O.A.R. – PNC Bank Arts Center – Holmdel, NJ – August 1, 2008

So yeah, I know I’ve been delinquent lately at posting. It happens, oh well.

The O.A.R. concert was fantastic, despite the PNC Bank Arts Center being a a lousy place to see shows. Apparently at concerts that they deem to be geared toward a “younger” crowd there are a variety of ludicrous rules enforced due to incidents last year. What kills me is that such rules were not enforced at the STP concert, at which my wife and I had bottles thrown at us during the wait for Scott Weiland to take the stage and people were, in general, riotously inebriated. Why that show, and others at the venue, didn’t warrant the same rules is a mystery. More annoying, however, was that due to some sort of union rules at the PNC Bank Arts Center, O.A.R. wasn’t able to record and sell its own show. The band has this great offer going, where for a small amount of money you get a USB drive containing the live show and a digital copy of their new album. I was really looking forward to a decent recording of the show I had attended, and, thanks to PNC Bank Arts Center, that didn’t happen.

But anway, great show. Thankfully, there weren’t any young teen girls vomiting or peeing in front of me, as had happened at other previous O.A.R. shows, which tends to lessen the excitment and enthusiasm of the night (I will never understand why one would pay significant bank only to get completely blitzed at a concert, to the point where not only can you enjoy the show, but you impact others’ enjoyment). Ozomatli, who I had no prior experience with other than a vague awareness and having heard “Cut Chemist Suite” years ago, opened. Super-high energy musical mayhem. They were fun and infectious. I felt bad that there were so few people there yet to see them.

O.A.R. came out, and gave a stellar performance. Great selection of songs across their entire catalog, though I was surprised at how few there were from All Sides and Stories of a Stranger. The main song I wish they had played was “War Song,” which they had played at Penn’s Landing on July 30 and at Jones Beach on August 2. [Note: for a great collection of live O.A.R. shows to download check out the Live Music Archive’s selection and Of A Revolution Setlist Archive.] Highlights of the evening included Marc Roberge and Jerry DePizzo (with Jerry on guitar, not sax) playing the beautiful unreleased track “My Irish Rose” and the show-stopping “Whatever Happened” for which the band was joined by Ozomatli, which to my wife’s glee, gave O.A.R. a full horn section practically.

“Irish Rose”

“Whatever Happened” with Ozomatli

Now here’s to hoping we’ll be going to see them again at the House of Blues in Atlantic City on October 25!

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