Blue October tour gives everything a fan could ask for

Blue October tour gives everything a fan could ask for

Review: The alternative rock act’s brilliantly diverse sound was on full display in Syracuse.

Lead singer Justin Furstenfeld perfromes with Blue October on Wednesday.
Lead singer Justin Furstenfeld performs with Blue October on Wednesday night.

Usually when a concert ends, people in the crowd cheer for more. That wasn’t the case, however, for Blue October on Wednesday night at the Oncenter Crouse Hinds Theater. This was not because fans did not enjoy the beloved alternative rock band. On the contrary, they were fulfilled. 

After a stellar opening act from the Brit-Pop and Post-Punk band Veers, blue streams of light engulfed the stage as Blue October arrived. They were met with whistling and cheering for two minutes as the intro of “Sobriety” from their latest album Spinning The Truth Around, Pt. II echoed somberly. The 19-song setlist lasted nearly two hours with the band playing both their early-2000s hits as well as their recent more experimental music. 

Lead singer, Justin Firstenfeld, was backed by an orchestra of instruments from multiple guitars, drums, piano and a violin with Ryan Delahoussaye at the helm.

One of the most unforgettable moments of the show took place during the performance of “All That We Are,” when Delahoussaye performed a graceful violin solo for the outro that caused the crowd to erupt. What was already an emotional song was transformed into a special showcase of the band’s raw talent. 

Throughout the concert the connection between the fan base and Blue October was evident. Firstenfeld did not shy away from dancing gleefully or interacting with people in the front row.

Lights flare through fog as the band Blue October plays. There is a keyboard primarily in frame with the musician playing it obscured in shadow.
Blue October’s opener, Veers, harmonizes at the Crouse Hinds Theater on Wednesday.

“Life is such a beautiful opportunity and there’s so many people in our lives we need to thank and be grateful for,” he said as people hollered in agreement.

“When I started really living good and felt pure freedom, you want to know what it was? When I stopped caring what other people think of me!” 

It’s not hard to understand why Blue October has such a dedicated cult following. Every song that was performed seemed to stretch into a new genre entirely. Blending elements of pop rock, grunge, synth and alternative, their sound almost encapsulates The Dave Matthews Band and the 1975 all at the same time.

Blue October bounced from a catchy, pop-oriented song like “I’ll Do Me, You Do You” to 2018’s “I Hope You’re Happy” to their 2006 smash hit “Into the Ocean”, which symbolizes the alternative music from that era.  

The tour feels like a journey through the band’s history, displaying their evolution as they adapt to this current-day rock scene – all while adding their own flavor. Their lyrics resonate with fans, as they cover difficult topics such as substance abuse, heartbreak and depression. 

As the concert got closer to the end, fans were itching for “Hate Me”, the song that has over 68 million Spotify listens. When the song finally came, the crowd sang the entire last hook by themselves in cohesion. 

The crowd cheers as Blue October plays their first song at the Crouse-Hinds Theater.
The crowd cheers as Blue October plays at the Crouse Hinds Theater.

“Thank you, life is precious,” Firstenfeld said afterwards. “You guys add so much color into this once great life.”

They ended the show on the high, upbeat indie song “I Hope You’re Happy,” as if they were playfully asking the crowd if they were happy with the concert.

Judging on the standing ovation and the overbearing shouts of joy, it’s safe to say they were.