MONTCLAIR, NJ—The Wellmont Theater air felt electric with post-Christmas buzz. The crowd of 30-somethings was excited to share a drink with friends and dance the night away as O.A.R. dominated the stage of the Montclair, NJ venue.
The band brought the crowd to their feet by opening with “Dangerous Connection” off their 2010 album, KING. Energy was high, as Marc Roberge (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Richard On (lead guitar, backing vocals), Chris Culos (drums, percussion), Benj Gershman (bass guitar), Jerry DePizzo (saxophone, rhythm guitar, percussion, backing vocals), Jerry DePizzo (saxophone, rhythm guitar, percussion, backing vocals), Mikel Paris (keyboards, percussion, backing vocals), and Jon Lampley (trumpet, sousaphone, backing vocals) eased their way through “Lay Down.”
As the opening notes of “Black Rock” hit, my throat tightened. “Black Rock” is personal; a reminder of a friend who passed. A sing-along broke out during “Gotta Be Wrong Sometimes,” which was followed by a playful sax solo during “Untitled.” “Hey Girl,” one of O.A.R.’s most beloved songs, rocked the house. “This Town” and “Revisited” were chased with a chilling rendition of “City On Down.” Cups of beer were raised in memory of those lost as O.A.R. transitioned into a goose bump-inducing cover of U2’s “With Or Without You.”
“The Stranger” offered a tranquil respite before O.A.R. smashed into “Shattered (Turn the Car Around).” With a colorful Caribbean sound, “Delicate Few” featured a heart-stopping drum solo. “Caroline The Wrecking Ball” off the Rockville LP boasted a unique, country vibe, sounding different from the rest of the set.
“Get Away” followed “Heaven” and “Mr. Man” before the band comfortably slipped into a rousing set of fan favorites. “Love And Memories,” “Home,” and “About Mr. Brown” paid tribute to friends and fans. Excitement grew with “Peace” and “Try Me” before O.A.R. closed the show with the famously playful “Crazy Game Of Poker.”