Oct 16, 2007

Switchfoot defies gravity in Vines

by Joyanna Gilmour

    The Vines Center reverberated Saturday night as the nationally acclaimed band Switchfoot rocked out to a crowd of enthusiastic fans. Over four thousand Liberty University students, College for a Weekenders (CFAWs) and local residents showed up to hear the San Diego-based band perform. Switchfoot recently returned from a tour to Australia, the Philippines and New Zealand, where they promoted their sixth album, “Oh! Gravity.”, released in late 2006.
    Lead singer Jon Foreman opened up Saturday’s concert with the title song from their newest album, “Oh! Gravity.” Foreman’s mesmerizing stage presence immediately captured the crowd and thousands of hands were clapping in rhythm by the end of the first song.
    The band launched into some of their signature songs, including “Stars,” “Ammunition” and their hit “This is Your Life.” Flipping back his long, shaggy blond hair, Foreman knelt down on the stage and physically reached toward fans in the front row during “This is Your Life.”
    Foreman introduced his fellow band-members – brother Tim Foreman on bass, Jerome Fontamillas on guitar, Drew Shirley on guitar and Chad Butler on drums.
    During “On Fire,” a song from the 2003 album “Beautiful Letdown,” the stage lights were turned off and the entire crowd waved their cell phones in the air. In a surprise move, Foreman jumped down from the stage and ran along the perimeter of the basketball court, giving high-fives to the crowd. Foreman then ran up the stadium steps into the heart of the crowd, continuing to sing while surrounded by delighted fans.


    Eventually making his way back to the stage, Foreman said, “Life is short, life is a bullet, and it ends so fast. While it lasts, I want to be living for what’s most important.” Switchfoot then began the song “Meant to Live” to the crowd’s enthusiastic cheers. The lyrics of the song echo Foreman’s statements, stating, “We want more than this world’s got to offer…/And everything inside screams for second life.”
    The band exited the stage and fans began to scream wildly, stomp and chant until the band came out for an encore performance of     “Dare you to Move,” another Switchfoot hit.  Jon Foreman came onto stage playing solo acoustic guitar for the first half of the song and was then joined by the rest of the band for the second half.  The band closed the show with two more crowd-pleasers, “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine” and “We are One.”
    A group of CFAWs from Roanoke unanimously proclaimed the concert “amazing.”
    Liberty students shared the sentiment.
    “It was amazing,” said Joe Endicott, a junior at Liberty. “Jon had incredible stage presence.”
    “He (Jon Foreman) had the crowd eating out of his hand,” said Cooper Smith, another Liberty junior.
    Chris Misiano, Director of Campus Programming, said, “Switchfoot is very popular with the LU student body.”
    Many local residents also came out to the Vines Center to enjoy the concert. Rev. Mike Sharrett, pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg, expressed his admiration for the band.
    “Switchfoot is a first-class rock and roll band with challenging lyrics, outstanding music and a compelling message which engages believers and non-believers alike,” said Sharrett.
    Switchfoot is a unique band because of its ability to successfully and comfortably interact with both the Christian and the secular music world.
    Campus Worship Pastor Dave McKinney said of Switchfoot, “I have a huge respect for groups that share their faith and are strongly committed to the Lord in the midst of a secular setting.”
    Before introducing Switchfoot, Mike Stewart previewed the spring lineup of bands.  The crowd cheered when Stewart announced that the Newsboys, Casting Crowns and Leeland will be coming to play at Liberty next semester.

Contact Joyanna Gilmour at jgilmour@liberty.edu.

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