I had seen O.A.R. (Of a Revolution) last year in Philadelphia at Penn’s Landing, so I had a feeling it would be another good time. And sure enough, I was right.
Not that those performances were sub-par. Some of the best concerts I’ve attended happened just like that. But, it’s very refreshing to attend an event like O.A.R. They were able to come out and play for a couple of hours, pumping out 22 songs. What they add to each experience includes some great jam sessions and even some ad-libbing done by lead singer, Marc Roberge.
The band was so into the music that Roberge even apologized to the audience (just under 3,400), after forgetting to address them until over an hour into the set.
Another plus about O.A.R. is their uncanny ability to go from complete jamming and hype to settling the beat down for a soulful song, like “Irish Rose” or “Peace.”
One highlight of the show (and there were quite a few) included a superb “battle” between saxophonist Jerry DePizzo and trumpeter Jon Lampley, right in the middle of the fan-favorite song “Hey Girl.” Both put on a great show all night, but it’s hard not to notice Lampley and his awesome attitude. Never have I seen a person playing the trumpet that had such a blast doing it. I would be surprised if his musical and stage skills went unnoticed by any crowd member.
The band is rounded out by guitarist Richard On, who has been playing with Roberge since the eighth grade, bassist Benj Gershmann and drummer Chris Culos.
Before wrapping with arguably their biggest hit, “Crazy Game of Poker,” O.A.R. brought out their opening act for a cover. The band did the same thing last year with Phillip Phillips. This year’s act was Allen Stone, another entertainer who brings a ton of energy to the stage. So it was easy to see why the two combined for a spectacular rendition of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle,” also popularized by the Black Crowes.
The only complaint I would have about the band’s performance at Musikfest would be the lack of an encore. I wouldn’t consider this an occurrence that happens often at an O.A.R. concert, as last year’s concert included one.
The Sands Steel Stage at PNC Plaza was a perfect venue for an O.A.R. concert. Even though I spend most, if not all of the concert standing, I prefer having a seat to call my own. Just makes things easier than pushing through a crowd of people. The weather cooperated beautifully, and the steel mill as a backdrop made it a picture-perfect setting.