Dates with Switchfoot

If Switchfoot asked me on a date, I imagine I would say yes. I imagine we would go surfing. Switchfoot seems like the let’s-surf-together-for-a-date type. And we would definitely get ice cream afterwards.

(Jon Foreman in the surf at Switchfoot’s Bro-Am…Photo credit not mine)

But stuff like that doesn’t really happen, which is too bad.

So instead, I went to a Switchfoot concert at a Date Festival. The Riverside County Fair & National Date Festival, that is.

Each year in the Coachella Valley, the Date Palm Harvest is celebrated by a 10-day fair festival that features the classic fair-style fried food, the spin-around-till-you-barf-all-the-fried-food-you-just-ate roller coaster rides, lots and lots of overpriced stuff to buy, and music entertainment.

Particular to the Date Festival is an Arabian theme that includes ostrich races, camel rides, a Queen Pageant, and a small showcase of exotic animals. And besides the regular fair kitsch, there are a lot of neat cultural things to buy, too, like Mexican sweaters, ponchos, and blankets, along with Native American jewelry, and hand-tooled leather purses. I definitely spent way too much time gazing over the Native American jewelry, which could have pulled me completely out of college if I had a spending problem. I did end up getting an ear cuff which probably isn’t antique at all, but it’s cute and it has a turquoise stone in it.

And, of course, what’s a Date Festival without Dates? I split a Date Shake with my roommate, and let me tell you, the hype about them is completely true. Basically, a Date Shake is a vanilla shake in it with dates (some recipes add vanilla extract, too), which I figure is somewhat akin to how Red Velvet Cupcakes are just regular cupcakes except with a major kick in them from the cocoa powder.

(Not a very good picture of a Date Shake)

Switchfoot was also kind enough to take a break from recording their new album Vice Verses and come chill with us at the Date Festival that night. Except when I say “chill with us,” I mean “they played some music on a stage and we screamed at them.”

There was plenty for us to scream about too, because the setlist was unbearably awesome, including “Stars,” “The Sound,” “Meant to Live,” “Dare You to Move,” “Bullet Soul,” “Mess of Me,” and “Your Love is a Song,” amongst many others.

If you ever have a chance to see Switchfoot…do it. The band gives a tight performance with stellar sound quality and loves to engage the crowd by directing everyone to contribute vocally during certain parts of the songs (like the whoa-ohs in “Awakening”).

And Jon Foreman can play the mandolin, featured in the song “Hello Hurricane,” which the band played for their encore.

Oh, and apparently he likes to climb things, too.

He’s one of those guys that just makes me want to smile.


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