O.A.R. fills Stage AE with much fun
Share with others:
O.A.R. has never been the kind of band to draw huge lines spanning entire blocks, or throngs of groupies, or massive traffic jams.
Though they have achieved some radio success with singles like "Love & Memories" and "Shattered (Turn the Car Around)," their considerable appeal has been more a product of their devoted core of fans. Word of mouth played a fair amount into the popularity of the classic O.A.R. song "Crazy Game of Poker," and even saxophonist Jerry DePizzo admits that the band launched by way of a "grassroots movement."
But despite their lack of mainstream popularity, O.A.R. lured in enough fun-seekers to host the perfect Friday night pregame for a relaxing weekend in the sun. By the time Rebelution began to pump out their So-Cal reggae rhythm, a sizable crowd had gathered on the Stage AE dance floor, grooving to the oft-tranquil jams.
And once O.A.R. took the stage with the excitement-building Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Can't Stop" playing as their intro song, that "grassroots" crowd had swelled past the dance floor and well onto the lawn.
They began with "About Mr. Brown," a light-hearted song with a bit of ominous foreshadowing.
The band continued with "Get Away" punctuated by a brilliant saxophone solo courtesy of Jerry DePizzo. After that, the newly added horn section gave "The Architect" a bit of the Bourbon Street flair alluded to in the lyrics, and at the same time inspired an epiphany: This new ingredient to O.A.R.'s ska-alt-rock-jam sound is perhaps the best thing that could've happened to them. The extra flavor gave the band an added depth throughout the set, and the two new horn players danced almost as much as the enthusiastic crowd.
O.A.R. would go through a few of their crowd favorites, including "Black Rock" and "Heaven," before Mr. Roberge told the crowd that they were "about to pull an audible." And incredibly, as they began playing a cover of Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain," the sky opened up. The rain would continue off and on, including during a performance where Mr. Roberge and guitarist Richard On walked off-stage and out in front of the crowd "to play a song with [us] in the rain."
After the intimate song and a couple others, Mr. Roberge notified the audience that they wouldn't waste time walking off and back onto the stage due to a curfew and instead played their classic encore song "Crazy Game of Poker."
It all ended with the song that started it all, and at the same time, it never poured harder. But this show was one of those fun-filled few where the rain just happens to make everything better.
First Published July 30, 2012 12:00 am