TVD Live Shots:
Blue October with
Mona at the House of Blues Anaheim, 6/8

Over the years I have had the distinct privilege of seeing many of my favorite performers live all over the US. As each year passes, I add and delete bands from my concert “bucket-list” and try my best to see acts that I may have missed over the years.

One such band is Houston’s own, Blue October. Although I’ve never been a huge fan, I dig their music and was easily persuaded by my brother Mark to take the plunge and check out one of their live performances. He’s been following the band for over 20 years and considers himself a Blue October superfan, so I figured what the heck and jumped into the show headfirst. Two hours later I was hooked and may have just become a Blue October fan for life.

Opening up for Blue October on Saturday night was Nashville, Tennessee based indie-rockers, Mona. Fronted by founder Nick Brown along with drummer phenom Justin Wilson, these two scorched their 30-minute set and left a near-capacity crowd screaming for more when the flames finally subsided. Most openers just fill space, these guys created it and engaged on levels that highlighted just how special this band actually is. They’re now on my radar and will be a force to be reckoned with in the not so distant future. Incredible set.

Now on to the headliners. It was a sell-out on the Garden walk as fans from all over southern California lined up early for a chance to rush the barricade and be up close and personal with their favorite band, Blue October. Justin Furstenfeld and company came out swinging and reignited what Mona had already set ablaze, launching into their 2013 hit, “Sway.” You could feel the crowd surge forward as Justin reached out to the audience from stage end, mic extended, smiling ear to ear.

This further amped up the packed house and there was no going back from this point. Over the next few hours, Blue October mesmerized Orange County with a 19-song set that spanned their entire catalog. From “Into the Ocean” to “Things We Do at Night” and everything in-between, these guys were spot on the entire night and left little to be desired for even the most die-hard fans.

My favorite moment of the evening was “18th Floor Balcony” when Justin serenaded a teenage girl on stage who literally missed her prom for the show. Throughout the song, different band members made their way out on stage, interrupting one another for a chance to dance with their “prom queen.” It was a special moment and highlighted why this band is beloved by so many all around the world.

The show wrapped up just as it began with one of their latest hits, “I Hope You are Happy.” It was perfectly positioned to wrap up what turned out to be one killer performance that no one wished to end. I was definitely in that camp and look forward to more from Blue October down the road. My only regret is not listening to my brother sooner…


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