Sacred Spaces 344b – I can feel my lungs again (The Switchfoot show)
16 August 2012
“I’ve tasted fire I’m ready to come alive. I can’t just shut it up and fake that I’m alright. I’m ready now. I’m not waiting for the afterlife…”
… Are the words that the frontman sang into his mic, and then a fusion of grungy guitar and an electric atmosphere; our experience had begun.
So how did I get to be here tonight?
(I have been blessed to have seen this amazing band before; however earlier in the year, when I first heard of Switchfoot coming to South Africa, I was super excited to see them again. And also because my good friend, Darren who is a massive fan of Jon Foreman and hadn’t seen them live yet; I was totally keen to share this experience with him.)
Now on this cold night in Johannesburg (8 August 2012), a crowd of about 3000 strong are huddle together in a venue called Carnival City.
We are seated in a most excellent place, the front row of the seated area; so we have an excellent view of the stage and get to feel part of the show in its entirety.
Sharing this experience with me are my good friends, Darren, Charmaine, Angie and Daryl.
However tonight I feel like I am part of something bigger.
There is something unifying in this space. It could be the common love for the band.
However I think true Switchfoot fans know that there is something far more about to happen in this place. This is more than a show. This a spiritual experience.
I muse to myself: if Jesus were here in the crowd (well, He was, however not in a carnal way), I’d reckon he would be wearing jeans, converse shoes and a band tee. (I’m going for a Dave Matthews Band one)
So right after the huge opening song: Afterlife, Switchfoot bust straight into the next song: Stars
I hear the crowd cheering and singing along to a familiar favourite:
“When I look at the stars, the stars, I feel like myself”
Through the flashing lights and crowd noise and ripping guitars I thank God that He ministers to my heart through lyrics of good bands.
(I know I would be able to connect to my Father at a Chris Tomlin or Matt Redman worship experience), however I believe He tugs best at my heart here in intense rock shows like this one.
(I think of others with whom worship music would not move them at all.) Yet our vast and reaching God would use bands such as Switchfoot, Thrice and POD to reach a greater audience.
(I am thankful I have learnt this lesson, a long time ago already.)
Mess of me is the third song, and somehow these words (out of the whole night to come) grab me the most:
“I made a mess of me
I wanna get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I wanna spend the rest of my life alive”
I vow to myself to commit these lyrics to action.
Now the coolest thing happens as the band starts with “This is your life.”
Jon starts climbing onto people in the golden circle and makes his way to the ground and then walks among the crowd, throwing high fives and fist pumps to the people.
He walks right to the back of the venue and stands on a wall of some sorts.
I am filming this and I note as I’m looking through my lens that as I point at Jon Foreman, he points back to me. I have video evidence and I see my smiling friends next to me, they noticed the warm gesture from him. (Okay not quite a high five or fist pump…yet Jon did acknowledge me. Sweet!)
The show continues with great songs:
Restless (which seems to be an anthem for many, I feel)
Dare you to move
The war inside
I can’t remember the exact moment in the show however Jon mentions something that seems so prophetic to me as I hear it:
He mentions “The church can be messy because it has messy people in it.” And he goes onto say something about making it better.
Wow! It’s as if God has a message for me right now through Jon Foreman. (And why do I act so surprised? Have I not learnt how reaching and real God is? I am thankful.)
I feel my heart skip a beat and smile and this direct encouragement.
Jon then pulls out his harmonica and the band play: “Your love is a song”
We sing along:
“I’ve been keeping my eyes wide open
Your love is a symphony
All around me
Running through me
Your love is a melody
Running to me
Oh, your love is a song”
Ah man, this place feels like a church service. Here are all Your children (some have not realised it yet) gathered together and we sing along to great anthems like this.
How can lyrics like these not stir a person?
I believe that in this crowd, that someone meets God for the first time. (I claim that truth!)
Next up is the song with a promise: “The Shadow proves the sunshine”
Followed by the beautiful “This Is Home”
Just before they start that, Jon dedicates it to South Africa.
“Now I’ve found it
Maybe this is home
This is home
Belief over misery
I’ve seen the enemy
And I won’t go back
Back to how it was
And I got my heart set on what happens next
I got my eyes wide it’s not over yet
We are miracles and we’re not alone”
Seriously these words are stirring my heart massively. Thank you Jesus!
Switchfoot then start of Dark Horses slowly, building it up… then BAM!
The burst forth into some glorious rock…
The lights racing around the venue, the people dancing and smiling and singing along. Jon and the band are engaging the crowd, and then the most incredible thing of the evening happens, just after Jon sings these lyrics:
“We found a way out, the city takes everything it can.
But outside the crowds, I can feel my lungs again…”
Simultaneously the entire band stops playing for a moment and we hear Jon breathing into the microphone. (I can feel my lungs again?)
Brilliant! And then they smash right back into the song.
In awe, I stand.
Right after this song we head into “Meant to live” with band starting it off acoustically.
Then Switchfoot do what most bands do. They do the whole encore thing.
The show ends with two of my many favourite songs of theirs:
Where I belong
The Sound (John M Perkins)
I raise my hands as I sing:
“But I’m not sentimental
This skin and bones is a rental
And no one makes it out alive
Until I die I’ll sing these songs
On the shores of Babylon
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong
Where the weak are finally strong
Where the righteous right the wrongs
Still looking for a home
In a world where I belong”
With whistling and cheers from the crowd, I smile as the band walks off stage. What an amazing night!
Tonight things feel right in the world. I am content. I can feel my lungs again.
Jesus thanks for a great rock show.
Set-list for the night:
3) Mess of me
4) This is your life
6) Dare you to move
7) The war inside
8) Hello Hurricane
9) Your love is a song
10) The shadow proves the sunshine
11) This is home
12) Dark Horses
13) Meant to live
14) Where I belong
15) The Sound (John M Perkins)
My videos from the show:
2) Dare you to move – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJbcZbXjvU0&feature=youtu.be