The I Hope You’re Happy Tour by Blue October comes to Las Vegas with support from Kitten on a Saturday night.
Blue October plays fairly frequently in Las Vegas, approximately annually, and it is not a surprise they do so. They always draw a good crowd and they have a very devoted fanbase locally. This Saturday night they bring their I Hope You’re Happy Tour to the near capacity crowd with Kitten. Most of the crowd is not sure what to expect from Kitten, an Indy Rock band from Los Angeles. They take the stage and the crowd still isn’t sure what to expect. They have a very 70’s vibe and are adorned with glitter. Chloe Chaidez walks onto the stage in a pink jumpsuit carrying a Kitten sign and that is the last calm moment for her of the set. She is an explosion of energy and excitement dancing, playing the tambourine and marching in place. She is all over the stage and it is hard not to watch her performance. The crowd watches the entire set and while this is a different sound than Blue October, it is appreciated.
Before both bands, there is a video screen lowered from the ceiling advertising Blue October’s new album. As Justin Furstenfeld explains later in the evening, the band is completely independent and they are doing this album on their own including the publishing and distribution. The advertisement made it easy for the fans to pre-order the album and it is pretty positive that many did just that.
The room goes dark and the band takes the stage. This is the first time for this crowd seeing new guitarist Will Knaak who replaced Matthew Ostrander this year. Knaak doesn’t have the same energy on stage as Ostrander, but he plays the songs perfectly and has a good chemistry with Justin. As the frontman, Justin commands the stage but is very aware of sharing the spotlight and highlighting the other members. This perhaps is most evident with violinist Ryan Delahoussaye who takes to the front of the stage at multiple times during the set to play violin.
They open strong with “I Want It.” While it is not often that a band opens with a big hit, it really works here and the crowd is singing along. “Say It,” “Home,” and the title track off the upcoming album “I Hope Your Happy” are played over the twelve song set. Justin takes multiple breaks to talk with the audience sharing his personal story and this seems to be one of the reasons why the fans connect so much with him and his music. There aren’t a lot of shows where the crowd would stand with complete attention as the singer spends three to five minutes telling his story with a message for the crowd, but they do here. He has their full attention from start to finish.
Blue October’s setlist is fun and the songs all have strong personal meanings for him and this resonates with the audience. They begin the five-song encore with “Hate Me” performed acoustically. This is an interesting choice and is not how this crowd is used to seeing this song. It provides a different feel, while the full version is more powerful and perhaps angst ridden, this version is soulful and emotional. In any performance of this song it is always a crowd pleaser and one that everyone seems to be able to apply to some aspect of their life. “I Wanna Come Back Home,” “Fear,” “Houston Height,” and “Leave it in the Dressing Room (Shake it up)” finish out the set.
After just over an hour and a half of music and conversation the show comes to a close. Overall the set mixes the classic Blue October with a preview of what is to come. The show is exactly what the loyal fan base expects and it is definite they will be there the next time Blue October comes to town.
Event Date: 16-JUN-2018