On Sunday night, over 1,500 people came to Chase Gymnasium to celebrate Biola’s 100th anniversary, and with festivities the founding fathers never would have envisioned a century ago. Yet for today’s generation, Switchfoot — almost assuredly the most successful band to ever play at Biola — was the ideal candidate to host the party.
“We’ve never actually played a birthday party for a school, let alone a 100 year type thing, so we figured, ‘Why not?’” frontman Jon Foreman told The Chimes before the show. “It sounded like a fun thing to do.”
After more than a decade of making music, Switchfoot knew exactly how commemorate the achievement. With a set list nearly identical to the one from last year’s “Appetite For Construction” tour with Relient K, the band delivered 11 of their biggest hits with electric precision.
Whether it was blasting off on openers “Oh! Gravity” and “Stars” or slowing things down with “Only Hope” and “On Fire,” Foreman and company proved they have the rock star performance thing down to a T. This was also evident on songs like “This Is Your Life” and “Awakening,” which showed why their music is a natural fit for that big arena setting — or in this case, a gym.
In the midst of it all, Foreman was quite the center of attention. Whether it was spinning around in circles while smashing on a cymbal or waving a banner across the stage, his enthusiasm was contagious. One of the concert’s obvious highlights, to which many students will also attest, was when Foreman went up into the bleachers during “On Fire.” With the crowd singing along, it was a stirring sight to witness.
To close things out, Switchfoot finished with the mighty one-two punch of “Meant To Live” and “Dare You To Move.” The rousing anthems were the perfect way to cap off the night, and their inspiring messages couldn’t have been more fitting as Biola looks ahead to its next 100 years.
Prior to Switchfoot’s appearance, The Myriad got things off to an impressive start with an all-too brief set. These up-and-comers definitely have great things in store and a live show to back it up. Then up next was singer-songwriter Tyrone Wells. While he couldn’t match the performances of the two bands he was sandwiched in between, he still put on an entertaining set which most of the audience seemed to enjoy.
In the end, though, it was clearly Switchfoot who took the cake. Literally. Since this was a birthday bash after all, three songs into the set Foreman brought out a birthday cake and called up Biola’s President Barry Corey. With the clock ticking down to midnight, the crowd cheered as Corey blew out the candles, and a whirlwind of confetti was unleashed. And then it was back to the music.