Tulsa, Okla., is a strange place to find a surf band based out of southern California, but on Nov. 22, Switchfoot braved cold, sleet and a determined group of protesters to bring some beach campfire atmosphere to the Brady Theater.
The crowd, sporting Switchfoot and To Write Love on Her Arms t-shirts, was eager to hear the band, but the evening started not with a song, but with the introduction of their new film “Fading West.”
Filmed during their last tour, it took the audience through the inspiration and stories of Switchfoot’s upcoming ninth album—also titled “Fading West.”
It’s impressive for band to have been together as long as Switchfoot, something the group largely attributes to their shared love of surfing.
As lead singer Jon Foreman said, when “life didn’t make sense, [he’d] always run to music or the ocean.”
The upcoming album, written while on tour, reflects the band’s love for the ocean, their struggles to balance their presence both at home and on stage and their desire to play songs that will bring hope to their audiences.
The film mixes footage of the band’s surfing adventures during their South Pacific tour with shots of performances and vignettes of the members with their families.
It showed the band’s struggle as Jon Foreman was called home mid-tour for a family emergency, an event that seems to have both shaken the band and provided clarity of mission as they move forward.
Fading West promises to be an album full of the band’s trademark blend of insight, hope and distinctive rock music.
After the film, the band took a few minutes to answer questions from the audience, ranging from hairstyle queries to questions about the band’s faith and inspiration.
The underlying answer for all of these questions was love.
Switchfoot’s advice to young artists hoping to change the world was to love the people around them and let that inform their art.
Acknowledging the protestors outside, the band recommended giving a cup of coffee and a doughnut, showing love even to the critics.
After the intimate glimpse into the band members’ lives, the crowd was primed for a great performance. With the first guitar flourish, the band dove headlong into old favorites from their past two albums, encouraging the crowd to sing along.
Alternating between a mellower “campfire” atmosphere and full-out rock and roll, the band kept the familiar atmosphere, engaging with the crowd and singing several verses from the middle of the audience.
Mixing well-known songs such as “Dark Horses” and “Dare You to Move” with new songs such as “We Are” and “When We Come Alive,” the concert was a great blend of nostalgic for many long-term fans and anticipation for the new album.
They also led the audience in a song from their new album, “Love Alone Is Worth the Fight,” which beautifully summed up the dialogue of the evening.
Ending the concert with a beautifully harmonized version of “Hello Hurricane,” Switchfoot left Tulsa with a bit of the surf, and a love for inspirational rock and roll.