Photos by Katrina Lat

The “Looking for Summer” tour made its only Canadian stop in Toronto this past Wednesday, much to the delight of enthusiastic fans. For almost two decades Switchfoot and Lifehouse have been tearing up the Billboard charts with hit album after hit album. As a fan of both bands, I was really excited to see them co-headline on this tour.

Prior to the start of their set a video from Switchfoot appeared on the screen, thanking the fans for being with them through 10 albums. They were so grateful for the constant love and support from each individual in the room and posted a phone number that allowed fans to text for a free song.

Right out of the gate with “Hello Hurricane”, everyone in the room was singing at the top of their lungs and clapping along to the beats set by lead singer Jon Foreman, setting the tone for what was to come.

One of the things that impressed me the most with Switchfoot’s set was the way they displayed video footage on a huge LCD backdrop on stage. It really added to the visual aesthetics of the show, accompanied by the lighting of the stage that reflected off various parts of REBEL. During “Love Alone is Worth The Fight”, the music video played in the background, providing visuals of sandy California beaches on hot summer days, which really helped emphasize the theme of the tour.

Within their lyrics, Switchfoot does not shy away from their spirituality and their beliefs, and neither does Foreman when addressing the crowd during “I Won’t Let You Go”. It felt very uplifting to be in a room surrounded by mostly strangers and to be told to put your arm around someone next to you and to just enjoy the moment. For the most part, people attend concerts and use music as a form of escapism; and with everything that’s going on around the world, it feels kind of nice to “love thy neighbour”, so to speak.

All of the energy and love between Switchfoot and the fans continued to radiate throughout the entire night. When the band returned to the stage for the encore, the roaring crowd was ecstatic. It was a night full of gratitude from both sides of the stage. Foreman was so thankful that they chose Toronto for their only Canadian tour stop.

They closed the set with “Dare You To Move” from their third studio album Learning to Breathe. This was one of the songs that truly put them on the alt-rock map back in 2000. Each member of the audience poured their heart and soul into singing the lyrics alongside the band.

With the crowd absolutely buzzing from Switchfoot’s set, it was time for Lifehouse to take the stage and to continue feeding off of everyone’s energy. With a one-two punch, Lifehouse began with something old and something new. Transitioning from “Hurricane” from their most recent album Out of The Wasteland, straight into “All In”, from their fifth studio album Smoke and Mirrors. It was the perfect way to start their set.

It has been awhile since fans in Toronto have been able to see Lifehouse perform live, so you could sense the excitement and anticipation from a mile away. Bassist Bryce Soderberg, expressed all sorts of emotions when addressing the crowd. Soderberg who hails from Victoria, British Columbia was so happy to be on home soil. He said he wanted to do something special for the crowd, and cover one of their favourite bands U2. Bryce commanded the stage, and hit every high note with precision as they covered “Pride” (In the Name of Love). He was absolutely beaming and at one moment mid song, someone beside me said: “wow, he is incredible”.

No matter what band you enjoy listening to there is always that one song that really speaks to your heart. It’s not always the band’s most popular song, so sometimes it doesn’t make the setlist. However, every now and then setlists change, and that was the case on Wednesday night. Personally, “Broken” is one of my favourite Lifehouse songs of all time. So when Jason Wade was hit with a spotlight mid-set and began talking about one of his most personal songs that doesn’t get played on tour to often, I knew what was coming. So to the fan in the Lifehouse meet and greet that requested this song, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With emotions swirling, Wade began playing a stripped down version of “Everything”. His bandmates returned to the stage alongside him and Jason traded in his acoustic guitar for an electric, and finished the rest of the song with authority.

With red LED lights pulsing on the ceiling and that feeling that the show was coming to the end, the entire crowd sang “First Time” in unison much to the delight of Lifehouse. The cheers were exuberant; as fans expressed their gratitude. Prior to the encore, Lifehouse had to take a few minutes to just bask in all the overwhelming love from the fans. They closed the show with “Hanging By A Moment”, which earned the band a lot of recognition in the early 2000’s.

It was truly an incredible evening filled with a whirlwind of nostalgia and emotions. As a fan of both these bands, one can only hope that we have not seen the last of them and that their careers continue to flourish for years to come.