My American Dream: An FOTF Experience

Anyone wouldn't wait for a second chance. Normally, people who have dead hopes and dreams just give up, forget, and move on to another d...

Anyone wouldn't wait for a second chance. Normally, people who have dead hopes and dreams just give up, forget, and move on to another dream. But life is not supposed to be filled with dead hopes and dreams. It should inspire you to move forward even more, never stopping. 

Hopes and dreams are meant to relive again until our last breathe. I believe we can never attain all our wildest dreams on earth but we can attain the ones that are meant for us, ones we deserve and don't deserve. 

One of the items written in my bucket list is to watch a concert of my most favorite band Switchfoot. Due to a busy schedule in 2007, I didn't get to watch their first concert in Manila. It became a dead hope and a dream though I still believed then that I would have my second chance once they come back. Surprisingly, I found out they were going hold another concert in  Manila this year. I told myself I wouldn't miss this chance so I bought my tickets early during Valentines Day. I never wished to have a chance to meet them in person but I did. I joined a Meet and Greet Contest and won which was totally unbelievable. During the contest, I almost gave up because my profile in Facebook was set in private so I didn't get the message for the winners right away. But God taught me to wait, have hope, and claim the promise He has given me. So I got to meet the whole band last April 30, 2011 at Phil Sports Arena Ultra, Pasig City and the rest you can read here. It was a fan girl's dream come true, indeed.

One dream attained is still not the end for it grows. The purpose of a dream becomes bigger than ourselves and it expands beyond known and unknown reasons. Maybe when it comes to Switchfoot, my greater purpose is the love for the band and the strong support for the music and activities they do. It may be to bring more people to listen to their songs and be touched by them. Or it can be a way for people to know Jesus Christ. Until now, I haven't figured out why I'm chasing this dream to meet a band, follow them through the years, buy their albums,  and watch their concerts. Well, not yet. But all I know is that it brings me great joy just to do these things and interact with them like real friends. They inspire me to become a better musician and a better person.

I thought everything has ended when my dream came true last April. But I guess it was only the start of something more with the band. Before I flew to the United States last September, I set aside my earnings for three things: 
Annual membership fee which involves:
a) An FOTF laminated ID
b) A signed copy of "The Best Yet LIVE"
c) A "Vice Verses" FOTF shirt 
d) 10% off at the online store
e) Free downloads of songs

Some people might really ask, "Why are you paying for all of these just to be a friend of the band?" Well, the answer is simple. I want to personally support the band and this is one great way to do this.

(2) Preorder of Vice Verses Deluxe online:
This is just plainly the Vice Verses CD in a digi-pack deluxe case, a Hello Hurricane Live CD, liner notes, and a free download of the newly released track 'Dark Horses.'
(3) Two Switchfoot tickets at The Wiltern, Los Angeles. I had the first two shipped to a U.S. address and I bought the tickets at Live Nation. I bought two tickets because I wanted to share the experience with someone. At that time, I haven't really decided who to take. 

Vice Verses' release date was September 27, 2011. Four weeks before the release date, I joined the Vice Verses Twitter contest. The instructions were just simple: Tell us what your Vice Verses are in Twitter. Jon Foreman would handpick 20 winners each week and they would send a copy of Vice Verses plus speakers to all the winners a week before the release. The speakers were for hosting a Vice Verses Listening Party. And so, hundreds to thousands of fans tweeted and put the #ViceVerses hashtag. I was absolutely one of them. On the 2nd week, I won! I'm not really sure what tweet won Jon Foreman's heart but maybe it was one of these:
Seeing students frown and weep over your discipline and seeing their beautiful faces light up with joy in your presence  
The awesomeness of travelling, planning, (still) making room for spontaneity, and experiencing tons of adventure  
My  is dancing to a couple of  songs like there's no tomorrow in order to destress.. with only God watching.  
Hoping for things unseen and believing for greater things to come each day   
My  are the Lens and the Skill to capture and suspend a particular moment, whether portraying happiness, sadness, or both
I really had no idea. Hahahaha. I even exchanged emails with the merch staff about FOTF and shipping. I was just so lucky to be all set! I would be getting two cds (one I won and one I preordered), watching a concert, and meeting the guys. Could this get any happier? I was literally jumping for joy!

A week before my departure, I painted a ViceVerses-inspired shirt for me to wear at the concert. The theme of the shirt was the song "Restless." Here's a picture of it:

Of course, I wanted to give them a token so I went to Kodak to print out two photos from my Switchfoot Concert in Manila set. I joined the two photos in one black and white photo frame. I didn't get to take a picture of it but here was how the pictures looked like:

The only difference was I put the second photo a little on top of the first photo in order to cover the bunch of white light at the bottom of the first photo. And voila! On the night before the concert, I wrote the longest letter I have ever written to the band. I was just sitting on the bed and writing it on my best handwriting. Then I pinned it at the back of the photo frame. My Mom asked me that night, "Did you make this?" She loved it. I had a hope that night that the band would love it too. 

I have thought a lot about who I was going to take to the concert. My Mom was my first choice because she was already with me and she would go with me anywhere if I asked her to. I even bought LOGE tickets with seats instead of the pit because of her. But I also imagined her waiting in line and getting tired so I decided to save her from that suffering. The next person that I invited was Sabine. She wanted to go with me but she had work. Then I asked Ate Carla to go with me when we were in Los Angeles. Because she was near Hollywood, it thought it would be easy for her. The weekend before the concert came and I met her at her apartment in LA. I picked up the package Switchfoot right here:

Ate Carla told me that she had to work on the concert day and she would be coming home tired already. I really wanted to treat her out. But I had to ask another person. I asked Issa, my classmate in a voice workshop way back in 2005, if she could go with me to the concert. She said yes because she her two-day off covered the entire day of the concert. I totally owed her a lot because she just came from work that morning. 

Artee, Issa's boyfriend, drove with her to fetch me at Diamond Bar. He was a really nice guy. I admired his patience and love for Issa. The three of us went straight to The Wiltern for the Meet & Greet was scheduled at 2:30 PM. I really thought it was after the show but it was a good thing we arrived there just in time. We parked at a grocery store at the back of The Wiltern and then Issa and Artee smoked. I was getting excited to go inside already because we were a little late. But thanks to my patience I was able to sustain it. Hehehe.

Because we didn't know where to go first, we asked a black security guy at the back gate where the Friends of the Foot go. The guy said he also didn't know and he asked us to wait. I was about to say that we could just go in front but he said we should stay because he wouldn't want us going there for nothing. How kind! 

Out of the blue, one guy and a couple came pushing a trolley. The security guy asked him if he could let us in. The trolley guy asked us, "Friends of the Foot? Come with me." And so we were led into an alley at the backstage which led to a bolted door. A guy, whom I have mistaken first as Andy Barron, the photographer of Switchfoot, turned out to be Joshua Thompson. He suddenly opened the door. The trolley guy asked Joshua if we could enter that door or go with him. Joshua said he could let us in. He asked our names. Issa said hers but I quickly said mine because I was the one who registered. He crossed out my name, let us in, and said, "Just in time."

When we entered the door, we  found ourselves standing at the pit of the theater. All of the Switchfoot members and fans were dancing in front of our eyes. My hands were shaking and I kept saying, "Picture.. picture.." HAHAHA. I was really trembling. But I calmed myself and looked for the Vice Verses CD in my bag and prepared the token. Issa and I were standing at the middle and I was like one step away from each of the guys. They were still busy talking with a lot of groups so we had to wait for our turn. Issa kept asking me, "Sino ba diyan yung artista? (Who's the artist among them?)" LOL. We waited for our chance. I also realized that we just missed the soundcheck. Another LOL. 

The first one to get free from the fans was Drew Foreman, the guitarist. I said "Hi" to Drew, shook his hand, and told him that I met him in Manila last April. He was very friendly and jolly. Then I mentioned that he was following me in Twitter. HAHA! He said, "Oh really? Wow!" I asked for his autograph and while signing it, he asked for my Twitter name. We talked for a bit, I said thank you, and then he was gone. 

I totally forgot to take a picture with Drew because I saw Tim Foreman, the bassist finally free! I went up to Tim, said "Hi" and shook his hand. Let me remind you that he is one of my most favorite members of the band. Actually, they were all my favorite but Tim is totally my favorite next to his brother, Jon Foreman. 
Tim was holding the photo frame I gave them. <3
I told Tim that I saw them last April in Manila and I wasn't sure if he remembered me. He asked me if I live in the US. I said I just came here for a visit and I am also planning to study here. Then he said, "So you are planning to study here.. That's great." I asked him for a photo with him and he embraced my shoulders and I was at first hesitant to embrace his waist. Hahahaha. I was just too shy! I told him that I just became Friends of the Foot this year and I really wanted to see them again. He even said, "I'm glad you are here!!!" Oh my God. I could die at that moment. Then I brought out the photo frame for him to see. I said sorry for my amateur photo but he said, "No it's good. It's cool.... (he kept looking at it) I like the Philippine flag very much.. You should show it to Jerome because he likes this stuff." He then asked, "Where's Jerome? (looking around)" He then guided me to where Jerome was and I was telling him so many "thank you"s. He said "I should let you give this to him (handing me the photo frame)" Before I forget, Tim said "You should say "Hi" to everyone in the Philippines for us!" So to all of the Filipino Switchfoot fans out there, Tim says "HI!!!"

Once Jerome Fontamillas, the keyboardist was free, I went up to him to say "Hi" and shake his hand. I told him, "We're Filipinos! (referring to Issa and I)." He said, "Oh, kababayan!" And we were laughing altogether at once. I asked him for an autograph first and Issa was there taking some pictures or talking with the other band members. I had no idea! Hahaha. Then I said, "I'm not sure if you remembered me in the Meet & Greet in Manila." Then he said, "I do remember you but I'm not sure you were there (referring to Issa)." Talaga lang, Jerome? Hehehe kiddin'. I showed Jerome the photo of them in Manila. He was eyeing it for a moment, told me it was good, and said thank you. 

Jon looking at the photo frame. I loooove this moment!
Chad Butler, the drummer, suddenly came out of nowhere. He was already signing my Vice Verses album which was still in the hands of Jerome. I said "Hi" to him and shook his hand. Then he was looking at the photo I gave them as well. Then Jon suddenly came up beside me and the next thing I knew, he was looking at the photo as well. He was really grinning and asking me if I took it during their concert in Manila and if I were from Manila. He liked the Philippine flag as well. Then he said "We should put this in our studio!!!" Oh my! It was heaven. Being surrounded by the band members and being appreciated for what you have given them was so surreal. I kept saying, "YAY!" Hahahahaha. Jon handed the photo frame to the same tour guy I saw last April, "Hey man! Keep this in our studio!" Then Issa said she would take our picture. So Chad, Jerome, Jon, and me cuddled together. At first, I looked behind me to check for Tim and Drew but they were nowhere to be found so I returned to the moment. *CLICK!* 

Wishing Drew and Tim were here..
Jon then signed my Vice Verses album. He kept talking about the 5 Filipino words he knows.
5 Filipino Words Jon Foreman Knows:
1. Isa pa! (He even said this to Jerome who walked to the person behind me.)
2. Kamusta?
3. Astig!
4. Mahal co kayo! (I supplied this 'cause he couldn't remember)
5. Mabuhay! (He even exclaimed "Mabuhay Philippines!!!!" out loud with his hands wide open). It was hilarious. I wish I took a video of it. But it was a one-of-a-kind moment that was faster than my hands and camera could take.)

We were just laughing so hard while he said this one by one. Then I asked for a photo with him and I also took a photo of him and Issa. Then I said thank you to Jon and congratulated him for Vice Verses. Tim also came out of nowhere and we bid him goodbye. I congratulated him again for Vice Verses and shook his hand. When we went to the side of the stage, I realized that we were the only people left at the middle at that time because the others were already asked to move to the side. Solong-solo!!!

I can definitely call this the perfect "Friends of the Foot" experience. Compared to the last meet and greet that I had attended to, this was a better experience because I was more relaxed and totally myself. In addition, there were no bouncers and no time limits. It depended on how your conversation with the guys go. In other words, chill. This time, I just became a friend to the band. 

One thing I was not sure if they did see was the "kubing" that I sent to each one of them. When I asked one of the guys (it was probably Drew or Tim), he asked "Kubings?" And after I explained to him what kubings are, he just said "Ohhhh yeah." But I really doubt that he remembered because they received so many gifts at that time. If Jon couldn't even remember the lyrics of his songs sometimes, how can each of them even remember one gift from a fan? Well, it might be possible just as long as it held a very significant memory for them. I do hope the photo frame does.

I also noticed that I was the only fan who gave them a token. Or am I the only one? If you were there and you have given them something, just feel free to tell me. I really wanted to extend my thank you's and appreciation to the band. I'm so glad Jon wanted the photo frame to be placed in their studio. I take your word for that, Jon! (((:

All of the FOTF were led out in the lobby. Joshua Thompson gave some instructions and left us all to ourselves.  Issa and I kept talking about how great the experience was and how humble the guys were. Honestly, they were so kind, so friendly, so generous. It was really impossible not to love them.

Meeting the guys in this set-up has made me so happy that I could not forget it. Even after Issa and I met Artee somewhere at the corner, I was spaced out. Still, I typed the details of my experience on my phone so that I wouldn't forget it. Hahahaha. I also kept staring at Issa's shots of me and the band. I totally owed her!!! Thank you so much, Issa for taking the pictures! I could not believe I have finally done it. I am a Friend of the Foot!!! LOL.

We got out of the theater around 3:30 PM. There was a very long line outside and I couldn't believe we were not lining up with them. Hahahaha. Because we still have 3 hours to spare before the doors open, we had snacks at Iota and then proceeded to the Hollywood sign. Here are some pictures we took:

Eat Hollywood!
Fight over Hollywood!

Happy Kid!
At around 5:30 PM, we returned to The Wiltern and bid Artee goodbye. We were lining at the other side of the theater: The VIP Experience. This was my first "WOW" concert moment though standing there for an hour was also very tiring. While we were lining up, we started to wonder where we would pick up our tickets. Most people in the line were already holding theirs and it seemed like we were the only ones without them. We also thought we were in the wrong line but we were just at the right spot. Even though we had to pick up our tickets at the Will Call booth, we could still line up in VIP because we had an FOTF pass. Sweet! ;)

Wish I made friends...

When we were about to go in, the security asked us to open our bags. Professional cameras and video cameras weren't aloud inside so we had to surrender ours. They told us to leave it in our car or in the Wiltern office. Because we had no car as of the moment and Artee was nowhere to be found, we had no choice but to leave my camera in the Wiltern Office. A security guy entered with us to the theater and led us to the office. Then he left. In the office, my funniest and greatest law-breaking act happened. Because the guy didn't talk to the woman in the office, she had no idea what items we should be surrendering. Issa surrendered her entire video camera and I surrendered........................ my broken lens. Hahahahaha! The woman just received it and put it safely away. She asked us to sign a paper and then gave us stubs. And that was it! I still have my camera with another lens with me!!! Pasaway, I know. ((((((:

The Wiltern's interior was an old Western style theater. The design was definitely beautiful. At the lobby, there were food booths, ticket booths, and a merchandise booth. I bought a Dark Horses shirt and Issa bought food. Our seats were just right for we could clearly see the stage despite the distance. And it was just right above the pit so it was still a good view.

Thank you Issa. :-*
The show started after 30 minutes. Two bands called Vanaprasta and Atomic Tom opened up for Anberlin and Switchfoot. They were good though they played metal rock songs. I couldn't understand the vocals. To tell you the truth, I didn't like it that much. I actually wanted Switchfoot to show up already. Even Issa dozed off and a couple of European guys in front of us laughed at the scene. HAHAHA.

Atomic Tom
Anberlin came out next. They played a couple of good long acoustic songs. Though they could be a bit draggy at times, I still thought of them as a great band. One problem was I couldn't figure out the titles of their songs. I had plenty of their songs in my Itunes and I couldn't seem to match it. But Anberlin has made a good impression on me that I am glad I had the chance to finally hear them live. 

I noticed that the sound was a bit loud and distorted during the opening bands. I think there was something wrong with the sound system. For those who watched the concert, did you notice? But it got better after a few Anberlin songs. Actually, it  started to get better in the last few songs of Anberlin.

Switchfoot played an hour later. I could feel that almost everyone in the audience was waiting for this moment.

1. Afterlife
2. Stars
3. Mess of Me
4. Sabotage (Beastie Boys cover)
5. Selling The News
6. This Is Your Life
7. Restless (Jon said, "My friends, never believe that this world can't change. Never believe that you can't change." He walked to the crowd. He returned to the stage and brought up a kid named Sarah. Lucky girl! It was her first concert. I believe she would definitely remember this moment for a lifetime!)

8. Dare You To Move (Jon started to sing in the crowd and then walked back to the stage during the last chorus.)

9. Your Love Is A Song (Chills! God was and is here.)
10. Dark Horses (The band did an acoustic intro of the chorus. When Jon sang, "I can feel my lungs again," there was an actual sound of Jon breathing. Jon introduced his best friends and his humble self.)


11. The War Inside (Jon drummed a lot in this part!)
12. Meant To Live (Jon changed "mice and men have second tries" to "vices and verses have second tries")
13. Where I Belong (Fave!!! Recorded the whole song.)

14. The Sound (John M. Perkins' blues) - Extended outro
Issa was teasing me of crying during some of the songs. Well, it happened to me at the April concert too. I guess every Switchfoot concert would not only be a music haven but a place of worship. 

After the concert, we met up with Artee and ate dinner at the most famous In & Out. I totally love the green pepper! I couldn't believe Artee waited for Issa for 5 hours straight! What an awesome boyfriend. A day of Music + Friends + Food = <3

During bed time at Artee and Issa's apartment, I laid in bed with the blue band still wrapped around my wrist. I was thanking God for the wonderful night and for giving me a great inspiration: Switchfoot. This FOTF experience had been another dream come true but it would not stop me from dreaming more. I would still continue to support this band by renewing my FOTF membership each year, watching their shows, buying their albums, meeting and greeting them, giving them tokens, and simply sending them love through I wouldn't mind travelling with them in their journey for I love them too much. It was absolutely possible to love a band as much as you love a friend.  

I believe dreams won't come true without faith and passion. What I have learned from this experience is that there are millions of people in the world who could be in my place but God let me have it. He will surely put His people in a test but He will give it to us once He saw our hope and fire anchored in Him. I want to encourage you to do the same with your dreams. I want you to have the same hope and fire that I have had and still thriving for each day. Fight for your dreams and never give up!

I once said that when I got my second chance, I would take more pictures and would say more words to the band. It just happened in a span of 5 months and 11 days. God is so awesome. 

This is just a start of beautiful Foot friendship. I believe every person I will bring to a Foot concert will get to feel the same way about the band and their music. May it be a family member, a friend, or *whoishe?*, I'm sure Switchfoot would be able to touch their lives in different ways just like what they did to me back in 2002. It's amazing how I have been a fan for almost a decade already.

Switchfoot, crossing the Pacific Ocean to find your shore was so worth it. I don't mind seeing you guys again in the following years to come.

Echoing you guys, "See you 'round!"

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  1. Awesome post. They're such a great great band, and I always love hearing/reading stories about them. :)

    Tim Foreman is my favorite too. Back in the 2007 concert, I got to talk to him a lot because he was handling the merchandise for the concert which I was in charge of in the team. :) He was so nice and he gave us the shirts that we wore that concert. :)



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