At first glance, it looked like every college student in Cleveland showed up for O.A.R.’s show Friday night at Nautica. Closer inspection revealed that hardcore fans of all ages were there.
The crowd surged toward the stage before the music even started. As frontman Marc Roberge strapped on his guitar and approached the mic, a thousand arms pumped the air and cheers rocked the Pav’s white awnings.
Roberge, grinning a slickster smile, kept the audience fired up by adding punch to “About Mr. Brown” -- “It ain’t gonna rain on our parade!” he sang. One fan, hanging on to a Bud Light with a death grip, was crowd-surfing by the second song, “Something Coming Over.”
Then the pushing began. Between songs, Roberg shouted at the audience several times for everyone to quit fighting. “We are too old to be doing that shit!” he said.
Finally getting back to the music, O.A.R. played for two hours, slowing down for an acoustic set, where a ruby curtain disguised the stage changes. Drummer Chris Culos pounded on a fancy Gretsch set, Jerry DePizzo wailed into his sax and Roberge could barely contain his energy on the edge of a little black stool. The crowd responded by hoisting old-school lighters (later in the show, the cellphones were hauled out).
After playing “The City”, the band took a short break and the stage screens flashed lightening images while the crowed thundered the group's name. O.A.R. then capped the night with “This Town” and “Hey Girl." —Crystal Culler; photo by Mark A. Pirri