This may be hard to believe, but last week marked 15 years since the release of Mandy Moore’s tearjerker film A Walk to Remember, which introduced the world to a little-known rock band named Switchfoot. The commercial success of the movie launched the San Diego–based group’s musical career when it featured songs “You,” “Learning to Breathe,” “Only Hope,” and “Dare You to Move.” More than a decade later, the fellows are still at the top of their game, as proved by their electrifying set at the Arlington Theatre last Thursday night.
Contemporary Christian rock band Relient K — an Ohio-based band formed by Matt Thiessen, Matt Hoopes, and Brian Pittman in 1998 — warmed up the crowd with creative renditions of fan favorites, such as when Thiesen acoustic-finger-picked the guitar solo in “Must Have Done Something Right.” The power-rock band also played songs from its new album, Air for Free, but truly excited the crowd when it played the goofy “Sadie Hawkins Dance” and radio hit “Be My Escape.”
After a short intermission, Switchfoot opened its set with a powerful performance of “Meant to Live.” Singer Jon Foreman gave a shout-out to his hometown but shared his admiration for Santa Barbara and the surf at Rincon. Fans lost it when the frontman took the idiom — and song title — “Bull in a China Shop” quite literally as he sprawled across the first few rows of chairs to shake hands with fans.
Also on the band’s set list were “Only Hope,” the heart-wrenching Christian-themed song Moore sings in the A Walk to Remember, “Love Alone Is Worth the Fight,” and “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine.” Arms swayed in the air to the heartfelt songs.
This tour is called Looking for America, and the band sought to inspire hope with its message. Foreman shared words of unity with the audience when he said, “Before anything happens: If you look different from me, if you vote different from me, you are still my brother.”
The show ended with Foreman holding up a sheet of paper that read “Where I Belong” as he quoted the Declaration of Independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal,” he said. “I’d just like to say to those looking for hope that change is gonna happen.”