My obsession with Blue October started innocently enough. I heard the song “Hate Me” on XM and it felt like a punch in the stomach. I can’t say that I related to the meaning of the song in a literal way (not having personal experience with drug addiction) but something about the incredible emotional pain being expressed touched a nerve. I suppose a psychologist would have a field day with that. At any rate, it was enough to make me go out and buy the album without hearing any of the other songs on it. I ended up loving every single song on Foiled, so I went online and purchased Blue October’s 3 previous studio albums. Plus a live CD and concert DVD.
I started reading about the band and checking their tour dates online. On October 13, 2007, my husband and I saw them perform live for the first time at the Myth. It was amazing. They are a heavy touring band with a very dedicated fan base and their live performances are mesmerizing. At the show I ran into Jill’s daughter-in-law Carolyn. It turned out that her brother was a huge fan and had introduced her and Dan (Jill’s son) to the band. It was one of those wild coincidences that make you realize how small the world is sometimes. Every time I mention to someone that Blue October is my favorite band, I get a blank look. They just aren’t widely known. And here I was a show, running into a family member.
That show marked a high point just before a very dark time in my family. Four days later Jill died.
Blue October spent the majority of 2008 working on a new album, so we didn’t get an opportunity to see them that year. Approaching Normal came out in March 2009 and they went on tour to promote the new album. From mid May through mid June we saw them at the Rave in Milwaukee, First Avenue and the Hub in Fargo. The shows were all great but a little “Groundhog Day” since they did every single song from the new album in order and only included a few older songs at the end. The photo at top is of me with Jeremy Furstenfeld (drummer) after their show at the Rave. One of the many really cool things about the band is that they will come out and meet fans after the shows, as long as you’re willing to hang out long enough. So I have photos with each of the band members. Plus an autographed t-shirt. Yes, I’m a groupie and no, I’m not ashamed to admit it. I don’t understand it but I embrace it. We all have our obsessions and this one is fairly harmless.
I started thinking about my history with Blue October recently because I just purchased tickets to see them at the Rave in Milwaukee again. Wisconsin has banned smoking in bars and the band is doing more of a mix of old and new material, so it should be an even better show than last year. The date is October 7th. I’ll be thinking about Jill.