I dare you to move

Last night Boyfriend and I drove to New Hampshire to see Switchfoot (which was really excellent of him since he doesn't even know their music). The show was at the same place I saw Cobra Starship last fall. Boyfriend was amazed at how much the town resembled his hometown, but we concluded this place was better because it had a lot more stuff to do, even if it was a little on the seedy side.

It was 7:20 when we got to the venue. I must say that I am entirely sick of getting huge black X's drawn on my hands every time I go to a show. It used to be a bragging right - I'd go to school the next day and it was like "LOOK AT ME! I went to a show last night." But now they're just a Scarlet Letter (as I told the bouncer) that makes me look and feel inferior. I don't want to drink at shows. I want to rock out. I just don't want to sport the double stigma, especially if they're giving out wristbands to people over 21 anyway.

We showed up just in time for Ours, the opening act. At first I was impatient to get to the good stuff, but one song was enough to convince me that this WAS the good stuff. Imagine that Freddy Mercury of Queen and Matt Bellamy of Muse somehow pooled genes, add a dash of Anberlin's Stephen Christian and a pinch of Dream Theater's James LaBrie, and you've got the vocalist of Ours, a real skeleton of a man but with a vocal versatility I've never seen in anyone before. He got his highs and his lows, steady and vibrato, and every so often he'd get really into it and lavish us with a scream.

In spite of my many comparisons, the musical experience was something entirely new. One of the guitarists played part of a song on the teeny tiny little strings between the nut and the tuning knobs. There was a girl playing keys and a guy rocking the violin, one of the guitarists had dreads, and the bassist was out of this world (talentwise, not lookswise - I qualify this because usually when I talk about bassists it's to say how sexy they are, but this one was just downright talented). Then there was the drummer - ohmygosh the drummer. I was reminded of Mute Math's Darren King; he was that good. Not as intense, maybe, but his beats were every bit as inventive.

On top of all that, the dark sound was augmented by really excellent lighting - lots of red. I bought their CD the second the set ended. It's not as good as the live show but still worth a listen, especially this one:

Switchfoot played second, and to me it was everything rock shows should be but aren't. Again the lights were an integral part of the set, creating something of an old-skool atmosphere while adhering to new-skool rules. Flashy but classy, you know? They played us a few new songs and I'm super stoked for Hello Hurricane, coming out this fall (wiki says November 10, which is too far away if you ask me!)

I've always loved Switchfoot concerts because they're like the albums on steroids. Everything you love, but with the added bonus of singer Jon Foreman's energy and charisma. He climbs the drum set, he screams into the pickups on his guitar, he jumps off the stage and wanders around the audience.

Which brings me to the highlight of the show! Jon jumped down from the stage and started meandering toward the back of the club, where we were standing. There was one of those metal bars a little way behind us to keep people away from the sound and light equipment, and he decided it looked like a jungle gym so he climbed it. I moved closer to take pictures.

The song ended and people were all crowding around to touch Jon's hand. Having endured six years of failure to have any interaction with this legendary band, I was naturally among them. And here my five feet, ten inches of tall served me well: Jon decided I was the right height to be his spotter, took my hand, and leaned on me as he walked the bar.

At the other end he stopped and, still balancing, introduced the band members. I was a bit too starstruck to remember anything he said beyond that except for this: "Hope is not something you keep in your back pocket... sooner or later it takes form and becomes something real." There is something different in that man. Every so often he'd look down at me and I could see it in his eyes. It's enough to make me live a different kind of life.

Then, STILL LEANING ON MY HAND, he started the next song - "Dare You to Move." "Everybody's watching you now," he sang, with a smile at me because everyone was.

Boyfriend was none too happy with me after Jon went back up on stage. "He would've fallen if I'd just walked away," didn't make things any better, nor did "he's married with children" or "I've only looked up to him for six years." But I bet if he meets Blind Guardian, he'll understand.

After the set, we found my friend Jo-Yo and I tried to figure out where the after-show acoustic show was taking place, but the band hadn't tweeted it and all our companions wanted to leave so we gave up. BUT NEVER FEAR, for the two of us may take a little road trip to see them again next weekend! To be continued!


mylittlebecky said...

that is SO cool! i'm jealous!

saraphimiscool said...

is that picture really you?? (i don't think it is...i think it's an example of what happened...)

Amandasaurus said...

I took that just seconds before it was actually me. You seriously think Paul would've taken a picture of me holding hands with another guy?

A Woman Made of Dust said...

Over here in Oregon we get a self esteem boost (or downer) before going into a concert.

If you're attractive you get a stamp on your cleavage. If you're not they insist on stamping the back of your hand.

thisstorysoldbut... said...

that's an amazing story.

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