Every band has a particular purpose. For Switchfoot and Anberlin, their purpose is something bigger than the ordinary band. When you listen to their music, you can’t help but feel moved, wanting to change something negative in your life and make it a positive. This translates to their live shows, and sometimes after a concert you walk away feeling really good. Well, this is what happened after this show.
Switchfoot took the stage to a roar of screams and kicked into “Mess Of Me,” one of the high-energy tracks off of their Grammy-winning album, Hello Hurricane. Switchfoot came to rock, and what a rock show it was. What was in store for NYC was a set full of the Switchfoot classics, and some new songs off Vice Verses, their eighth studio album, just released. Jon Foreman announced, “Even though our album is out next week, tonight is the release party NYC!” “The War Inside” was the first of the new tracks, and let me tell you this; these are the best songs Switchfoot has written.
Before “Dare You To Move,” Jon reminisced about the old days when the label dropped them because there were no “hits” on their first record. He then said, “Call this a hit or not, it’s a song I still believe in.” This song is one of my favorites, along with a lot of their fans. “Stars” and “This Is Your Life” were great sing-alongs, as always. “Awakening” had the crowd jumping to the bouncy chorus, and “Your Love Is A Song” really stuck out visually with the help of the lights — not to mention the subtle guitar lead in the chorus is the perfect touch to the song.
The band also pulled out something special for the NY crowd, a cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Jon announced, “We’re close enough to Brooklyn, this song’s for you.” It’s always great to hear something special and different like that, something they may not do at any other show.
Three other new songs, “Restless,” “Dark Horses,” and “Where I Belong” were played, and hearing them made me even more excited for the new record. Each song brought something different to the album. “Restless” was a slower tune, with some of my favorite lyrics in any Switchfoot song. “Dark Horses” was dedicated to “the real Dark Horses, the homeless children out there” said Foreman, and is one of their loudest in your face sounding songs out there. “Where I Belong,” the last track of Vice Verses, starts off with “woo oh oh”s that the crowd immediately picked up on. Foreman stated, “When Switchfoot plays their last show ever, this is the song I want to end on,” after you hear the song, it’s pretty obvious why. “I take a deep breath and close my eyes/One last time,” and “Until I die I’ll sing these songs/Still looking for a home/In a world where I belong” are just two lyrical examples.
One of their biggest songs to date, “Meant To Live” closed out their main set with one of the loudest sing-alongs of the night. To cap, they closed with “The Sound,” which ended the night with a lot of energy, which got the crowd ready for Anberlin.
Anberlin took the stage next and opened with “Reclusion,” which proved from the beginning that they would be playing some songs they normally don’t. One main thing that separates Anberlin from a lot of other bands is how they bring the songs to life with awesome production. Their light show on this tour was the best it has been yet, and really shows how the band try and bring the best possible show they can to their fans.
“We Owe This To Ourselves,” one of the most high-energy tracks off of Dark Is Way, Light Is A Place, right into an old-time favorite, “Paperthin Hymn” really kept the crowd moving. Stephen announced next that this next one was for everyone that’s been following us since Blueprints For The Black Market & Never Take Friendship Personal, and then played the title track off that album.
“Pray Tell” had some extra percussion players on it, which added a nice touch, and made the song sound huge live. “The Resistance,” with one of the best intros in their catalog, had the crowd in the air. Next was my favorite Anberlin song, “The Art Of War.” Stephen sounded the best I have ever heard, and it can be really heard on this song with the soft verses, in which is voice carried throughout the entire venue.
The next part of their set featured three songs performed acoustically, which added a nice dynamic to the set. “Alexithymia,” off of Cities, was the first of the three, a song that Stephen said “we have not played on any tour before.” After the song he said to the crowd, “sometimes in life you just have to step back and let it sink in, thanks for singing along to that, this is a moment I’ll never forget.” It must be an amazing moment as an artist to have the crowd sing back to you a song that hasn’t been played live before.
“The Unwinding Cable Car” and “Breaking,” two crowd favorites, had the crowd echoing out through the venue. Perhaps the last four songs of their set were the best 1-2-3-4 punch you could put together. “Dismantle Repair” had the crowd yelling “Repair!” “Impossible” and “Godspeed” closed out the main set. The encore was the radio-friendly “Feel Good Drag” a song that brought Anberlin’s music to a whole new group of fans.
Anberlin and Switchfoot looked and sounded the best they have yet. The set lists are full of the classics, new songs, and some songs for the die-hards. Most importantly both bands bring a sense of positivity to the show, leaving the fan feeling good about themselves. Both bands each have their own fan base, but also share a large portion of fans, making it the perfect match for a tour.