House of Blues Anaheim
January 26, 2012
Only knowing one song from the band, I wasn't really sure what to expect when O.A.R. took the stage. They started off the show like a jam session full of saxophone solos and front man Marc Roberge singing “whoa, yeah” over and over. Roberge finally started adding some lyrics of encouragement and togetherness, pumping up the crowd. This one hand in the air and a blunt in the other vibe began to get a bit redundant. All the songs started the same way and eventually led to Roberge rambling in a reggae like voice about who knows what. He sang as if he had a message for us all if only we could figure out what the hell that message was.
The crowd, however, did not seem to mind this one bit. Those
dedicated fans sang each line, “whoa” and “yeah” with more conviction
than the artists themselves. All the ladies seemed to have this same
hip-swaying move down and all the guys nodded their heads as if they
were listening to Gospel. If one song didn't immediately flow into the
next, a chant of “O-A-R” started up until another could take its place.
O.A.R. sure does know how to tug on the heartstrings of the love struck,
middle class workers of America.
After a good five songs the band started to play what I assume would
be their hits. You know, those songs that you have heard on stations
like KBIG 104.3 or in previews for a chick flick. The ones that you
randomly get stuck in your head yet have no idea who or where they came
from. “Back to One” and “Give Me Something” did just that. I looked around
to see if anyone else had the same reaction but apparently true fans
When it came time for the encore, everyone hung around discussing
what they thought the band would choose as their final memory of the
night. The suspense was building and people were getting anxious. O.A.R.
finally reappeared leading to a burst of cheers that died down quickly
as everyone listened for what was to come. I asked my friend, who claims
O.A.R. as his favorite band, what they were leading into but he couldn't
even figure it out. It was a disappointment, really. They jammed and
performed songs that fit better as an opener or in the middle of a set.
Finally, the song everyone was hoping for came on: “Poker.” It's the one
song I knew going into this show. The audience sung it as if they were
performing for the band. One woman in the balcony was waving her arms
around and singing with such intensity that I started to question if she
was actually singing or just trying to start a fight with someone down
below. I got the feeling that everyone showed up specifically for this
song, completing his or her life. The band owes a lot to these fans.
Their love and enthusiasm are what made this show enjoyable.
I had only heard the live recording of an extended version of the song “Poker.” It wasn't the same.
When I first walked into the venue, I was taken aback by the amount of
plaid button downs and baseball caps in the room. 90 percent of these men had a
Bud light in their hand. The middle aged and over women rocked either
an O.A.R. shirt or a sensible black leather jacket. I was uninformed that
there was a dress code for this show.
Overheard in the Crowd:
“My God I am horny right now!”
“You look like a good time. Where are you from?”
“Oh, G. Love! Remember how sauced up you were when we saw him?”
Random Notebook Dump:
The opening band, Parachute, was not getting much love from the crowd
until they played a cover of Tom Petty's “Won't Back Down.” The only band I
can think to compare them to would be Plain White T's. This, however,
would be a complete dis to Plain White T's because this band was way
City on Down
Back to One
King of the Thing
Heard the World
Gotta Be Wrong
Give Me Something
Love and Memories