Switchfoot performs at the San Diego County Fair
“I’ve been searching for a place of my own now. I found it, and maybe this is home. YEAH! This is home!” – Lyrics from Switchfoot’s song “This is Home”
The fair started, as it always does for us: we parked for free at Del Mar Horse Park and took a free double-decker bus ride to the Fair’s front gates! The bus ride itself is a fun experience, and getting to go in the bus-only lane as you exit the Fairgrounds nearly 20 minutes faster than cars that parked at the Fairgrounds is over-the-top cool!
We had already printed our concert tickets that give admission to the Fair, so we just had a short wait in the line to pass the metal detector. As we arrived at the Fairgrounds, one of the Fair employees was reminding everyone, “Your diet ends here. No dieting beyond this point!” We definitely were not on a diet tonight. We headed right for the grilled and fried foods! The jumbo hamburgers and giant sausage links are cooked on one of the biggest grills I’ve ever seen, and they’re actually pretty tasty for Fair food. Finding a place to sit while you eat your food is another story all together, but we found a little spot to stand, set-down our food, and ate fast before heading to the dessert area!
Dessert is my fiancée’s favorite ‘meal,’ but you’d never know it by looking at her. Good genes I suppose. She loves the variety of deep-fried desserts that are offered at the Fair, and tonight she chose the deep-fried cookie dough balls. She said they were as tasty as ever. I had a soft serve ice cream cone dipped in chocolate, which is always a great treat, albeit a little messy! We finished our desserts as we walked to the concert area and found our seats in the balcony just as Switchfoot was getting ready to start.
Switchfoot is an alternative rock band that was formed in 1996 by three San Diego locals. Jon Foreman is the lead vocalist who plays the rhythm guitar and the harmonica. Jon played lead guitar until 2005 when Drew Shirley joined the band as the lead guitarist and backup vocals. Other founding members of the band are Jon’s brother Tim who plays bass guitar and backup vocals and Chad Butler who plays the drums. In 2001, Jerome Fontamillas joined the band on keyboards, synthesizer, rhythm guitar, accordion, and backup vocals. In 2013, Switchfoot filmed a movie called Fading West. The band’s lead guitarist, Drew Shirley, said that it is “a surf documentary mixed with behind-the-scenes footage of the band.”
Jon, Tim and Chad all went to San Dieguito Union High School, now San Dieguito High School Academy. As it turns-out, many famous alumni, including athletes, musicians, and actors came out of this same high school. Chad was born in Amsterdam, but was raised in San Diego. Drew and Jerome also grew up in San Diego, although Drew was born in Puerto Rico and Jerome in the Philippines. All the band members share a love of surfing and music. Jon told a great story during the concert about going surfing at Dog Beach on graduation day with his little brother Tim. Jon and Drew also shared an interesting fact that Drew’s first job was working at the San Diego County Fair! Drew joked and said he is “still kinda working at the Fair.”
A special treat at the concert was a guest appearance by another famous and talented San Diego local musician: singer, songwriter, and fiddler Sara Watkins who played the fiddle with Switchfoot during the concert. Sara was a founding member of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek and now works as a solo artist.
Some of the highlights of the concert were:
- Jon introducing the band members and the crowd chanting their names.
- Jon climbing off the stage to mingle with the crowd with security in tow, and then jumping into the crowd and singing “Let It Out.” The crowd lifted him up and passed him back onto the platform below the stage while Jon continued to sing.
- Jon talking about his desire to write happy songs these days. He told a story about how it is easier to write about sad things and things he doesn’t understand: women, God, politics, and death. The crowd loved it.
- The band giving a birthday cake to their tour manager on stage and singing a very short version of “Happy Birthday.”
- The band performing a number of their best songs including: Love Alone Is Worth the Fight, Meant to Live, Stars, This Is Home, Hello Hurricane, and Learning to Breathe. The band also did two encore songs: Dare You to Move with Sara Watkins on fiddle, and Where I Belong.
Overall, it was a really fun, lively, and enjoyable concert. It is a really nice and clean venue, and the acoustics are actually pretty good. It was the first time I saw Switchfoot, and it certainly won’t be the last. We found this amazing video of Love Alone is Worth the Fight that shows some of the amazing places that Switchfoot has toured.
The San Diego County Fair runs through July 5th. Check out other artists playing at the Toyota Concert Series. Switchfoot will be coming back to San Diego for their annual Switchfoot Bro-Am Surf Competition and Concert on July 11, 2015 in Encinitas, CA. Go check them out if you missed the concert tonight. If you were there, please let us know which song you liked the best!