For Today’s Farewell Tour rolled through Cleveland, Ohio on September 16,2016 at the Agora Ballroom. With The Farewell Tour featuring artists like Wage War, Rival Choir, and Gideon I already knew that the night was going to be loud, but having no experience seeing any of these artists live, I did not know what to expect.
6:30 doors opened right on time, and the excitement in the crowd was building. Everyone shuffled in to take their positions around the stage and the next four hours would be something that one would need to experience to fully understand.
To start off, generally speaking opening acts are meant to get the audience excited for what is to come. As a rule of thumb they are usually under developed and not always good. Then there are bands like Rival Choir who will kill every opening band stereotype. While definitely one of the younger acts I’ve seen, they took command of the stage and kept it. Even though the crowd wasn’t familiar with their lyrics it was impossible not to be as enthusiastic as they were. They just commanded that kind of response and were rewarded with energy from the crowd. I immediately found a CD and a shirt after the show. Their musicianship is still developing, but in a few years, they will have quite the career for themselves. Overall I was very impressed.
Gideon and Wage War continued the trend of increasing volume and stage presence which is to be expected with bands that size and with that much time together under their belts. Regardless they did not disappoint, but nothing at all could have prepared me for For Today.
I have never seen anything like that in any type of live settings. While Rival Choir commanded the stage, For Today demanded the command of the audience as well. You had no choice but to be caught up in their passion. The set and the music you were hearing was raw, honest, emotionally fueled, and brutal. Everything from the incredibly technical and complex guitar solos and breakdowns was moving.
And then there was Mattie Montgomery.
I have heard stories from other concert goers about his stage presence, but even their words were nothing compared to what I was watching. Seeing this band is not just a show, it’s not just a performance. Seeing For Today is an experience from the first scream to last note, and is well worth any drive, any ticket price, and any expense period to see them. Mattie stated at the start of the show, that this tour was the start of the end for them. He was right. It is the start of the end of this band, and the start of a period without a group this verse and enthusiastic about their work. The end of an era if I could dare go that far.
My biggest regret about going to For Today’s Farewell Tour was that it was the first, and last time I will ever be able to see the band. They are remarkably gifted bunch of men, and I wish them all the best in their futures.