Thousand Oaks isn’t the first place most people think of when it comes to a major concert. The one venue that does exist there is often playing host to symphonies and theatrical productions. As a location it is simply too far outside of the bounds of LA to really warrant many shows making their way in that direction, and even if it were closer, the average Thousand Oaks resident doesn’t strike most people as a fiend for rock music. However that’s exactly where Switchfoot shines. The long running Christian rock group hailing from San Diego, has long been a favorite in the area, which is more religious and conservative than much of the rest of Southern California.
Looking back, many parts of the experience were strange. Since this is a theater in the proper sense, there were attendants who would help you to your seat, and multiple entrances and balconies and a real sense of organization. All of which was wonderful, but certainly atypical for a concert. There were programs that came with a donation card, and the whole affair ran like clockwork. Switchfoot even got to the stage exactly at the listed show time, which is pretty much unheard of outside of major festivals.
The show itself was divided into two acts “Shipwrecked” and “To the Skies.” Shipwrecked was the more interactive portion of the show. In between songs, frontman Jon Foreman would interact comically with his bandmates and with the audience. The band also selected songs out of a “message in a bottle” which were actually song requests from audience members submitted prior to the show. Some of the songs they played included hits like “Shadow Proves the Sunshine” and “Meant To Live” but also a cover of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” On top of the excellent crowd engagement the show itself boasted excellent production value. Taking full advantage of the theatrical setting they used projection and backdrops to great effect, actually simulating a shipwreck of their own. All of this was infused with the joyful touch of matching beanies and outfits, a direct homage to Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic.
The second portion of the show was more akin to a typical Switchfoot concert. While Shipwrecked was acoustic, To the Skies brought the electricity back into the building as they played their way through tracks like “Mess of Me” and “Dare You To Move.” Despite having the option to sit the crowd spent the entirety of the show on their feet and it wasn’t hard to see why. The stage mannerisms of each band member were clearly finely tuned over the last two and a half decades, leading to a show that was beautifully executed and delivered exactly what fans wanted.
It may have been strange at first, driving out to Thousand Oaks for a concert in a fine arts theater, but it was clear even before the show that this was destined to be one of the best shows of the year. Switchfoot delivered a wonderful set that showcased their personality and their evolution as a band. This tour is truly a celebration of Switchfoot and the ultimate thank you letter to fans. Anyone who is a fan owes it to themselves to make their way out to one of the tour dates. It’s easily the best show they’ve ever done.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz
Act One: “Shipwrecked”
Love Alone is Worth the Fight
We’re Gonna Be Alright
Sweet Child O’ Mine
Shadow Proves the Sunshine (played with a Kalimba)
With or Without You
Meant To Live
Act 2 “To The Skies”
The Edge of the Earth
Mess of Me
If the House Burns Down Tonight
I Won’t Let You Go)
Live it Well
Dare You To Move
Where I Belong