Switchfoot performs at Stage AE

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 at 5:17 PM
Switchfoot performs at Stage AE by Macala Leigey
Photo: Jacob McCool

PITTSBURGH — The shining Pittsburgh skyline, the demanding Fort Duquesne Bridge, and the Ohio River doused in hundreds of glistening lights stands before me, yet my mind is enchanted by something far more natural and sincere.

“At the end of the day, life is not what I thought it was 24 hours ago...”

The raw, soulful voice of Jon Foreman drowns out the transcendent city view, and indulges the handful of Switchfoot fans who stuck around, waiting, hoping for exactly this moment.

The nearly three hour concert began with Ohio- based alternative rock band Relient K taking the Pittsburgh Stage AE stage on Wednesday, Oct. 12. Not knowing much Relient K, I didn’t expect much from the opening band. But with the guitar pounding chords of the familiar, early-2000s teen-angst song “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been,” mixed with the soothing clarity of lead singer Matt Thiessen’s voice, I was sold.

Proving their growth and diversity as a band, Relient K played a variety of songs from their most recent album, “Air For Free.” They would steal my alternative/indie loving heart with the poppy anthem “Mountaintop” and the calming, hipster-vibe-infused title track “Air For Free.”

Satisfying the crowd with a round of original hits, Relient K exited the stage with a duet featuring Switchfoot’s lead singer Jon Foreman.

Concert confession: before going to see Switchfoot, I knew of them and a few of their songs, mostly because if you have not heard “Meant to Live” or “Dare You To Move,” you, my friend, lived a very sad musical childhood. But I wasn’t an expert. Luckily, I knew these songs and a few others very well, and as far as their other hits, I did as much research as possible in two weeks.

However, Switchfoot proved very quickly that it didn’t matter how much of their music you knew or not, you were in for the experience of a life-time.

Opening with one of the most upbeat songs from their latest album, “Where the Light Shines Through,” the 10-album-strong band proved they still know how to rock. They pounded out three-guitar, heart-pounding, bass-infused tracks right off the bat — “Holy Water,” “Meant to Live,” and “Stars” — in a style only experienced bands are able to pull off.

Three songs in, and the energy exerted by this band was enough to exhaust me, but in no way were they showing signs of slowing down. They were just getting started.

A few more throwback tracks and a hearty mix of new singles, along with two trips into the crowd and one crowd surfing moment for Foreman, Switchfoot made this show more than a concert — it was an experience; one I’m not likely to forget.

Switchfoot ended the night with the feel-good, alternative tune “Float,” followed by their insignia mantra “Live It Well,” and an emotional dose of nostalgia, by playing the hit that started it all, “Dare You To Move.”

With “Where The Light Shines Through” being Switchfoot’s tenth album, questions regarding whether this album will be the band’s last often arise.

“I don’t know. Every record — if it was our last album — [we’d want to] be proud of it,” Foreman said.

Foreman also shared how “Where The Light Shines Through” differs from other records the band has produced.

“This one is more of a journey; finding light in dark places,” Foreman said.

Ultimately, Foreman wants fans to live out his lyrics and the band’s mantra, “Life is short, live it well.”

Roughly 50 voices silently sing along to the acoustic version of “Twenty-Four.” And I, not knowing the lyrics in their entirety, and mostly just shocked at the humility and loyalty displayed before me, through not only the fans, but the selfless musician, who after a two-hour concert continues to give to his fans, stand in complete silence.

I take the moment in, comprehending just how true these lyrics are: “At the end of the day, life is not what I thought it was 24 hours ago.” 

Macala Leigey is the news editor for The Spectator. She can be reached at eupnews.spectator@gmail.com.

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