Switchfoot bring Fading West to the Sherman Theater.
Switchfoot are currently out on the road still supporting their album, Fading West, that was released back in January. This leg of the tour has been dubbed the Spring Tour by the band themselves but as Jon Foreman pointed out last week during the show “it still felt like winter.” The last time Switchfoot passed through our area it truly was the middle of winter and they played an incredible set as part of Radio 104.5’s Winter Jam. Those who were there will remember the brutal cold and roughly 3 inches of snow during their performance, luckily this time around things were snow free and the temperature was at least above freezing.
The line was about 500 strong before doors opened and by the time Switchfoot hit the stage I would say the number of people in the house had reached about 1,000 people. This might not seem like a lot but it isn’t far off from capacity of the venue and they did just play the night before in Philadelphia, so in reality it was a pretty good pull for the show. All over the venue were these little printed out pieces of paper with a warning about the show, something that I have never seen before. If I recall correctly it read something like Warning tonight’s show has lasers, strobes, blah, blah, blah; basically it just warned people that Switchfoot’s stage show was going to be incredible and most likely blinding at times. Sounded good to me!
Around 9:15 the venue lights went dark and the band began making their way out on to the cramped Sherman stage. The first out was Tim Foreman who instantly played a few notes of “Say It Like You Mean It” and the crowd roared to life in response. The audio mix was on point from the first song to the last, major props go out to the sound guy on this tour because each instrument was identifiable and the vocals came through so crisp on each song. It was also cool when the band all but stopped playing like they did in “Say It Like You Mean It” because all you would hear in the entire venue was Jon Foreman keeping the beat by stomping his foot on a riser or the floor as the crowd sang along to different parts of the song. After opening with a new track of “Fading West” they immediately dug out an old song for all the long time fans in the house and kicked off a kick one-two with “Stars” and “Gone.”
All in all the band played 6 songs off their new album which felt like just the right amount. “Who We Are” is already a fan favorite for live shows because Jon Foreman hangs into the front row and has people sing along with him. Surprisingly enough “Ba55” was one of the songs played in their encore, I love that song but it felt like a lot of the crowd wasn’t expecting to hear that so late in the set. The night included lots of great talking sessions in between songs about how the band got their start, various stories from this tour, and plenty of laughter. From start to finish the Sherman Theater was filled with this infectious good vibe.
Switchfoot of course played a lot of their hits and even did a slightly stripped down and raw acoustic version of “Meant To Live.” “Dark Horses” being included in the setlist was another great surprise that a lot of fans were excited about it seemed but the real high point of the evening was without a doubt “Let it Out.” This song is fresh off of “Fading West” and is poised to become one of the best songs of 2014 and is easily one of the best songs that Switchfoot has in their library.
I touched on it before but it deserves a full section of discussion now; Switchfoot’s stage production is out of this world. I have seen lots of bands perform on that stage in the Sherman and someone they were able to transform the space into something totally new. Each song had it’s own unique color cast as well as numerous well timed strobes and of course…..lasers. Yes that is right, lasers. In fact no one was allowed to go upstairs because of these lasers which was a bummer because I know a lot of people enjoy using that space for show but they were able to find seats elsewhere in the venue. Thought it was blinding at times, it wasn’t to the point that you had to look away or felt like you were going to be ill as the warning signs cautioned.
All in all this was another great show from a band who are still at the peak of their career. I hope they don’t forget about Pennsylvania on their Summer and Fall legs of the Fading West tour because we are already prepared to welcome them back for another night of great music. Do yourself a favor, go pick up their new album “Fading West.” I have a feeling it is going to be in contention for album of the year and you don’t want to miss out on the return of Switchfoot. They’re back and better than ever.