the fan favorites Stars, Dare You To Move, We Are One Tonight, and Meant To Live.
Every rock band out there right now needs to take a lesson from the book that Switchfoot has written over the past 19 years. That lesson is consistency supported by an incredible stage performance. The Foreman brothers with Chad Butler, Jerome Fontamillas and Andrew Shirley have put out solid album after solid album. Learning To Breath put them on the map and ever since then, not a single album has been bad.
Evidence of this can be found as they have won one Grammy and were nominated for another at very different times. The nomination came in 2001 for Learning To Breath and another ten years later in 2011 was the win for Hello Hurricane. They have altered their sound slightly as needed, but kept the basics the same and as a result they have been one of the most consistent rock bands on the market since their creation in 1996.
The biggest surprise? They don’t seem to be slowing down. Two of their last three albums, Hello Hurricane and Vice Verses, have been some of the best of their long career. And from my taste of their concert atmosphere last night, they still can rock it. Here’s to looking forward to another 19 years from a band that shows us what true love of music looks like.