An Evening With Justin Furstenfeld 

I just had the most amazing evening. Every so often something happens in your life that will simply touch you in ways you cannot imagine. It doesn’t have to be a grand spectacle. Sometimes it is just something that you would never dream would make a difference in your life. But these are the moments that can make a huge impact. So what was it? Well, you see I am a tremendous music lover. I attend many concerts. Some may say I attend way too many concerts (see Rock On!). But I love music, and I love feeling an artist’s work the way they intended for you to hear it; raw and full of emotion.

For a few years now, I have been a fan of the band Blue October. I have had the privilege of seeing them a couple of times in concert here in Nashville. Each time they played in small venues, so the experience was much more up close and personal than most concerts. When I saw that the lead singer of the band, Justin Furstenfeld, was coming to Nashville again with an “open book tour” called An Evening with Justin Furstenfeld, I quickly acted to make sure I got tickets (especially since this was going  to take place in a very limited seating venue).

As always with his performances, Justin did not disappoint. More than that, he exceeded any and all expectations I could ever have had for any concert…ever. You see, he has written songs for his band Blue October from some very high points in his life and some very low points in his life. In my opinion, his songs have touched every facet of human emotion out there. It doesn’t matter how happy I am, how sad I am, how angry I am, or even how emotional I am; no matter where I am emotionally at any given time, Justin has written a song that fits my emotional state. I believe Justin Furstenfeld is one of the most talented song writers of this generation. While Blue October’s music may not appeal to everyone, they are sure to have at least one album that you may like. Regardless of that, the show he put on tonight would probably help anyone truly understand why I feel this way about his artistic abilities. As the performance was so appropriately titled , I truly felt that I spent an evening with Justin Furstenfeld.

The show consisted of just Justin on the stage with his guitar. Here he opened up about his most intimate thoughts and experiences that shaped his songs. Songs that had already captured me emotionally now had a deeper meaning for me. I felt like I was there when they were written. I knew the thought process that went into their development, and even more intimately, I deeply felt every high and low that created those songs. I laughed at some of his stories. I cried more than is probably normal for many more. I truly felt like I got to emotionally live his joy and his pain through his music. And did I mention his talented singing ability? I cannot put into words the talent this man posseses when it comes to his vocal abilities. He did not need music to drown out his voice to cover any flaws, for there were none. At one point he even sang, without any music whatsoever, one of their harder rock songs (Bleed Out) flawlessly.

I have had many ups and downs in my life and when I look at my life compared to this man’s, my difficult times don’t compare in any form to what he went through. I was low enough to be on Prozac at one point, and I had enough love and support to help me get off it. I still have panic attacks, anxiety and moments where I know I can go back to a dark place at any moment. When I hear Justin’s lyrics, I know I can get through more than I think I can. I applaud and cheer for this man’s tremendous determination at defeating his demons and facing life head on one step at a time.  (Fear)

After the show, Justin held a meet and greet and merchandise signing. I debated saying something to him about how his songs have touched my life, and almost chickened out. But when I got up to him, I told him exactly how I felt. I opened up to him and confessed that no matter where I had been in life, he had written a song that has fit it. Now I didn’t feel any more special than any other person there, I just felt truly in touch with his words. However, the response I got from him by telling him this blew me away. He stopped and focused directly on me and gave me the most sincere thank you and God bless you I think I have ever received in my life. He shook my hand and I truly felt a gratitude like none other.

No, this was no ordinary show; and Justin Furstenfeld is no ordinary singer/songwriter. He is real. Good or bad, he has shared it all. From amazing highs to his most dark hours. And I feel privileged to have shared such an emotionally intimate moment with him. I am truly grateful.  (Home)



The Sound of Silence

You know I am a huge music fan.  As part of that love, I have always loved Simon and Garfunkel.  My favorite Simon and Garfunkel song…The Sound of Silence.  Well, this song has been recently re-recorded by the band Disturbed. It’s a fabulous and haunting cover, and I recommend that you give it a listen here:  Disturbed: The Sound of Silence.

This new version has resurrected my love for this song and I cannot help but listen repeatedly.  But as I sit and listen to this song, I realize not only how deep the words are, but also how true the words ring out today.  If only Paul Simon knew when he wrote this song back in 1964 how accurate his vision is today, 52 years later.  How so, you may ask?  Well let me give you my modern-day interpretation of this song.  This picture is my abbreviated interpretation.

The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence was written by Paul Simon in 1964 and originally performed by Simon and Garfunkel.


Now for the more in-depth interpretation. What happened to the human element in life?  Does anyone truly communicate any longer?  Sure there may be some communication in the words we read, but where is the depth and the feeling?  Written words are so easily misconstrued and taken out of context.  Where are vocal inflections and tone? Where are the facial expressions and body language?  These are all elements that portray so much more of who we are, what we are feeling, and how we interact with each other.  As a society, we have become so self-absorbed we hardly truly notice anyone any more.  When we are in someone’s presence, we are only partially there. The other part?  On that small electronic device.  And when we are bored talking with one person, whether it be in person or online, we jump on to the next chat room to talk with someone else.  We don’t take the time to truly get to know each other.  People want a quick fix for attention, and this is how they obtain it.  And as for sharing of ourselves, well we only share those parts of us we want others to see; the parts that make us look perfect.  But the more we hide our imperfections, the more those imperfections consume us. The more we pretend to be who we are not, the more we lose who we are.  It is in that loss that life becomes complicated, stressful, even unbearable.  For I believe in order to truly enjoy life, we must embrace who we truly are.  Embracing a falsehood of this perfect image we project out into the various media will only tear us apart in the end.  And as for our brief and shallow connections with others…were you so self-absorbed in projecting a perfect image of yourself that you failed to notice that one person who is desperately seeking attention? That one person who is calling out for help?  That one person who is ready to give up?

My friends…don’t let the silence consume you.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turn my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light (False light. Cell phones, tablets, computer screens.)
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

(Hello darkness, hello depression, hello loneliness.  No one notices me, no one truly knows who I am.  Does anyone really care?  They think they know me from texts, from social media, from pictures.  It all appears perfect, that which is my life.  But it’s not perfect.  Don’t they see?)

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people maybe more
People talking without speaking  (text, email, chat, message boards)
People hearing without listening (You hear my words, but does anyone every truly hear me, hear what I am saying?)
People writing songs that voices never shared  (So much is said, and yet so much is missed)
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools,” said I, “you do not know
Silence like a cancer grows  (No one is getting me.  NO ONE!  The more people I talk to, the more rejection I receive, the more alone I feel.  Like a slow growing cancer, it’s killing me.)
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell  (That meme I posted, that song I posted, that joke I made….it’s me reaching out to you.  But you don’t notice.)
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made  (see photo above)
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sound of silence (I’m here.  If you take a moment to look up, you may see me.  You may here me.  You may heal me. )

Rock and Roll!


Tonight I have just attended my 50th Concert!  (See Rock On!)  What made it extra special is that I went with my girls.  We saw Def Leppard, Tesla and Styx; All bands that I have seen before; however, Def Leppard is one of my daughter’s favorites. I think back to all the bands that were big “before” my time that I would have loved to have seen live but never will (like The Doors or the Beatles), and so I am very happy that these bands are still around for my girls to enjoy (they love the 80’s rock bands just as much I do!).

Ok, so now you may be saying why is this only my 50th concert?  That’s not a very high average per year!  Well that may be so; however, had I attended concerts every year since I have been old enough, this number would be astronomically higher at the rate that I do attend.  However, there were several years where I lived in places that did not see many concerts come through town.  Then there the times I was struggling financially and could not attend.  Of course there were the years my children were very young and getting a baby sitter just added to the cost exponentially.  But now my kids are old enough to stay home alone (or even attend the shows with me), and I find myself living in Music City (aka Nashville, Tennessee), where the shows are abundant in any and every music genre you can imagine.  Being the music lover that I am, I have never been happier in all my life!  But more importantly, I am getting to share something I love with two people I treasure more than any thing on this planet…my daughters.

So here’s to celebrating 50, and I hope there will be 50 more!  🙂

If you would like to see what shows I have attended, please check out my blog:  Rock On!
Music is the only person that listens

By Kris Heaton Posted in Music

Let the Music Play On

I love taking silly little quizzes on Facebook.  I know they are purely for entertainment value, yet quite often I am amazed at how closely the results I receive actually do describe me.  One recent quiz I took was “Who were you in a past life”, and I got the result – a gypsy.  The description:  You spent your past life living a nomadic life filled with travel and exploration.  In this life, you are a unique and adventurous individual who loves to visit new places and meet new people.  You have a hard time sitting still and are usually busy thinking about the next place you want to travel to.  Your mission is to see as much of the world as possible while living life to the fullest and savoring each new experience.  Yes this fits who I am. Even if I don’t have the means to travel, I do seem to move around quite a bit and have enjoyed those experiences.

Another quiz I took was entitled “How did you die in your last life”.  My results stated I OD’d at Woodstock.  Now this was funny and very fitting.  First – something you don’t know about me – as I was growing up I had always wished that I had lived in the 60’s.  Ironically my daughter says the same thing about the 80’s.  Funny I wanted to enjoy the years my mom was young, and my daughter wants to enjoy the years I was young. Anyway…


If you know me, and if you read my blog you should know me, then you know I love, Love, LOVE music.  It’s probably surprising that I am not a musician.  Guess it wasn’t in my destiny this time around.  But nonetheless, music is a major part of me.  Some people can quote famous authors, some can quote movie lines.  I can quote lyrics and pick them up when they are used unintentionally in conversation, thereby making the song start running through my head and making me want to sing.  Music speaks to my soul.  I have written other blogs on music.  Most noteably “Rock On“.  And my musical pursuits have continued since that blog, which has forced me to update it several times.

I was reminded of the priority music has in my life just this week. In recent months I have found myself wanting a different house. I can cite the many reasons why, but I won’t bore you with that. But then tickets for The Who went on sale. Now there is an iconic band I have never seen. And you guessed it, I purchased tickets. Then i got to thinking…sure I could spend more money on a different home, and let the home suck up the vast majority of my income, but then would I be able to attend as many concerts as I have been? The fact of the matter is that I don’t want to sacrifice my musical pleasures for a change of scenery. If I can’t have both, I’ll take the music.

And now tonight I am preparing to attend another concert.  This time it will be Motley Crue and Alice Cooper, and I am proud to say both my children know these artists, are excited to see them, and will be going with me.  They recently saw KISS and Def Leppard with me, and my youngest went to see Journey and Joan Jett with me as well. As a music lover, I am very proud they share my love of music and love many of the bands I grew up with and love as well. So not only am I enjoying my passion, but I am enjoying sharing it with them. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. So let the music play on.

Rock On!

MusicI love music.  More than love….music speaks to my soul.  It should be to no surprise then that I love to attend concerts.  There is just something that makes you feel so alive  when you feel the music vibrate through your entire being, bonding with thousands of other fans, complete strangers, through an invisible web of notes and lyrics.  We can all share in the life and beauty of music.  Music gives us words when words fail to express how we feel.  Whether it transforms us emotionally, or physically through dance, it is very spiritual. YES – EVEN ROCK AND ROLL CAN BE SPIRITUAL.

In a recent discussion with a friend about concerts we have each attended, I started to think about just how many I have been to.  I still have a good majority of my tickets, although  some have been lost over time.  So, just for fun I used my ticket stubs, photo albums, etc., to compile this list of concerts I have attended.  I have included as much information as I could. 

I have since continued to keep the list up to date as I purchase new tickets and attend shows.  One thing is for sure, they don’t call Nashville Music City for nothing!  As the shows keep rolling in, I can’t seem to keep up!  I love this town!

Music 3



Headliner Guests Date Venue Location
Bon Jovi Cinderella 3/20/1987 Cincinnati Gardens Cincinnati, OH
Motley Crue Whitesnake 7/23/1987 Cincinnati Gardens Cincinnati, OH
Def Leppard Tesla 10/20/1987 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
KISS Chastain 12/31/1987 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Aerosmith White Lion 5/2/1988 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Scorpions Kingdom Come 9/21/1988 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Jimmy Page Rock City Angels 10/21/1988 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Ratt Britny Fox, Kix 2/7/1989 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Bon Jovi Skid Row 10/4/1989 Riverfront Coliseum Cincinnati, OH
L.A. Guns Tora Tora, Dangerous Toys, Kix 10/28/1989 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Great White Tesla 11/3/1989 Cincinnati Gardens Cincinnati, OH
Jeff Beck Stevie Ray Vaughn 11/15/1989 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Motley Crue Warrant 11/26/1989 Riverfront Coliseum Cincinnati, OH
Lenny Kravitz Tracy Chapman 3/20/1990 Bogarts Cincinnati, OH
Joe Satriani Stevie Salas Colorcode 3/21/1990 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Farm Aid IV Various 4/7/1990 The Hoosier Dome Indianapolis, IN
KISS Slaughter, Danger Danger 6/7/1990 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Dio Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force 8/10/1990 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
The Black Crowes The Four Horseman 11/13/1990 Bogarts Cincinnati, OH
Bullet Boys 3/28/1991 Unknown Dayton, OH
Jane’s Addiction Rollins Band 5/14/1991 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Queensryche 6/4/1991 Hara Arena Dayton, OH
Blues Traveler Widespread Panic 9/10/1991 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH
Sound Garden 11/9/1991 Newport Music Hall Columbus, OH
KISS The Hunger 9/7/1996 McNichol’s Arena Denver, CO
KISS Skid Row 5/13/2000 Polaris Columbus, OH
KISS Skid Row 9/29/2000 Nationwide Arena Columbus, OH
John Mellencamp Donovan 3/23/2005 Civic Center Savannah, GA
Buckcherry Avenged Sevenfold, Papa Roach, Burn Halo 3/30/2009 Sommet Center Nashville, TN
KISS Buckcherry 10/25/2009 Sommet Center Nashville, TN
Taylor Swift Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Andy Grammar 9/17/2011 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Eric Church Alan Jackson, Eric Paslay, Jon Pardi 9/21/2011 Capitol Street Party Nashville, TN
Van Halen Kool & the Gang 4/27/2012 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Luke Bryan NA 5/22/2012 Private VIP Party Nashville, TN
Roger Waters NA 6/19/2012 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Buckcherry My Darkest Days 8/28/2012 12th & Porter Nashville, TN
KISS Motley Crue 9/4/2012 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Luke Bryan Jon Pardi 10/17/2012 Capitol Street Party Nashville, TN
Iron Maiden Megadeth 9/5/2013 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Kiss Def Leppard 7/16/2014 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Journey Joan Jett & the Blackhearts 9/12/2014 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Motley Crue Alice Cooper 10/15/2014 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
The Black Keys St. Vincent 12/8/2014 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Styx NA 2/19/2015 Schermerhorn Symphony Nashville, TN
Godsmack Hellyeah 4/29/2015 War Memorial Nashville, TN
The Who Joan Jett & the Blackhearts 5/11/2015 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Blue October Harvard of the South, Ashleigh Stone 5/13/2015 Exit/In Nashville, TN
Martina McBride 7/4/2015 Nashville July 4th Show Nashville, TN
Train The Fray 7/10/2015 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Deep Purple Simo 8/2/2015 The Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
Def Leppard Styx, Tesla 8/18/2015 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Billy Idol The London Souls 9/18/2015 The Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
Shinedown Breaking Benjamin 11/13/2015 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Jamey Johnson 2/26/2016 George Jones Museum Nashville, TN
Mumford & Sons Blake Mills 4/15/2016 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Alice Cooper NA 5/2/2016 TPAC Nashville, TN
Disturbed Rob Zombie 5/7/2016 Ascend Amphitheater Nashville, TN
Shinedown Halestorm 8/4/2016 Ascend Amphitheater Nashville, TN
Goo Goo Dolls Collective Soul, Tribe Society 8/5/2016 Ascend Amphitheater Nashville, TN
Heart Cheap Trick & Joan Jett 9/19/2016 Ascend Amphitheater Nashville, TN
Blue October Danny Malone 10/21/2016 The Cannery Ballroom Nashville, TN
Stevie Nicks Pretenders 11/7/2016 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
The Fray American Authors 11/12/2016 War Memorial Nashville, TN
Five Finger Death Punch Shinedown, Sixx:AM, As Lions 11/21/2016 The Huntington Center Toledo, OH
Keith Urban Styx, A Thousand Horses 12/31/2016 Bicentennial Park Nashville, TN
Dierks Bentley Cole Swindell, Jon Pardi 1/21/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Justin Furstenfeld NA 2/10/2016 City Winery Nashville, TN
Bon Jovi Jake Johnson 2/18/2016 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Twenty One Pilots Jon Bellion, Judah and the Lion 2/24/2017 Legacy Arena Birmingham, AL
The Flaming Lips Clipping 3/29/2017 War Memorial Nashville, TN
Neil Diamond NA 4/19/2016 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers Joe Walsh 4/25/2016 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Def Leppard Tesla, Poison 4/27/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Breaking Benjamin Red 5/9/2017 War Memorial Nashville, TN
Daryl Hall & John Oates Tears for Fears 5/24/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Iron Maiden Ghost 6/13/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Chris Young Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 7/4/2017 Nashville July 4th Show Nashville, TN
Ted Nugent Tom Fuller 7/19/2017 The Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
Goo Goo Dolls Phillip Phillips 7/31/2017 Ascend Amphitheater Nashville, TN
Matchbox Twenty Rivers & Rust Counting Crows 8/12/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Roger Waters NA 8/13/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Blue October Missio 11/9/2017 Cannery Ballroom Nashville, TN
Guns N Roses NA 11/13/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Shinedown TBA 12/11/2017 Cannery Ballroom Nashville, TN
Garth Brooks TBA 12/23/2017 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN
Foo Fighters TBA 5/4/2018 Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN