My sister Rebecca and I have seen Blue October in Philly each Spring for the past few years now. Every year we are blown away and realize we love Blue even more on the way home than on the way down. This year we went into it without too many expectations, we knew we'd love it, but we just didn't know what to expect. The tour is tagged as "acoustic" to promote their new acoustic album which was released on May 10. Aside from that there were lots of new factors thrown in...a different guitar player, some seats/some standing areas, no lining up early, blah, blah, blah ;-) Since we knew we had no chance at getting close to the stage (there were 300 chairs in front of the rail) we decided not to kill oursleves getting there early and trying to fight for a spot in line. We headed for the heavens and checked out the balcony/bar area. It was entirely different experiencing the show from that perspective, no crowd pushing and shoving, lots of room to breathe and move, a bar and bathroom nearby :-) but also no feeling of personal connection with the band like you get when you are a row or two back. We ended up lucky and we are both really happy with the spots we had. (I will go on record as saying though that I would still always prefer to be on the floor n row, maybe even two back lol)
Ok now that all that is out of the way ... The concert was phenomenal! The opening act SOLDIER THREAD was really great! The crowd really seemed to enjoy them more than most of the opening acts from years past. They kept is fairly short, but packed their set list with some really impressive songs. The lead singer, Patricia Lynn, has the most wonderful voice. Hearing her live was really impressive. I see great things in her/their future.
And then of course, BLUE OCTOBER. Their show wasn't quite as 'acoustic' as maybe it could have been but it was scaled down perfectly. From the stage, to the lights, to their instruments everything was a little more personal and a little 'less' than a typical show. Justin was much more relaxed and conversational with the crowd and everyone in the band really genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves (or maybe they are just really good actors lol) Either way the concert was perfect.
A few of the highlights of the show (really hard to pick a few, it was all so good)...
- Calling You (slow) - Justin intro'd this by telling how back in the day he wrote it as a gift to a girlfriend, because he was just a poor musician who had no money to buy a gift lol. I seriously think that just about every single person in that venue sang along to this song! It was really cool and I enjoyed hearing this slower version of the song.
- Feel Again - They played this new song (from their upcoming album) as part of the encore. It was beautiful! Justin talked about how personal all of the songs from this new album are and how they came from his struggle with divorce and his wanting to be with his daughter. You could definitely feel his emotions in this song. So raw, really powerful. Also, I love the little guitar tune (I have no idea what to call that) that appears a few times in there.
- The Follow Through - Another new song. As if this song wasn't kick ass enough, Patricia Lynn from Soldier Thread joined him for part of this. Their vocals work so well together! The audio recordings don't do it justice. I can't get this song outt of my head, keep finding myself humming or singing parts of it.
- Julian Mandrake - I would be remiss if I didn't mention something about this :-) I was just as upset as the next fan when I heard that CB was leaving Blue. No one was really sure what would happen. News started trickling out back around SXSW that Julian has joined them again (he filled in and played with them in the past) as guitarist. (I have no idea if he is just filling in or if he will be their new guitar player.) He has a sort of different presence about him at first, but he is very talented and in fact by the end of the show I was majorly impressed by him! He had some great guitar solos and did a phenomenal job. I hope he sticks around for a bit.
The only thing i would have changed if I could was the seating/standing set up. I think it probably should have been all of one or the other, it was odd to have 500 people standing behind the 300 seated people. But for us it all worked out OK so I really can't complain.
Note: This was my first concert with my iPhone, since we were far away I wasn't expecting much from my videos. BUT they actually came out really good! I've been fighting to upload them at a high quality to youtube for days now. I finally decided to upload them at a lower quality, since the audio is still good. Here's one of my favs, The Follow Through! Enjoy! (lol they look so little in it)