O.A.R. (Of A Revolution) headlined day two of the Oro Valley Music Festival in 2018. The festival was sponsored by local iHeart Radio stations, 97.1/The Bull and My 92.9 and this was its fourth year.
Day one of the festival was an exercise in turning lemons into lemonade with torrential rain spending the daylight hours at the festival. Who would expect rain at a fest in Tucson, AZ?
Country artists filled the lineup. The downpour was particularly unkind to Cassadee Pope and High Valley, but they delivered a full performance in spite of being drenched. Workers were on stage sweeping the water off the stage as they entertained. Luckily there was no lightning and the sets went on as scheduled.
Fans and entertainers were very thankful that day two was the opposite of the first day with perfect weather in the mid-seventies and clear skies. This was the rock and roll day and the crowd was up to the task of cheering and dancing. O.A.R. finished the festival in fine fashion and AXS was there to catch the set. Here are five reasons to see O.A.R. live:
1) A band that came into prominence the hard way
O.A.R. followed the example of the Grateful Dead, Phish, and Gov’t Mule by relying on word of mouth to cultivate an underground fan base. They have toured constantly and encouraged fans to share their recordings. Little by little the band has seeped into the rock and roll mainstream.
2) Lead vocalist/guitarist Marc Roberge is always in fine form
Roberge leads the band in delivering straightforward rock and reggae music. He is professional and not necessarily chatty as he delivers crystal clear, soaring vocals. He is 100 percent there. He looks around a little bit, but he is constantly in the zone during the band’s performance.
Roberge balanced out the multiple sax solos during the set with his pure acoustic guitar.
Roberge is also the primary songwriter for the band. His songwriting shows a distinct evolution during the 20 plus years that the band has been performing.
3) Jerry DiPizzo and his sax reign supreme throughout shows
DiPizzo strikes lightning on stage with his baritone and tenor saxophones. He is very reminiscent of Dave Koz or Boney James with his showman style of performing. He has a lot of opportunities to showcase his talent and the fans were eating out of the palms of his hands when he played. He loves to ham it up and he gives great ‘sax face’ during the performance.
4) The rest of the band stands tall
This band has the bulk of the original members since its inception in 1996. That is a major feat in the world of rock.
Bassist Benj Gershman and guitarist Richard On had their moments in the spotlight that proved just how tight they are. Mikal Paris’ keyboard work was simply perfection with his solos. Drummer Chris Culos rounds out the band.
5) Music that keeps the fans on their feet and cheering
Together, the band has released nine studio albums, including their latest release, XX, in 2016. Their next album release will be The Mighty in 2019.
The set consisted of their career-spanning music. Song staples like “Lay Down,” “Something Coming Over,” “Night Shift,” and “Program Director” were among the offerings of the night. “Just Like Paradise,” a light reggae song released in February that will be in their upcoming album was included too. It was a set that had fans dancing and singing along.