October has been a rough month for raccoons in Wisconsin, judging by the amount of roadkill we saw on our way to Milwaukee and back. There were more than a dozen in each direction along 94, including a few entire families that met their maker during an ill-advised attempt to cross the interstate. It captured our attention because we have done this drive dozens of times in the last 15 years and have rarely seen more than one raccoon during any one trip. With the exception of a few unlucky squirrels, they were the only casualties we saw during the two days.
The reason we drove to Milwaukee yesterday was to see my favorite band, Blue October. (See my post on Aug 11 for more info) It’s been almost 18 months since we’ve seen them in concert and since we missed our annual pilgrimage to the Milwaukee Mile (no race there this year) it seemed like a good reason for a quick road trip. I was especially looking forward to it for two reasons – the band is now playing a mix of old and new music and Milwaukee has banned smoking in bars. Our last round of Blue October concerts was in May 2009, about two months after they released their most recent record. In a two week period we saw them in Milwaukee, Minneapolis (First Ave) and Fargo. At all three shows they played every song from the new record, in order. This was followed by 4-6 songs from previous records and then a 2-3 song encore. Now don’t get me wrong, I like all of their music but I would not consider their most recent release to be as consistently strong as the previous two. If I had known all 3 shows would be close to identical, I probably would have skipped the Milwaukee one.
So I was excited to go to a show that would be a more balanced representation of their work. Not having to put up with the cigarette haze would be a real bonus as well. Sadly, the show turned out to be sort of disappointing. It was the shortest setlist we’ve ever heard – 15 songs plus 1 (1???) for the encore. The 3 young kids sitting next to me were clearly only familiar with the last 2 records. I know they were young because they didn’t have wristbands for purchasing alcohol. They knew the words to songs from Foiled and Approaching Normal and almost seemed confused when songs from earlier records were played. I have no issues with young and/or recent fans (I have only been a follower since 2006 so I fall into the latter category myself) but could you at least make an effort to get to know the history of the band?
This is the end of a long tour for them (just two shows remain) so maybe they were getting a little burned out. Hopefully we’ll get an opportunity to see them somewhere in the Southwest this winter, maybe in their native state of Texas, after they’ve had some time off. We did have two great meals in Milwaukee and a beautiful drive home on a gorgeous fall day, so it was still a great trip. We are now starting a nearly 3 week stretch at home, the longest we’ve had since the beginning of June. So my posts may become a little less frequent, as I won’t have travel or races to use for material.
But I’m sure I’ll still find things to write about. I seem to have an opinion on just about everything.