O.A.R. an upbeat summer concert


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The Steel City may not be home for rock group O.A.R., but their Pittsburgh fans made the band feel right at home Thursday.

Originally from Maryland, O.A.R. made a stop in Pittsburgh as part of the Sound of Summer Tour -- appropriately named for the sunny weather, beach balls and friends that filled Stage AE.

"This is the view of views," lead vocalist Marc Roberge said looking out at the energetic crowd with Heinz Field as the backdrop. "The crowd in Pittsburgh always treats us right."

And that was true once again Thursday night.

Mr. Roberge led the band vocally through a set of 24 songs ranging from hits, "Shattered (Turn the Car Around)," to fan favorites "That Was a Crazy Game of Poker" to "Peace," which previewed what's to come for the group on their upcoming album.

The fans reacted to the different sounds of the night -- jumping on the faster tempos, rocking out to the instrumental solos and swaying to the slightly slower songs. Throughout, the fans belted the lyrics to all the songs, even during the debut of the song "Peace," when by the end fans were making peace signs when Mr. Roberge made one and caught on to the lyrics.

The set list Thursday separated the diehard O.A.R. fans from those who came for the band's couple mainstream hit songs. But the fans who stayed until the end through more than two hours and 24 songs from O.A.R. were the diehards, belting out every single lyric and sometimes even singing the next line before Mr. Roberge got there. And boy was it worth it.

O.A.R. brought what Pittsburghers needed after several days of rainy weather -- a night of good music in a summertime atmosphere. Saxophonist Jerry DePizzo's solos were what separated the concert from just a regurgitation of songs on their albums to a night of musical talent. The band got the crowd involved with certain songs, which wasn't totally necessary as the fans were involved from the first song of the night.

"This town, this light, this crowd, Stand up on your feet, Put your worry down, Any every one of you all around, Come on y'all let's take this town."

O.A.R. definitely took this town and the crowd Thursday night.

The first opening act, Allen Stone, fulfilled his purpose of warming up the crowd for Andrew McMahon and O.A.R. He did just that, playing "Celebrate Tonight" and covering Bob Marley's "Is this Love."

"I wanna love you, Pittsburgh," he said. "I am honored to be in the beautiful city of Pittsburgh."

Formerly of Jack's Mannequin, Mr. McMahon followed with more than 10 songs mostly from his days with Jack's Mannequin and Something Corporate before he went solo. He sang a new upbeat, pop song, "Catching Cold," but fans were more receptive to older songs "Dark Blue" and "La La Lie."

Fans at the sold-out, outdoor concert got their money's worth with more than four hours of live music from three talented bands that all had a summery flair to them. Those in attendance Thursday heard the "sounds of summer."

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Claire Aronson: caronson@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1964 or on Twitter @Claire_Aronson.com.


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