Concert Reviews
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Switchfoot storms The Fillmore New York (12/8)

on December 10, 2009, 3:00pm

If you ask a casual music fan for their perceptions of Switchfoot, chances are many would respond with something along the lines of: “Switchfoot? Aren’t they that band from years ago with that one big song – “Meant to Live” or something like that?” While those fans may possibly be correct (seeing as how Switchfoot arguably was most popular back in 2003 with its breakthrough release of The Beautiful Letdown), upon further review one would find that Switchfoot, despite some perceptions, is a group that has managed to stay afloat in the world of alt-rock throughout its 13 year history, all the while building an endearing fan base and releasing a plethora of albums (many to critical acclaim).

On Tuesday night Switchfoot, currently on tour in support of Hello Hurricane (the group’s seventh LP released this past November), stopped at The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza. Even though there would be no opening acts (Switchfoot played completely solo) and there was the threat of a snowstorm looming, this did not stop the band’s fans from turning out in force for a chance to see Switchfoot perform Hello Hurricane in its entirety.

The band took to the stage around ten past eight sans Jon Foreman, the lead singer, and immediately launched into “Needle and Haystack Life”, the first track off Hello Hurricane. Although lyrics were being sung, Foreman was nowhere to be seen, which caused confusion among some fans. This confusion, however, quickly turned into excitement as Foreman appeared atop Irving Plaza’s balcony and proceeded to climb down onto the stage. Foreman jokingly introduced the band as Hello Hurricane from San Diego, CA, saying that it was the opening act and that Switchfoot would be out later. He went on to say that the band was excited to be able to play Hello Hurricane in its entirety for all in attendance, and play the album in its entirety they did. As such, there was not many surprises to be had. During “Always” Foreman took to the keyboard, while during “Bullet Soul” he paraded through the crowd with mic stand in hand, but other than that it was a straightforward set.

switchfoot110 Switchfoot storms The Fillmore New York (12/8)

After closing its set with album closer “Red Eyes”, Foreman proposed a novel idea to the crowd – he wanted every fan in attendance to begin singing their favorite song and, while at first everyone would be singing something different, the goal was to have everyone eventually switch over and begin singing one song in unison (although this sounds hard to explain it actually worked quite well). Whatever song the crowd decided on via this method would be the song the band would come out and play. Coming as a surprise to no one, the song the crowd eventually settled on was “Meant to Live”, Switchfoot’s aforementioned biggest hit off The Beautiful Letdown from 2003.

Foreman made good on his promise, and the band came back out to play “Meant to Live” in addition to six more tunes (including a cover of The Verve’s “Lucky Man”). During “Stars”, Foreman took it upon himself to climb back up onto his perch near the balcony, where he ended up staying for most of the song. Switchfoot finished its encore with “Dare You to Move”, also off The Beautiful Letdown. Although at this point the band had played for about an hour and a half or so, the crowd was not satiated, and chants of “one more song” promptly began. Foreman and Co. placated the masses, reemerging to perform a second encore consisting of fan-favorites “This Is Your Life” (yet another song from 2003’s The Beautiful Letdown – maybe you’re sensing a theme here?) and “Awakening” (from 2006’s Oh! Gravity).

Okay, so maybe Switchfoot really was most relevant to the alt rock music scene back in 2003. Maybe the group did hit its peak with its release of The Beautiful Letdown. While fans and detractors of the band are free to argue this, the point seems moot – based on this show, 2009’s Switchfoot seems meant to still be around today

Needle and Haystack Life
Mess of Me
Your Love Is a Song
The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)
Enough to Let Me Go
Hello Hurricane
Bullet Soul
Sing It Out
Red Eyes

1st Encore:
Meant to Live
The Shadow Proves the Sunshine
Oh! Gravity
Lucky Man (Verve cover)
Dare You to Move

2nd Encore:
This Is Your Life