O.A.R.’s annual appearance at SPAC ushered in the first day of August and the continuance of the proverbial ‘dog days of summer.’ On a warm, rain-free evening, the band’s opener, “The Wanderer” (the title track from their first album back in 1997), set the tone for the two-hour-plus concert.
Marc Roberge, the band’s acoustic-guitar wielding front man, sang the O.A.R. repertoire with passion and energy. His bandmates followed suit with saxophonist Jerry DePizzo blowing up a storm, while electric guitarist Richard On added licks when and where needed.
Drummer Chris Culos and bassist Benji Gershman held down the rhythmic foundation while touring collaborator Mikel Paris added keyboards and assorted percussive accents to the mix. (The multi-talented Paris visited Nippertown in April, opening for Carbon Leaf at The Egg.)
The amphitheater was filled with fans and so was the lawn, as O.A.R. performed many of their signature songs including “Hey Girl,” “Lay Down,” “Love and Memories,” “Over and Over” and “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker,” the latter a 15-minute opus that had the crowd revved up and dancing in the aisles.
However, it was the group’s popular radio hit “Shattered” (presented in their three-song encore) that was the highlight of the evening complete with a wailing saxophone – DePizzo even took it for a stroll around the amphitheater – and an audience sing-along that might very well have been heard way downtown.
Citizen Cope – the moniker for singer-songwriter Clarence Greenwood and his band – opened the show with a low-key and soulful performance, ending their set with the group’s popular song “Son’s Gonna Rise.”
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
Danielle Sanzone’s review in The Saratogian
Jill Montag’s review in The Times Union
An excerpt from David Singer’s review in The Daily Gazette: “The group of six guys are nothing but cool, all sporting the short hair and jeans-T-shirt look, kind of like a late ’50’s Jack Kerouac. Come to think of it, this just might be the post-jazz band Kerouac might have liked.”
O.A.R. SET LIST
Light Switch Sky
On Top The Cage
Love And Memories
About An Hour Ago
That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker
Over And Over
Shattered (Turn The Car Around)
City On Down