Tag Archives: Interview

Looking for Europe 2: BCDO South, finding the light shines in the darkness

May 27th

We were woken by distant thunder on show day #2. I’d arrived at the BCDO festival campsite late the previous evening and met up again with Jude, M, and some other fellow UK fans, and we were all camped together. We had a chilled late evening and morning hanging out on the campsite together, drinking Switchfoot related beverages, eating chocolate, dodging rain showers and jamming Switchfoot and Brooms songs together.

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Eventually we wandered onto the festival site, went over to Switchfoot’s merch stall where some of my friends picked up their first ever items of merch, and then went over to the interview tent. As hoped, the guys were indeed giving an interview that afternoon, so we all met up again to watch that.

You can watch the interview here. Romey and Jon were interviewed this time, we got a wave hi from them at the start. Bizarrely, and I’m still confused about why, Kitty Jon* got pulled up on stage and Jude had to explain it! They talked about honesty, hope, what success means as an artist… which is the heaviest vegetable… and as Jon was talking about the chaos and madness of what can happen in live music he shot just a tiny split-second glace in our direction with a twinkle in his eye! Jon got asked did they ever get told stories from their fans about what their music has done, and he looked at me and smiled, ‘Yes all the time, someone here was at our show in Amsterdam…’ At the end there was a great question about how they don’t like to be boxed in by labels but ‘where are you most comfortable, leading worship or reaching non Christians’? Jon’s response was very deep and wise and inclusive; we’re all searching, all hungry for something bigger, Christian or not, God doesn’t draw lines between us but sees us all as His children. But I noticed he referenced something I’d written to him (whether consciously or more likely not), that what he does is always his worship, ‘worth-ship’, when you sing you take people with you.

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The afternoon was rather dominated by chaos and chasing round trying to find out what was happening with VIP. Eventually through running back and forth we found tour manager Chico and got in. Tim was with his family so wasn’t there but I met the others and we asked each other how we were – they were much better having had a wonderful day off in Brighton with Martin Smith (who I spotted backstage too!), but I told them about my bus journey: ‘This is what I do for you guys!’ 😀 Drew asked what I thought of the festival, and I had to be honest and said it felt a bit of a weird bubble! A guy was there from the Philippines, he was so happy as it was his first time meeting them, and he got to speak to Romey. I got a hug from Romey, who asked where the cat was: ‘In here (pointing to my bag) – but I tell you what, I’ll let the cat out of the bag’ 😀 (Jon then made precisely the same joke!) I got a picture with Jon and Kitty Jon; real Jon said ‘Some people are cat people; some people are Cat People. I’m Cat Man – you got Cat Woman, we need Cat Man!’ 😀 On seeing the photo afterwards one of my friends pointed out that Jon was dressed almost identically to Kitty Jon, and indeed it would have been perfect if he had been wearing his hat! Switchfoot were talking to Jude about Amsterdam and she said  she loved how they improvise the setlist, so I jumped in and told them I was waiting for them to stick in Healer of Souls as so many British fans were into that one… let’s see 🙂

Jude also remembered to ask the question we’ve all been wanting to know the answer to; what is the little end track on New Way To Be Human?? Jon answered right away: ‘Chin 105 – it’s a fake radio station!’ :O 😀 It’s a jingle?! :O I told him there’d been a lot of theories going around; he liked ‘chew on a pie’! 😀

And then wow the concert!! We got pretty much front row or nearby, and were treated to a full hour of epic rock! They did not play Healer of Souls, nor any of M’s other picks (he’d said they would be neglecting their duty to rock’n’roll if they didn’t play that, Holy Water, Bull In A China Shop or Where The Light Shines Through!), but it was still awesome; they rocked up Gone again, and played us Stars, We Are One, Your Love Is A Song (that solo gets more awesome every time!), and opened with Float this time. It was a great set of songs that spanned their career, and I definitely felt they did not neglect their duty to rock! I particularly loved hearing them play so much from Nothing Is Sound, that album is very special to me.

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And then…

After a wonderful evening, we got word of an aftershow over at the chapel. And disaster struck. We rushed down there, to find a security guard and a locked gate; that part of the site would not be open until 10:30. The tweet had said 10. Tried another gate; same result. Went back. No luck. Tried the second gate again. By this time I had got separated from everyone, and the crowds were building up around the very small gate and beginning to press in. And I broke. The chaos out there and the chaos in here collided; the first thing was the heartbreak of being shut out from the aftershow. Then the pressing crowd and the anxiety around that; I felt like I might be hurt, I got scared. Then the despair on having to duck out and return to my tent. Then alone in the tent, all my most painful thoughts assaulted me…

Depression won that night. If he’d have said 10:30, and/or I hadn’t been ill, and/or his music didn’t mean so very much to me it would have been ok, but it was as it was. I just couldn’t stop crying. It went far beyond a missed aftershow into some very painful places. I let the thoughts assault me, let the tears come, and tried to hang on through it all, every let up in the assault a chance to take some deep breaths and pray and search for light and hope, until I could clearly see the brightness of everything good that had happened so far, and the strength of hope, standing in strong contrast to the excruciating pain.

M came back eventually and tried to persuade me to go over once it was 10:30 but by then I was too hurting and brain-fogged to be able to think clearly or to move. And then the others came back. They’d caught the end half of what had turned out to be a beautiful hour long solo set**. I was, and especially now am, relieved and extremely happy for them that they got to see it, but at the time my heart just splintered into pieces; that was my dream, and I’d been shut out of it, and I felt like a failure….

 

*I should explain; Jude and I have a mascot, a soft toy black and white cat named Jon after the real Jon and his climbing abilities… and tendency to end up places he’s not sure how to get back down from 🙂

**This is what I missed: Aftershow vid

Read Part 1 here and part 3 here

My tour of The Wonderlands, Part 1: BCDO

(This is the first of five posts about my recent adventures following Switchfoot’s Fading West European Tour – for context, here’s my post from the week before I left)

24th May: M and I catch the southbound train to Sussex for the Big Church Day Out: First stop on my crazy tour following Switchfoot round Europe.

I first caught up with Switchfoot as they were being interviewed by UCB before their show on mainstage. At first I wasn’t sure I’d even get in the venue, but I managed to squeeze in – and then ended up at the front of the crowd standing at the back, with a great view! So I decided to try filming the interview:

It’s been far too long since I saw them back in 2011, and I was very conscious of having never really communicated any appreciation to them, so I was very on edge and full of adrenalin. However I managed to hold it together just enough – I was shaking slightly, and actually had a minor meltdown when I caught guitarist Drew’s smile at one point(!), but however embarrassing I was, I did at least manage not to pass out! And I managed to call out that it didn’t matter what they played, it’d be awesome, and to pull out my ‘Thank you Jon’ banner, which he saw! Task one accomplished 🙂 But I had to go and lie down in the shade to recover afterwards!!

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I couldn’t cope with going to their signing – I wasn’t yet prepared to meet them, and besides I didn’t want anything signing. So I waited till their show on mainstage. I managed to get almost to the front, off to the side of the stage, not a perfect view but close enough. They entered the stage to a burst of Led Zeppelin! As frisbees flew through the air, they gave us an energetic show of a real mix of older and newer tunes, keeping the tone light for the festival rather than getting into their grittier material. They opened by rocking out with Meant To Live and actually went on to treat us to three more songs from The Beautiful Letdown, including Gone and This Is Your Life. Notably Jon emphasized ‘cash’ in the outro to Gone, after the ‘cat’ comment in the interview! To contrast with the older songs, we had Love Alone Is Worth The Fight, Who We Are, Let It Out and When We Come Alive from their latest album Fading West, as well as classics Dare You To Move, Your Love Is A Song and Dark Horses.

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Jon managed to break down all divisions between the stage, the crew and the crowd as only he can, climbing onto the crowd barriers and getting right in with the fans for This Is Your Life and Where I Belong, crowd surfing, swapping hats and taking photos with people whilst singing, thanking stage crew and even cheekily borrowing a camera off an official photographer to take a film of the crowd from his perspective. I remember the first time I saw them; I had such a terrible position in the crowd I basically couldn’t see the stage at all, so from my perspective it seemed like Jon was just popping up from nowhere at different points in the crowd, I had no idea where he’d materialise next! It was great to actually be able to see it this time!

From their smiles, the guys were clearly having fun; even a couple of minor mishaps when Jon broke a mic stand, and shortly after, a guitar string (rock and roll! 😀 ), were met with good humour, and Jon improvised with a harmonica during Your Love Is A Song without his guitar. I managed to get smiles from them when I got my ‘Thank you Jon’ banner out again too. By the time they closed with Jon again in the crowd to sing Where I Belong, it seemed like just about everyone was singing along with him.

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He had come into the crowd on the other side of the stage from where I was stood for This Is Your Life, but this time he stood on the barrier really close to where I was – just as we pulled out our ‘Where I Belong’ banner! M held It up over my head, so from my perspective I was watching Jon sing just feet away from underneath the banner, and when he saw it he smiled and sang part of the song ‘to me’. As the setting sun lit up a beautiful cloudscape, the reverberating closing lyrics ‘You and I, we begin forever now, forever now…’ were spine-tingling.

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After that, everything else on the programme really was going to be a beautiful letdown – a shame since Rend Collective were up next, I’d quite like to have been able to enjoy that properly! I stayed to watch, but the stage seemed kind of haunted by Switchfoot so I didn’t manage to give it much attention.

Finally – a funny encounter over falafels! We were getting food before going home, and were just finishing when suddenly Drew materialised in the food queue behind where we were sitting! There was nowhere to hide so I decided I may as well go and speak to him – it seemed a bit like a meeting of awkward introverts, but I did manage to thank him and wish that they’d been given the chance to play an encore (we tried!).


PS- Not part of the tour exactly, but definitely part of the journey; the previous day we’d been in Cambridge for the most joyful and inclusive wedding, and we’d been asked to perform a couple of songs there. M actually managed to get me in front of a microphone singing proper backing (just me, singing a different part to him), live – and I was not at all nervous, for the first time in my life! 🙂 I’ll learn to let it out one day 🙂

A song for part one