This year when Lifehouse and Switchfoot announced they would be together on the Looking For Summer Tour, I know thousands of fans were squealing with excitement. I was probably one of them. I’ve followed Lifehouse since their debut album ‘No Name Face’ and was very excited to get the opportunity to review their show on Sunday, August 26th at the Orlando Amphitheater. The venue sits on the Central Florida Fairgrounds. The venue itself has a good size stage, a concrete floor area for standing room only, and then a large field where ticket holders can bring in their own chairs or blankets to enjoy the show.
The weather was not being cooperative when I arrived there with rain already coming down and the parking lot filled with mud puddles. And in the distance the lighting and thunder were threatening a delay to the start of the show. I was hoping it wouldn’t be a cancellation due to weather. After picking up my credentials I made my way inside and waited. A few of my friends who were also covering the show arrived not too long and we all waited patiently to see if the weather would ruin the day. Fortunately, it did not. The rain pushed further out and at 7 PM, Brynn Elliott took the stage and kicked off the show.
Brynn has had music in her soul from a very young age through her grandfather. She was captivated by musicals and even taught herself to play guitar and piano. After the death of a loved one, Brynn found her writing voice and began putting her songs down to paper. She was accepted to Harvard University and there during a talent show performed a cover Brooke Fraser’s “Flags”. The response was outstanding and shocking to her, not expecting the reception from hundreds of her peers on campus. It was then she decided to start recording her music. After recording some songs in Atlanta they were sent to Clif Magness a music producer who offered Brynn the opportunity to write and record with him. Though still attending Harvard, she’s been focused on music and going on tour when the opportunity presented itself. This time with Lifehouse.
Brynn took the stage with her bright smile and white electric guitar in hand. And once she started singing she had everyone’s attention. She has the cleanest vocals with an amazing sound. Her music is uplifting and fun. And you can see how much she enjoys being on stage. She started off her set with “Set Free” and followed up with “I C U”. She then went behind a keyboard to perform “Lucky Us”. She said it was a song about love found in a coffee shop. Not only a talented sing, and guitarist, but also pianist as well. Brynn had everything falling into place tonight. She continued her set with “Might Not Like Me” and “Pyscho Stupid Crazy”, two singles she released. When she closed out her set the fans provided her with a nice round of applause. Brynn is definitely an upcoming artist we should all keep an eye on.
Next up was Switchfoot the band from San Diego, CA. They formed back in 1996 and since then have release ten studio albums. They have had major success in their career including ‘The Beautiful Letdown’ from 2003 that went double platinum, the Grammy-Award winning 2009 album ‘Hello Hurricane’, and have sold 5.7 million albums worldwide. Their latest release is their album ‘Where The Light Shines Through’ that was released on July 8, 2016. Switchfoot is very active in charity work including their own Bro-Am Foundation. The band consisting of Jon Foreman (vocals, guitar), Tim Foreman (bass), Jerome Fontamillas (keyboard, guitar), Drew Shirley (guitar), and Chad Butler (drums) were ready to greet the Orlando crowd.
Even though it was dark, Jon walked out on stage with a hat, sunglasses on, and a guitar with the words “Love Is The Movement” written on it. They started off with “Hello Hurricane” the title track to the 2009 album. They followed up with “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight” from the 2014 album ‘Fading West’. Jon ditched the hat and sunglasses and made his way onto the catwalk to shake hands with the crowd. On the back of Jon’s denim jacket were the words “Where I Belong”. Drew also stepped out onto the catwalk to play right in front of the photographers and then the fans. Large beach balls with Switchfoot’s name were thrown out for the fans to bounce around during the show. They continued on with “Bull In A China Shop” from the 2016 album ‘Where The Light Shines Through’.
The photographers and I exited the pit after the song and watched the rest of their performance. Jon asked the crowd to light up the area with their cell phones as they dimmed the lights on stage. It was a beautiful sight (though we weren’t allowed to photograph anything outside of the photo pit) to see the crowd light up the floor. And at one point, Jon spoke to the crowd saying no matter their gender, color, beliefs, or whatever differences they had, everyone there that night was his brother or sister. The crowd was family. Some of the songs they played included “Your Love Is a Song”, “I Won’t Let You Go”, “Gone”, “Where I Belong”, and “Float”. The crowd cheered and hollered as Switchfoot thanked the crowd and said goodnight. It was a great performance from the very talented band.
Finally, the headliners Lifehouse were ready to take the stage. The band formed in 1999 and took the radio waves by storm with the 2000 release of their debut album ‘No Name Face’. The first single “Hanging by a Moment” stormed through the charts peaking at #2 on the Top 100 and become the Top 40s most played song. It also spent 20 weeks in the Billboard’s Top 10. And when the debut album wasn’t taking radio by storm, it was dominating the television air waves with 7 songs appearing on the Warner Brothers television show “Smallville”. The band even made an appearance in the fourth season playing at the senior prom in the episode “Spirit”. From there success only continued for the Los Angeles band. With 7 studios albums, over 15 million albums sold worldwide, multiple singles in the Top 10, and a greatest hits compilation album released on July 18th, there is no doubt that Lifehouse is a powerhouse. The fans were screaming for them when the lights dropped and Jason Wade (vocals, guitar), Ricky Woolstenhulme Jr. (drums), and Bryce Soderberg (bass) hit the stage.
And like the powerhouse that they are, they opened with a huge jump from the band members into “Hurricane” from the 2015 album ‘Out of the Wasteland’. The crowd was already bouncing to the beat of the song while they played and Lifehouse looked right at home. They followed up with “All In” from the 2010 album ‘Smoke & Mirrors’. After the first chorus, Jason grabbed the microphone off the stand and walked up the catwalk to interact with the crowd. And the fans went crazy for the chance to shake his hand or even touch him. They continued on with “Halfway Gone” also from ‘Smoke & Mirrors’.
After the photographers left the pit, Lifehouse slowed it down playing “Sick Cycle Carousel” from their debut album ‘No Name Face’. The band was in the zone tonight sounding pitch perfect both musically and vocally. Jason has such a unique vocal sound unlike any other vocalist today. He definitely stands out in a good way and Jason sings and writes from the heart, which I believe contributes to their continued success. One of the best points for them that evening is when they decided to play a cover of U2’s “Pride (In the Name of Love). I was amazed how well Jason, Bryce, and Ricky hit this song musically note for note. Though Jason doesn’t sound like Bono, he did an awesome job covering this song. The band also performed two acoustic songs in “You Are Not Alone” from ‘Out of the Wasteland’ and “Broken” from the 2007 album ‘Who We Are’. They also played some of their greatest hits including “Everything” (such a beautiful ballad), “Whatever It Takes”, “First Time”, “You and Me”, and closed with “Hanging by a Moment”. Lifehouse put on a stellar performance for the Orlando crowd.
The Looking for Summer Tour was everything the fans could have wanted, expected, and more. Switchfoot and Lifehouse were two perfect bands to be paired up together and are providing the crowds with amazing and memorable performances. I’m glad I got the opportunity to review it because it will be a show I will not forget.