December 9, 2014 Blue October amaze Talking Stick Resort Scottsdale, AZ 12-5-14
San Marcos, Texas based band Blue October have become a household name in the Alternative Rock world with their shimmering songs and haunting lyrics. The band, which was founded by vocalist/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Delahoussaye while they were still in high school, has traveled a long road to success before even being signed. Making their major label debut in 2000 with Consent to Treatment, hard work and perseverance helped them reach gold status with 2006’s Foiled. Now complimented by a lineup of Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums), C.B. Hudson (lead guitar), and Matt Noveskey (bass guitar), Blue October returned with their seventh studio album in 2013 titled The Sway. After a successful tour in support of the album in the earlier part of 2014, the band continued tireless live performances with this fall’s The Quiet Mind Tour. Proving not to be road weary, a string of dates finds them back out rocking live through the end of year. On Friday, December 5th, the band rolled into Scottsdale, Arizona to perform for a very dedicated, sold out crowd at the Talking Stick Resort.
The evening was jump-started with Zeale, an Austin, Texas rapper who mixes Hip Hop, Dance, and Indie Rock to create a “new alternative” style. Zeale has released his first major EP entitled FRNZ & FNGZ, which had some collaboration with none other than Justin of Blue October. Coming to the forefront of the stage, Zeale welcomed the audience to dance and get the party started. The Friday night audience was more than willing to participate as they thoroughly enjoyed themselves through songs like “Radio” and “Marilyn Monroe.” Taking things to the next level, “Invisible Prisons” featured Justin emerging to accompany his friend and protégé in a little hip-hop/rap number which electrified the crowd. Zeale did a fine job of warming up this audience; he is an artist to watch out for.
Right around 9:30 PM, the main event commenced with a brief video informing everyone about an upcoming release of Blue October’s live album & DVD film documentary that is currently in production. To support the project, which the band has been working on for the past several years, Blue October started a PledgeMusic campaign to make it possible for the fans to help participate in its creation. Currently, with over one hundred percent funding and a live album release scheduled for September 2015, the documentary DVD will be completed in early 2016. This gives fans a lot to be excited for.
Once the band took the stage, everyone in the theater got to their feet and raised their hands to the sky, wanting to get closer to show their love and support for Justin. Right from the start, it seemed that this night would be a roller coaster of raw emotions as the band kicked off with the title track off their latest album, “Sway.” Directly following with “She’s My Ride Home” from Folied, there appeared to be a new dynamic with Blue October that fans had not seen before. Only two songs in, there seemed to be a confidence that was reassuring to the crowd while Justin made it clear that the band would be covering a lot of material spanning the length of Blue October’s sixteen year discography. The crowd showed its appreciation with a series of yells and screams chanting “Blue October,” and the set moved into “Independently Happy” and “Say It.” Justin displayed the remarkable ability to go from an aggressive approach during these songs to a more mellow mood with “Congratulations.” Watching him give all his physical and mental emotion to each and every song showed the maturity and calmness that he has embraced through his life.
With the band encouraging crowd interaction from the front of the stage to the back of the theater, smiles were contagious as the fans sang along, waved their hands, and swayed to favorites like “Congratulations.” It was no longer a show focusing solely on the band; this crowd was ready to fully participate, and Blue October was happy to let them all in. As the frontman, Justin successfully evoked this feeling, and as “Into the Ocean” began, every vocal chord in the audience loudly and proudly blasted out the chorus without a skipping a beat. As the song ended, standing smack-dab in front of the stage with his hands on his hips and a grin on his face, Justin raised his hand and pointed to the crowd, complimenting them for their enthusiasm.
Keeping the energy levels high, the band went on to perform songs off Sway including “Fear” and “Debris.” Showing they were having the time of their lives, the members of the band playfully interacted with one another on stage, making the experience that much more pleasant. Justin continued his colorful antics, telling heartfelt stories and making the crowd laugh with his many anecdotes. Their performance closed out — or so it seemed– when big hit “Hate Me” rang clear, followed by “X Amount of Words.” With the room cheering at the top of their lungs for more, the band came out for an encore that consisted of both newer and older tracks: “The Worry List,” “My Never,” and “Things We Do At Night.”
Music fans would be hard pressed to find a singer/songwriter with the kind of passion and sincerity that Justin and the rest of Blue October give to their fans every night. Throughout this performance it was evident that Blue October is in a better place than at any other point in their career thus far. Their songs are so real and heartfelt, and related to everyone present at Talking Stick Resort in one way or another. See why so many people are obsessed with Blue October and catch them on tour before the end of the year.
Fans can still support the Blue October Documentary film at Pledgemusic