O.A.R. at House of Blues…a little taste of East Coast style in San Diego

10 02 2009

If you know me, you know I get pretty excited to see any kind of live music.  But last night I was more excited than Ryan Seacrest at a Pride parade..that’s because I finally got to see one of the defining bands of my college years- O.A.R. People who live on the East Coast just won’t understand, because they roll through those towns a few times a year, but it is rare that O.A.R. makes in into southern California, and more specifically, San Diego, EVER.  Believe me, I watch the live music lineups that come through, and it’s been quite awhile.  Needless to say, seeing their name on the House of Blues lineup made me so excited I couldn’t contain myself.  I’ve been listening to their Live from Madison Square Garden album in a pretty consistent rotation in the last few months…and I don’t listen to live albums really, but this is an exception.  You can’t help but to smile and feel a sense of nostalgia listening to the live energy…or maybe it’s just my east coast roots, either way, it beats the hell out of any of their studio albums.

So on to the show…

He was jammin!

He was jammin'!

Getting downtown on a Wednesday by 7 was not the easiest task, but I knew Eric Hutchinson was opening, and we all know how much I adore his music.  Somehow, by the grace of the music gods, we got there just in time, and as he sang his first words, I felt immediately justified in my urgency to be there on time.  He sang with as much soul live as I’ve heard on his album and the band was sharp.  You could tell he just loved what he was doing since he was so into it, and that feeling translated into the audience.  Most people weren’t familiar with his music, but once he started going, he had the whole crowd clapping and singing along.  When he broke into “You Don’t have to Belive Me”, I was the happiest girl in the world.  Everyone started dancing, a few of us were singing along, and everyone was having a great time.  I could have left after and been satisfied, but much to my delight…

Eric told the crowd he’d be back by the merch table if anyone wanted to come meet him.  Of course we went back there, and were about 15 people back from the front.  Luckily for us, he decided to make us the front of the line, so we ended up being the first to meet him. He was very polite, super laid back, and extremely grateful for every compliment we paid him…which of course included me telling him he’s really got something special and he’s gonna blow up…and that I’ve been rocking his CD for months and it was one of my favorite of the year.  Maybe I sounded like a 13-year old girl at a New Kids concert, but I thought he should know that there are some fans out there who came to see him as well as OAR.  I think I maintained myself ok though, and then we got our pictures, got a ticket signed, and let him meet the rest of the girls who also adore musicians (even ones they don’t know).

Eric Hutchinson...they dont grow guys like this in SD

Eric Hutchinson...they don't grow guys like this in SD

Now for the main event…

O.A.R. takes the stage, and the crowd gets superamped.  Can’t quite remember the first song, but I know that “This Town” was one of the first ones, and you could just feel the positive energy in the air.  It’s one of those songs that just makes you feel at home.  For a crowd full of East-Coasters (like myself), it was some of the most laid back people I’ve seen.  I’ve always said that being at a live show is one of the only times when I feel like I’m truly living in the moment.  Every note, every beat, and every word that came out of Marc’s mouth floated through the evening and filled the room with a sense of nostalgia, and in a way, a sense of life…how it’s supposed to be lived.

Marc and the band...doin what they do best

Marc and the band...doin' what they do best

As the night went on, O.A.R. mixed it up with some of the oldies but goodies like “Hey Girl” to which the crowd sang along to every word, but also some of their new stuff like “Livin’ in the End”, which seemed to be surprisingly popular given that it’s a newer song (guess everyone else probably loved the live CD too).  O.A.R. will always be best remembered for their old jam-style music, but when you see them perform their new stuff, you can’t even hold “Shattered” against them.  Sure, it’s sell-out-radio-friendly music, but it still has a way of creeping in to that place where you stop hearing music, and start feeling it.  I don’t think there was a single song that you didn’t see at least 75% of the crowd singing along to. Unfortunately, during Shattered, their voice comes through a little more than the band’s, but here’s a vid if you’re interested:

O.A.R. continued to make their way through the night, slowing it down a bit, and then rockin’ again.  They of course do the “we’re done for the night” fakeout…which no one bought, because we were all very aware that they haven’t played possibly the most popular song from colllege campuses about 5 years ago…”Crazy Game of Poker”.  So of course they came back out, and performed about a 15 minute rendition of it and totally jammed like the O.A.R. we all know and love.  If this doesn’t remind you of every house party you went to in college…then you never went to one on the east coast, that’s for sure.

Here are the rest of the pics from the show…

…keep rockin’…

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