I guess you could call me pessimistic. It isn’t all that often I get the chance to see a band I feel will live up to my live performance expectations, but I was excited enough to see Foals make their first appearance in Florida that I made the four-hour-round trip to the Ponte Vedra concert hall in Jacksonville to see them play.
This was also my first time experiencing the venue, which is a modern church type building tucked away on it’s own just a mile or two off the coast. It also doubles as a concert hall for large touring acts; its purpose for the evening.
Not only was I lucky enough to finally see a band I had been dying to watch play their first show in Florida, I was also assigned to be a photographer for the event. But, what made this moment even more special was the request by the band to have photos taken only during the last three songs of the show, which included their encore. Typically, bands will request photos only be taken during the first three songs of a performance but we all know nothing compares to the energy of the band and crowd when the show is almost over.
Sonically, the band sounded great in the given venue. They played a lot of their hits even before halfway through the show, (“Olympic Airways,” “Spanish Sahara,” “My Number”) and tended to keep the rest of the set playing songs off their new album, What Went Down.
When it was finally time for me to take photos, Foals made their temporary exit off stage. When they returned, the crowd roared with anticipation. Yannis, the lead singer, thanked the crowd for their patience since it had taken the band more than a decade of a career to make an appearance in the “Sunshine State.”
Then the band started into their amazing encore and I had a front row seat as they thrashed around stage, electrifying the crowd. About midway through the first song, Yannis was jumping into the audience, being pulled back by security and then teetering on the edge of the crowd, shouting his lyrics into the eager hands and faces of the fans. At one point, he even jumped off stage with his guitar and disappeared into the audience and venue for what seemed like half a song, (the band played from a wireless system.)
Overall it was an amazing show, and the audience confirmed it. I am proud to have seen a solid rock band put on a performance of a lifetime especially, in an age where it seems all to fleeting to find authentic performers. Cheers Foals! May you make it back to the “Sunshine State” again someday.
Foals Live Review 2016 and Concert Photos by Chad Pearce.
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