I want to say thank you to Richard Blade for using my suggested theme and playlist on XM’s FIRST WAVE (Ch. 33). Every Thursday, Richard does a “Theme of the Week” segment. I listen to XM a lot using their app. I heard last week’s episode and thought I would give it a try. I got the idea of “message” as a theme and quickly came up with my five song list. I even added another good song later. But I had not really thought about it since. I did not even see the tweet from Richard telling me he would use my idea until after the show. Obviously, I have not stayed current on twitter. I just happened to be listening to his show when he announced the Thursday Theme segment was coming up soon and “message” would be the theme. I jumped up and said “that is mine” and tried to figure out how to record it. A video playing his intro is on here. He gave me a shout out and gave out my twitter handle at the beginning and end of the segment. If you already have the XM app, you can listen to the whole “Theme of the Week” segment on demand. XM is actually free to everyone until May 15, so check it out. I intentionally cut the part where Richard was about to announce the “most obvious” of the five songs. I wanted everyone to have to listen to the whole thing to find out, but I will list them here anyway. So this was definitely my excitement for the day.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE by THE POLICE
PUT THE MESSAGE IN THE BOX by WORLD PARTY
A MESSAGE TO YOU RUDY by THE SPECIALS
I SEND A MESSAGE by INXS
MESSAGES by OMD
I later added MESSAGE TO MY GIRL by SPLIT ENZ (but he used the first 5)
First of all, full disclosure…I LOVE this band. I have listened to them since their debut album in 1989. Their videos for “Between Something and Nothing” and “Drifting, Falling” announced them to the world on Mtv’s 120 Minutes. The next album, CERULEAN, brought one of their most beloved songs, “Ballerina Out of Control.” (video above) Their first five albums came out over about a ten year period. But then it was about five years until the WATERWORKS E.P. was released. Then we really weren’t sure what was going on with the band. No new music. Singer/songwriter, David Schelzel, even turned to working as an attorney. But then in 2013, after about nine years, The Ocean Blue was back with the magnificent single “Sad Night, Where is Morning?” and the album, ULTRAMARINE. Now the band are promoting their 2019 album, KINGS AND QUEENS / KNAVES AND THIEVES. As soon as this show was announced, we bought our tickets. Somehow, this would be my first Ocean Blue concert. I promised nothing would keep me from being at this show.
So we arrived at the venue early to grab a bite to eat. We heard music and realized the band were still soundchecking. So, of course, we went on in to be seated and were able to watch the band run through parts of a few songs. As the band was departing, we caught David for a quick chat and photo. Later on, we also caught bassist, Bobby Mittan, at the merch table for another chat and photo. Both were very pleasant and looking forward to giving everyone a good show. Before the opening band, MOTORCADE, even took the stage, people were getting in place for The Ocean Blue. So we went ahead and grabbed our spot up front and center. MOTORCADE was an impressive sounding opener. I really like “Recover.” Then on with the main show. “All the Way Blue” set the perfect tone. Then they knocked out two of their best singles, “Ballerina Out of Control” and “Sad Night, Where is Morning?”. There are no self indulgent theatrics to the show, which is perfect. David is really the only animated one. Everyone just goes about their business playing one good song, then the next. Oed Ronne, guitarist/keyboardist, took his turn on lead vocals for “Ticket to Wyoming.” He just plays like a serious musician, chewing his gum. But we did get a kick out of his engineer hat resting atop his head. Bobby looked happy supplying bass lines. And drummer, Peter Anderson, played in front of a screen showing cool images or even some of the band’s old videos.
I thought “Cerulean” received a particularly big response as the opening notes started. It is, after all, the song that contains the lyric “it’s always ocean blue.” And it has always been one of my favorites. I loved the jaunty new songs “It Takes So Long” and “Paraguay, My Love.” They mixed in eight songs off the new album. Of course, everyone loves “Mercury” and “Sublime.” And a Smiths cover always goes over well. For a concert, I typically prefer more upbeat songs, but I was very happy and surprised to see them open the encore set with “Frozen.” (video below) I adore this song. Then “Between Something and Nothing” had everyone bouncing again. They finished with the Joy Division standard “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”
After the show, the band stayed around and talked to fans. You could tell how much it meant to everyone to see this band. I am certain the band members heard stories about how people came to love The Ocean Blue and what the band means to them. I hope the band enjoyed it all as much as we did. It would have taken two more hours to squeeze in all the songs of theirs that I love. We even got to take a pic with Oed after the show. I am sure there are fans that have not really followed the band since the first two or three albums. If you are one of those, you are missing out. Each album has at least five or six songs that would easily fit on a ‘best of’ playlist. It’s easy to catch up. Go to their website and buy some vinyl or a CD or a shirt. (band and record label link listed below)
David has also been involved with a musical project called 5 Billion in Diamonds. It includes the music producer and Garbage drummer, Butch Vig. Their song, “Better If” could definitely be an Ocean Blue song. I know David’s legal work kept him close to the music industry working with trademarks and copyrights. He was even a city attorney. I am certain he is an excellent attorney, but I am pretty sure I speak for a lot of people when I say we hope The Ocean Blue is a full time thing again. And we heard speculation about more tour dates in 2020. So I hope my second Ocean Blue concert is very soon.
All the Way Blue
Ballerina Out of Control
Sad Night, Where is Morning?
Kings and Queens
It Takes So Long
Paraguay, My Love
There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths cover)
Love Doesn’t Make It Easy on Us
Sea of Green
Ticket To Wyoming
Ask Me Jon
Between Something and Nothing
Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover)
opening band, MOTORCADE. (photo by Syya Yasotornrat)