Photos by Jenna Hynek.
It’s a common phrase yelled by the lead singer during a concert: “WE LOVE YOU (Insert city here).” Well, when Blue October front-man Justin Furstenfeld said he loved Omaha, he made everyone believe it.
The alt-rock band Blue October played to a packed Sokol Auditorium Thursday night, playing everything from classics to songs off their new album, “I Hope You’re Happy”. Furstenfeld was kind enough to give some insight on the new album in an interview, as well as some of his stories from touring.
“This album is personally important to me,” Furstenfeld said. “It’s actually the first album I got to produce so I got to put a lot of my personal interests into it. Like, I’ve always loved jazz, I was able to kind of incorporate a lot of that in there, as well as some other genres and the result is this kind of dreamy sound.”
Before delving further into Blue October’s performance, there needs to be a mention of the opening act, Kitten. Kitten does what all good openers do, which is get the crowd fired up for the headliner. Kitten’s lead singer, Chloe Chidez, in particular, got the crowd riled up with her on-stage hand-stands, Jaggr-esque dance moves and sky dive into the waiting arms of an emphatic crowd.
After Kitten got the crowd jacked, it was Blue October’s time to deliver to their adoring fans. Walking out onto the stage amongst smoke and blue light (naturally), the band delved into a wide-ranging set sure to please any Blue October fanatic.
A crowd favorite was “The Chills”, a song off the 2011 album “Any Man in America”. The opening rift of the song was met with shrieks from the excited audience.
Another highlight came during perhaps the band’s most popular song, “Into the Ocean”, a song that, even all these years later, stands out to Furstenfeld. When asked which song is his favorite to perform, he answered with “Into the Ocean”.
“I just love singing that one,” says Furstenfeld, “It’s words are just so beautiful and personal, and I think the crowd really connects with its message. That one will always give me chills.”
While “Into the Ocean” may be Furstenfeld’s all-time favorite, he appeared to have the most fun performing “I’ll Do Me, You Do You”. Shortly after sharing relationship advice with the audience and how to deal with the haters, Furstenfeld jumped into his best moves, displaying why he truly thinks he’s beautiful.
The true highlight of the night came during the band’s performance of their classic, “Calling You”. Furstenfeld called on the audience for help in singing the song’s familiar refrain, all while praising the fans for their “beautiful” voices.
Furstenfeld had no shortage of compliments for the adoring crowd. From explaining why they’ve come to Omaha for 18 straight years to even calling Omaha his second home before dedicating the catchy tune “Home” to the city, Furstenfeld truly made the crowd feel like Omaha was special. To Furstenfeld, Omaha really will always have a special place in his heart.
“Omaha was actually the first city to play our music on the radio,” Furstenfeld said. “We’re just very excited to be back.”
That excitement was on full display throughout their performance, playing deep into the night, causing fans to walk away feeling truly appreciative for the personal performance.
Blue October continues their tour in Minneapolis and Saturday in Des Moines.