RIP Oli Herbert -This Kind Of Thing Only Happens To Me (Stories From 20+ Years of Concert Going)
Updated: Aug 31, 2020
Today is October 17, 2019 – and it’s been one year since Oli Herbert left this world. His passing was sudden, it was tragic and the after-effects are still felt today. I didn’t know him all that well, but I did spend an hour or so with him one hot summer day a couple of years ago, and it’s a fun memory, and it makes me smile, and since it’s the anniversary of his passing, I felt it appropriate to share. So here we go...
-The Date: Saturday, August 19, 2017
-The Place: Springfield, Illinois
-The Location: The Illinois State Fair
The lineup for the day was Five Finger Death Punch headlining, All That Remains in the middle and Nonpoint opening, a strong show, I must say. I was working, selling merch for Nonpoint. I drove down to Springfield with Robb Rivera, Nonpoint’s drummer and one of my best friends. I like working Nonpoint shows and going with Robb, because he’ll always introduce me to the other bands, which is great to break the ice, as the old expression goes. When we arrived that afternoon, All That Remains were in the grandstand, hanging out, telling jokes, etc… Robb introduced me to Mike, Jason and Aaron, he motioned to the next room where Oli was sitting with BC from Nonpoint, and they were playing guitar together, talking and enjoying each other’s company, which was really cool to see. At this point, I’m not sure where Phil was, but I did get to meet him later, and that was cool too.
About fifteen minutes later, the door opens and BC and Oli walk out of the room, still talking shop, and I’m introduced to Oli. He shakes my hand and says “nice to meet you, man.”
At this point in the day, I still have a good hour and a half or two hours before I can begin setting up merch, the grandstand is positioned at the race track, and there is a race going on, so essentially, we’re all just chillin’ until the race ends and we have use of the grandstand’s downstairs area, but at least we’re all there, so work can begin when it needs to. With more downtime than me, Oli approaches me and goes “hey man, let’s go check out the fair.” I agree, immediately. I like to explore somewhere new given the opportunity. And at this point, I’d lived in Illinois my entire life, but this was my first visit to the State Fair.
Oli and I are wandering around the State Fair, we see pigs, we see sheep, we see cows, you have to remember that most of Illinois is farm country, it’s not just Chicago and the suburbs, there’s much, much more to the state. We walk into this grand display hall, and we see a collection of very old farming equipment, we find a little flea market, and we find the hearse that carried Abraham Lincoln back to Illinois after his assassination in 1865. We stop and marvel at it for a few minutes, the craftsmanship was incredible, and it certainly didn’t look 152 years old, it had been kept up very well, despite being constructed to be used only once.
Oli and I walk around outside some more, he gets recognized a couple of times by people who are coming to the show later, and he politely takes a photo or two with people, and we keep walking. Eventually, we come upon the “MISS ILLINOIS STATE FAIR” golf cart. Beautifully decorated with bright pink ribbons, bows, flowers, the whole nine. He gets this big grin on his face and goes “ohhhhh I’m sittin’ in this thing!”
He reaches in his pocket and pulls out his phone and hands it to me, and he asks me to take a couple pictures of him as Miss Illinois State Fair. It would have been more hilarious if the tiara was sitting there, because I’m pretty sure he would’ve put that on too. But alas, no tiara. It was still funny though, mostly to him and me. A few people were walking past, looking at us like “what the heck is up with those two?” which of course, is funnier still. We hung back on the thing for a minute or two, laughing the whole time, the prospect of him being Miss Illinois State Fair cracked us up.
We wandered around a little more before deciding we’d better get back to the grandstand, the line was already forming! I had to set up merch and get to work, and he had to sound check and a show to play. From my position inside the grandstand, I couldn’t see the show, but I could hear it. So I can’t say I saw him playing that day, but I could hear it.
Towards the end of the night, I’m told “pack up, we’re leaving.” I pack up merch in the boxes and crates, get everything back to the truck and I’m done. Robb and I say our goodbyes to All That Remains and make our way back towards home. I dropped him off at his house and then go home myself.
I saw Oli only once more after this, in April 2018 at Earthday Birthday in Orlando, FL. I was there with Nonpoint (duh) and All That Remains were on the bill that day as well. We exchanged a brief “hey man, how are ya?” before each of us going about whatever we were already doing. I was able to go and watch them from the side of the stage that day, and he did acknowledge me and I told him he was still the reigning Miss Illinois State Fair to me. And he laughed, which was cool, because I do like to make people laugh.
So that’s my story, it wasn’t that long, but like everything else you’ve read from me (or will read from me) it’s an experience, and I’m always grateful for the experience.
Rest in Peace, Oli, you are missed.