Saturday, August 28, 2010

OAR - August 6, 2010

A HUGE thank you to the woman that gave us the free upgrades! Sitting approximately 20 rows from the stage as opposed to being on the lawn for the night was an exceptional experience. It also made me question why I didn’t buy the good seats to begin with.

A warm New Jersey night on the eve of my family vacation was the setting for my third OAR concert. After Live Nation announced a $10 lawn seat sale, Cathy and I purchased them. The price was so good, how could we say no? $10 per ticket with no additional fees, that’s my kind of price.

One of the first things that we noticed upon entering the lawn was how young all of the fans were. I know that OAR is loved by college kids across America, but I have to admit, seeing them all surround us made me feel old – like the creepy guy that’s still trying to be hip. I also felt a little out of place. It was the first time I ever felt that way attending a concert. It wasn’t the type of feeling that would ruin my evening, just the strangeness of being too old to be part of the crowd. However, I guess the old adage is true, you’re as old as you feel, and for the rest of the night, I felt young.

I also noticed how poorly the actual seats had sold. While the lawn was filling up nicely, the theater seats were so empty it was almost a morgue. That was disappointing, because OAR is such an amazing band. However, I reminded myself that I did not buy a regular seat either. $55 just seemed a little too high for me. Apparently I wasn’t the only one to voice this opinion with my wallet.

As we sat on the lawn, drinking our overpriced beer and discussing the average age of the concert crowd (Cathy guessed 22, I was guessing 16), we were approached by a couple that seemed closer to our age. The woman spoke to my wife first and asked if we were together.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“Is there anyone else with you?” the woman asked.

I found this line of questioning a little odd, so I inquired if she was hitting on my wife. The woman laughed and asked if we would like better seats. At this point, my skepticism kicked in, and I was wondering how much she wanted for them. She must have noticed the quizzical glances that Cathy and I gave each other, because she said “Take them, they’re yours. No charge.”

I was overwhelmed. That was extremely gracious. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I did not inquire as to why she no longer wanted the tickets, I just thanked her, took the two that she gave us, and Cathy and I made our way to the much better seats. My wife guessed that the woman and the man she was with were fans of the opening act and didn’t care to see OAR, and while that makes complete sense, I have a hard time believing that entirely. Either way, it was a touching gesture that I hope to pay forward some day.

The seats we ended up in were amazing – about 20 rows from the stage, almost dead center. Fantastic! A clock appeared over the stage as we settled into our new seats and waited for OAR to come on. The countdown had begun. The huge digital clock started at 10:00 minutes and counted backwards until the band took the stage.

When OAR stepped out for the night’s performance, everyone was on their feet. The lawn was jam packed, and the amphitheater seats had filled in nicely, not sold out, but about ¾ full, which was better than I thought it was going to be.

The band kicked off with The Wanderer and I listened to the roar of the crowd. Definitely not one of my favorite OAR songs, I patiently waited it out and anticipated what was going to come next. When Here’s To You was performed, I started to get worried. That was another song I wasn’t crazy about. I know they are classics and the crowd loved them, but they definitely weren’t my thing.

About An Hour Ago followed, and that’s when the night took off for me. One of my all time favorite OAR songs, About An Hour Ago was one of three songs that I was desperately hoping they would play that night. It sounded stupendous! The band was tight and in fine form.

The hits kept on coming after that. Dareh Meyod, This Town, and an exceptional version of The Fallout (the second of three songs that I desperately wanted to hear that night). The Fallout was performed so well that it had to be the best song of the night. I was a big fan of that song prior to this concert, but after seeing it live, it is now probably my favorite OAR song.

Light Switch Sky came a little later in the set, and it was the first time I ever heard that song. I loved it! A magnificent rocker that the band had recently released as a single, I am now going to have to purchase this tune. It’s a fun song that OAR performed well.

That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker followed, and of course the crowd went nuts. Always a crowd pleaser, Poker was loved by everyone. It was at that point in the night that the youthful antics started to catch up with certain members of the crowd. The younger partiers in front of us had one of their group vomit in the aisle. Then another drunk was escorted out of the theater by security. This was the whole reason that tailgating was forbidden from this show. Some people cannot drink responsibly. We were also only allowed to buy one beer at a time, which was strange to me, but understandable given the crowd.

Mr. Moon was the surprise of the evening for me. One of my favorite OAR songs, I was overjoyed to hear it live. Although I wouldn’t get to hear the third song I desperately wanted (Revisted) hearing Mr. Moon just about made up for it.

The encore is where the band really cut loose, and where my wife fell in love with Jerry DePizzo and became a cemented fan of OAR. Prior to this show, she was on the fence. She loved their music, but hadn’t enjoyed them in concert when we saw them at Madison Square Garden. This night would change everything.

The first song of the encore featured Marc Roberge on vocals and Michael Paris on keys, with no other band members. The song was called Over And Over and it was my first time hearing it. Amazing. That’s the best word to sum it up. An incredible, slow moving song that had a lot of emotion behind it, Over And Over is a song that I really hope ends up on the next OAR record.

Shattered followed, and it’s one of the newer songs that Cathy loves. We both enjoyed that live performance and Marc gave a powerful rendition that really made me feel the song, not just hear it.

Lay Down was next, and during the middle of the song, OAR took their performance to new heights. Perhaps they had recently gone to see Halestorm in concert – I’m not sure what inspired this. Chris started the drum solo for Lay Down, Jerry joined in with a snare drum of his own, and then Mike joined in with his bongos. The three of them played an excellent solo (solos?) for the middle of Lay Down. It was quite an experience!

The moment of the night, however, was still to come, in the form of the final song of the evening, City On Down. As a closer City On Down is an excellent choice. Two out of the three times I’ve seen OAR in concert, they’ve closed with this song. On this night, though, there was a surprise in the air.

City On Down was performed flawlessly, but when it came time for Jerry DePizzo’s saxophone solo, he decided to take it to the next level. He walked off the stage and into the crowd. Needless to say, the crowd went nuts. Surrounded by security, Jerry played his solo while walking the crowd and getting a large following trailing him back toward the stage. His solo was spot on. Even with the crowd at his back, people reaching out and touching him, and security engulfing him, Jerry did not miss a note. Now that’s a saxophone player! It also makes me rethink my decision to list him as a late round pick in Draft Your Fantasy Band. That solo would score him major points.

Once again, as they always do, OAR put on a stunning concert. From our upgraded seats, both my wife and I were extremely pleased. She fell in love with Jerry’s playing ability and I fell in love with the new songs. Not bad for a night’s work. We drove home happy, talking about the show all the way back, and mentally preparing for our week long vacation that would kick off the next morning.

The Wanderer
Here’s To You
About An Hour Ago
Dareh Meyod
This Town
The Fallout
Hey Girl
Toy Store
Fool In The Rain
Light Switch Sky
That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker
Mr. Moon
About Mr. Brown
Over And Over
Shattered (Turn The Car Around)
Lay Down
City On Down

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