This town, this crowd
O.A.R. plays a packed set at Jorgensen
Published: Sunday, February 13, 2011
Updated: Sunday, February 13, 2011 23:02
This wondrous winter weekend continued on Saturday with the long-awaited O.A.R. concert. The cold temperatures and harsh wind did not prevent many UConn students from rocking out to the band's creative, upbeat and catchy music. Many students waited eagerly for the show to begin. Brittany Depoi, a 6th-semester biomedical engineering major, said, "I am really excited that O.A.R. came to UConn, and I cannot wait to see them perform live!"
O.A.R., which stands for ‘Of a Revolution,' was founded by lead singer Marc Roberge and percussionist Chris Culos. The band, which got its start playing gigs at many different universities, has now risen to greater fame and appeal. College students remain loyal to them, garnering them a steadfast audience. Saturday night, UConn students did not disappoint in their enthusiasm and energy.
The opening band Simplified, elevated the crowd's energy with ardently creative guitar solos and consistent, up-tempo rock melodies. They transitioned from acoustic to upbeat songs that were bass-heavy. Additionally, their harmonious blend of quick drumbeats and alternating guitar got the crowd clapping.
Although they entertained the crowd, students were eager for O.A.R to take the stage. Anastasia Freccia, a visiting student from Greenwich, Conn., was very enthusiastic about seeing the band. "I'm very excited to hear them perform live, I really like their songs," she said while waiting for the show to begin.
At around 9:15 p.m., O.A.R. finally took the stage to vibrant applause and began with their song "Lay Down." This was followed by "King of the Thing," a rhythmic song played acoustically with gripping lyrics. Their musical style was a blend of pop, rock and even some reggae Caribbean rhythms. Strong percussion provided a polished backdrop that, combined with the bass guitar and bongos, created an interesting vocal mood. Another excited student, Frances Obst, a 6th-semester electrical engineering major, described the band as "an upbeat Dave Matthews Band," although hardcore fans may respond in favor of a much more unique sound.
Something that clearly distinguished the band was the smooth saxophone beat. Jerry DePizzo skillfully and soulfully contributed his talents to several saxophone solos throughout the night. Songs such as "Whatever Happened,'" "Fire" and "One Shot" demonstrated a reverberant, strong rock sound with plenty of creative riffs and, of course, saxophone.
O.A.R's unique style even emanated through their ballads, which comprised the beginning of the second half of the concert. The audience rejoiced at the beginning chords of "Shattered (Turn the Car Around)," one of O.A.R's most well known and successful songs.
This was followed by the vigorous ‘Hey Girl,' both of which the audience sang aloud in unison. This inspired a rejuvenated energy. There were often interludes of guitar or saxophone solos, which is another unique aspect of O.A.R.'s live shows. They interact consistently on stage and jam with their instruments, demonstrating not only talent, but a real love and enjoyment for their music. The audience seemed to enjoy these breaks as well.
"I'm having an awesome time," said Tashnuva Shaheen, a 2nd-semester biology major, adding that they played really well.
The performance of ‘Crazy Game of Poker' was particularly memorable, as the audience instantly recognized its high-energy rhythm and sing-back lyrics. It was a powerful and charged song with very pertinent drumbeats that gave much more meaning to the lyric "revolution." The song itself sounded revolutionary. In between, Roberge and Gershman tactfully played exaggerated solos, bouncing off of one another.
O.A.R. closed the show with another favorite, ‘Love and Memories,' after which the crowd requested an encore. The band delivered with a rendition of ‘This Town,' providing a wonderfully executed finale. It was clear that the audience had enjoyed a rock-filled night alive with vibrant beats, rhythms and riffs.
There were students outside UConn who came to see O.A.R perform live and enjoyed it immensely. One student from UMass,Rebecca Ella, said she was a really big fan. "They sounded exactly as what you'd expect them to live. They also worked the crowd and had a lot of energy!"
There were others equally as. Katie Wulftanger, a 4th-semester undeclared major, was seeing them for the second time and explained, "It was amazing, even better than their summer shows! It was really nice to be really close to them live instead of far away on the lawn."
O.A.R. was a successful and well-received performer and a band that will continue to appreciate all the loyal college fans, even as they become increasingly successful.