4/19/06, at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Switchfoot could easily be regarded as Christian music's best example of crossover
success. Since The Beautiful Letdown hit shelves in 2003, the mainstream audience has found
itself in awe of the musical stylings of the now five-piece rock band. The late 2005 release from
Switchfoot, Nothing Is Sound, also proved to be another hit
with the popular singles "Stars" and "We Are One Tonight." So, in further support of the most recent
project, Switchfoot hit the road earlier this year for a second leg of the popular fall tour.
To prepare the crowd for the headlining band, opening act Lovedrug performed a set
that lasted around forty-five minutes. The four-member outfit offered songs from their forthcoming summer
album, including "Spiders" and "Angels With Enemies." With a creative sound unlike most of what we've
heard from the rock scene lately, there is no doubt we'll be hearing more from this group in the future.
As soon as Lovedrug made their exit from the stage, a large crew immediately ran out to make the set
transitions. After this very long change/intermission (over a half an hour), the lights in the auditorium
finally went down and five individuals could be faintly seen taking their places. Just then, a single
spotlight hit frontman Jon Foreman as he was strumming his guitar, beginning the show with "The Shadow
Proves The Sunshine." Some may have found this as a rather mellow way to get things started, but it was
actually one of the best opening songs for a concert that I can recall. To build upon the momentum from
"Shadow," "Stars" (also from Nothing Is Sound) inspired cheers from the enthusiastic, youthful
concertgoers. Evidently, most of the crowd was familiar with that song, shouting every lyric at an
unbelievably loud volume.
Though, like many, I first became acquainted with the San Diego natives through The Beautiful Letdown,
it was the early New Way To Be Human that I found most intriguing. As a flashback to the past,
Switchfoot reintroduced the fan favorite "Company Car," which was one of the evening's best moments. From
there, the pounding bass riffs of "This Is Your Life" took over before making room for "Happy Is A Yuppie
Word" and the heavy hitter at mainstream radio, "Dare You To Move." One of the real treats was the
introduction of a newly written and recorded song called "Awakening." In fact, this East Lansing show was
the first time "Awakening" was played for a live audience. Switchfoot gave no details on where we may
hear this song in the future, but it is one certainly worth keeping your ear open for. Maybe this college
town was just a place that the band found comfortable, as later on Foreman played a humorous and rather
random "solo" which he specifically wrote for the East Lansing audience. Of course, eventually the band
had to return to familiar tunes. The ballads "24" and "On Fire" showed the musically lighter side of
Switchfoot, while "Lonely Nation" and "Gone" showed off their amazing live skills. No doubt, Switchfoot is
capable of one of the best rock shows around.
Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, but by no means does that mean it must be a simple
finish. Au contraire. "We Are One Tonight" was truly unforgettable, paving the way for an incredible
encore. Preceding the evening's final song was the quiet "Daisy." To wrap up Switchfoot's impressive
performance was one important tune missing from the set, no other song would suit the closing position
as well as the guitar driven smash hit, "Meant To Live."
Switchfoot has, without a doubt, one of the best live shows I have ever seen. The only downside to
the night was that, according to the venue's website, cameras were not permitted into the auditorium, so
regrettably I don't have any photos to share from the concert. Despite this minor letdown, it was an
enjoyable, well-produced event and I would strongly recommend and encourage anyone to check it out when
Switchfoot hits a venue in your nearby town.
-- Lauren Summerford, 4/22/06