On Friday at noon I had zero Friday night plans. Around 12:30pm, my photographer friend Chris posted on Facebook. To give you some background, Chris is the touring photographer (among other stellar occupations) for Switchfoot. His post was a list of tour dates; Switchoot was on a short tour, and two of the dates were within three hours of Des Moines. So I shot him a quick message, asking if he’d be coming through the city at all. He wouldn’t be, but he offered: if I was able to make it to the show, he’d get me in, and we could hang there. I scanned the dates. The closest show was Omaha—that night. Show at 7pm. I worked until 4:20pm. And it was a two-hour drive. Challenge accepted. I texted Brittany and she picked me up from work (with food and a hat because she’s awesome and my hair was a mess) and we booked it to Omaha.
We arrived with 15 minutes to spare. Enough time to take a photo with this animal head.
I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Switchfoot, and in how many city and venues. Outside, inside, Illinois, Iowa. I can’t count anymore. The first time I saw them was at the state fair with my dad and brother. I was in 8th grade and had just gotten contacts. It rained that day, and, as the show was outside, we got ridiculously wet, but it was completely worth it. A decade later, the band is still at it. And I’m still showing up, singing along, dancing, and feeling the words even more deeply than I did then. Stories of struggle and hope mean different things when you’ve lived more years. Deeper things. They settle into your soul and you find kinship in them.
During one of Switchfoot’s songs, frontman Jon climbed into the crowd and wandered through nearly every section. He walked down the aisle behind Brittany and II held out my right hand to high-five him. He high-fived me—then grabbed my hand and pulled himself up onto my chair. He stood right there for a moment, then grabbed my hat right off my head. And put it on his own head. He stood there, right next to me, on my chair, singing to me, with my hat on his head. Fifteen-year-old Liz geeked out. And let’s be real: adult Liz geeked out a little as I sang along to the same song. A minute later, Jon set my hat back on my head and moved on.
After the show, Chris met us in the foyer to say hi. He is an incredibly kind and gracious human and it was delightful to make his acquaintance in person. Until Friday, we had simply been internet friends, our paths barely missing each other in Chicago. One of my favourite times in life is when internet friends became “real life” friends and this was no exception.
Tory met us for dinner and it was wonderful to laugh together and hear about her life and adventures.
Our last stop was Walmart. We needed a phone charger and caffeine. At that point, we were pretty tired, after working and driving and the concert, so everything was funny. Those are the best drives: singing as loudly as you can to twenty one pilots and He is We and laughing and everything and nothing at all.