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Switchfoot Concert

Ever since the Canadian dollar drastically weakened in relation to the American dollar, it seems that Christian concerts have become quite a rare occurrence in this neck of the woods. Yesterday, though, Switchfoot bucked the trend and made a stop in Toronto as part of their Beautiful Letdown tour. As they are one of my favorite bands (and have been since long before they become “popular”) I could not pass up the opportunity to see them live. They were originally scheduled to play in a small venue downtown, but as that one quickly sold out they changed plans and moved to a larger one. Even though I knew this I was still shocked when I arrived almost an hour before the show started to see a line stretching around two sides of the building and beginning to make its way down a third. Apparently the concert had received some significant promotion on mainstream radio. I almost never listen to the radio so had no idea anyone in Toronto cared. It was an interesting crowd as it contained a large number of Christians (evidenced by people talking about their worship bands and whole youth groups arriving at the same time) but also a large number of non-Christians.

After a cursory pat-down (first time I’ve ever been frisked going into a concert) we packed into a large, very dark, chairless warehouse and stood around waiting for the show to begin. At around 8 the opening act, Copeland, whom I had never heard of, took the stage and performed a rather unremarkable set. They are a band composed of people who all profess Christ but not signed to a Christian label. I suppose since I buy all my music at Christian bookstores that will explain why I have not heard of them. They played 8 or 9 songs, none of which were terrible, but neither were they awfully good. Their guitarist, while skilled, looked completely bored the entire time. It seemed to me like he would much rather just have been at home in bed. Anyways, as an opening act they did their job – they got the crowd excited about the main act.

My initial impression of the concert was that it was loud. And I’m not talking just loud – I mean ear-splitting, paint-peeling loud. Now maybe I’m just getting old, but I honestly think it was too loud. I can’t imagine any rational reason it needed to be that loud. But anyways, after a few songs my ears kind of went numb and it was smooth-sailing after that. I wonder what the long-term ramifications to my hearing will be…

When Copeland’s set was over, there was more standing around on aching legs while we waited for the roadies to get the stage ready for Switchfoot. Finally the lights went down and Switchfoot hit the stage, beginning with Dare You To Move. I must say – this band is great. They were really, really good – easily one of the best live bands I have seen. They had loads of fun up on stage and got the crowd to have fun with them. It was great, wholesome entertainment. While the band never took the opportunity to preach, they sang many of their most spiritual songs while explaining the rationale behind the words they had written.

For example, before singing “24,” Jon (the lead vocalist) explained that the song was based on the struggle of trying to live a consistent life and continually failing – 24 times a day for the 24 hours in a day.

Twenty-four oceans
Twenty-four skies
Twenty-four failures
And twenty-four tries
Twenty-four finds me
In twenty-fourth place
With twenty-four drop outs
At the end of the day

Life is not what I thought it was
Twenty-four hours ago
Still I’m singing ‘Spirit,
take me up in arms with You’

Their set list, focusing almost entirely on their latest release, was something like this:

Dare You To Move
New Way To Be Human
More Than Fine
Circles (New song)
Only Hope
This Is Your Life
The Beautiful Letdown
Meant To Live
Gone (Encore)

The show was long enough to keep the crowd happy, but short enough that it left us all wanting more. It was a great show and if you enjoy that type of music I would highly recommend catching them in a town near you!

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