Kings of live performances.
I don’t have the best pictures, and I won’t apologize for that, because it’s a lot more important for me to experience them than to capture them on my phone. I happened to have the best seat I’ve ever had to date which conveniently had a plexiglass barrier in front of it, so things wouldn’t fall over the balcony, I’m guessing, which made it really easy for me to record some of their songs without having to pay attention to my phone, so that was really a win win for me.
They have a cult following which I have recently (see: my Friday post) described as what feels like a religion. Marc, the lead singer, will, during “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker,” put down his mic, and hear a packed venue recite the lyrics, “gotta throw it all down and kiss that shit goodbye!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Kiss it goodbye” are the original lyrics. But if you’re a fan, you know you should be singing “kiss that shit goodbye” by now.
As far as concerts go, I’ll never love seeing a band live more than O.A.R.
(Although seeing Eminem with D-12, Lil Jon, 50 Cent, etc. on The Anger Management Tour 14 years ago — (fuck me!) — was a dream come true, and I will always cherish getting to see D-12 prior to Proof’s death, boy-band dancing to “My Band,” Em showing his ass to the crowd, and the electricity when the entirety of Madison Square Garden was pulsing to “Lose Yourself,” an experience I shared with my sister, and will always treasure.)
I used to wonder why people would see a group so many times, especially a group that plays as many old songs as it does new ones — a group that sings things they wrote when they began, twenty-two years ago. Now I know. I get it.
Here’s me, alone, pre-show, taking an obligatory selfie:
ON GOING ALONE
Well, like I mentioned in my Friday night post, I really wasn’t “alone.” As I said, I forgot that you’re never really alone when you go to see O.A.R.
And guess what! 🎶I met a guy, and I liked it!🎶 (Sung like Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” — just imagine it all right?! Hahaha, ahhhh I crack myself up.)
Actually I met several guys, all of whom ended up sitting near me and were also alone due to a variety of circumstances. They were all super receptive when I started conversations with them and, I think, grateful for the company between the opening acts. The show started at 7:00 but I left just before midnight — I’ve NEVER been to a show that was that long. It didn’t feel like five hours, but it was boring before my companions showed up.
The first guy I spoke to had never seen O.A.R. before so I told him I’d been to a bunch of shows and tried to explain what they were like. I think I did a pretty good job. I told him during certain songs people were basically going to go completely insane because it’s just like that. I told him I couldn’t really do it justice but he would experience it once the show started. During “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker” he leaned over to me and said “I get it now!” He really enjoyed them, which made me happy. It’s normal to be happy when someone you like — likes the thing you told them they would like — right? If it’s not that’s also okay because I’m cool with not being normal, as any of you who read this blog on any kind of consistent or semi-consistent basis by now well know.
The guy that I mentioned in my Katy Perry parody arrived, like, as O.A.R. came on stage. He was really awesome. He’s been to over sixty (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) shows! The man put me to shame! Although it had previously been my conversation starter with the first guy I met, I don’t recall exactly how being alone came up with him. Maybe he just noticed. But I must have said something because after the show he asked me if I was in a Facebook group for fans who basically just meet up and know each other and get together because they’re fans. I, of course, looked at him like a deer in the headlights, so he asked if I had Facebook at all. I said yes, so he pulled up the group and told me I should totally join and I did, when I got home. He was super sweet, even saying, “from now on, even if you’re ‘alone’ at a show you’ll never actually be alone,” and he smiled. Not that I needed taking care of, but it felt like he was taking me under his wing, and not in a condescending way. People who are fans of O.A.R. like he is, aren’t bad people.
So between the two of those guys especially, I didn’t actually feel alone except when I first arrived. We were on our feet dancing, singing, and really getting into the show together. I LOVE it when I’m near fans that aren’t afraid to go where their bodies take them during a set, because that’s just what happens to me naturally when I see O.A.R., and sometimes I feel self-conscious about it — something the superfan and I bonded over after the show was over as well. He made a comment that he was really happy to be between me and the guy on his other side because he’s usually on the floor where that’s pretty normal behavior, and in getting a seat he was afraid it wouldn’t be like that but it totally was. I completely agreed.
I would say that going alone, even next to this friendly cute guy I was vibing on, (is that a phrase? “vibing on?” — doesn’t matter) I have never felt less self conscious at one of their shows.
I just was. I existed. I moved how and when I wanted to and I sang how and when I wanted to, and it felt fucking amazing, truly. I just let go — so to speak. And nothing bad happened when I did. And THAT? Is beautiful.
Even if you went into a show pretty grumpy or pissed, I don’t think it’s possible you wouldn’t feel elation by the time it was over, whether they’re your jam or not. I actually did enter the show pissed for reasons I will detail later in this entry, so take my word for it.
Unless you’re like my ex who would (not unlike every other time I was around him) be on his phone the whole time and only told me after several shows that he didn’t even like them. I was surprised. Apparently he only liked one of their songs. I’m repeating myself but we never shared the same taste in music. Again, although I was open to his music, he hated the music I shared with him and would often tell me how terrible everything I shared with him was. Asshole. (It was a five year relationship, people. It still lingers. Especially the things like that which hurt me pretty deeply.) Like I said, I’m trying to quit writing about him, clearly I’m not there yet. But he was SUCH a buzz-kill at every concert I went to with him. I never understood that. Why go at all? It clearly wasn’t to “be” with me or try to enjoy it because he was never really “present” and he acted above it all.
I am so happy I finally have music back in my life almost all the time since he’s been gone. It helps me think, create, feel. It does what it does!
Although I LOVED the set — NO complaints — really — they did not play my “favorite” song of theirs. Favorite is in quotes because it’s not always the same. I like to hear them all. And I have 40 favorites. So, yeah. But, my “favorite” song to see them perform live is called “City on Down.” This post is so long even I need some visual stimulation right about now so here are some of the lyrics:
I just took that pic for ya’ll. Sorry not sorry for my Christmas lights kind of being all up in the glare there. Sorry the picture itself isn’t good. I keep this around my apartment. It’s important to me for a lot of reasons. It’s not my best handwriting by a long shot but truthfully I was probably crying while writing it. I have a few others like this around, and here’s why: when someone close to me dies, I usually send their family some or all of the lyrics on a card just like this one, because it is a nice, and, I believe, calming, idea. Whenever I read it I get chills and it grounds me, and, well, to be blunt, encourages me to stop acting like a punk ass bitch when I’m acting like one.
I read the lyrics to this song during my Dad’s repast following his funeral (one month shy exactly of five years ago, today). My Mom remembers it as the song I wrote out for her after one of our most beloved pets died and I made, like, a memory frame for her. I guess I do a lot of really weird things. People always seem to classify them as “thoughtful,” though, so, no harm no foul?
Although I have been planning to get an “Of A Revolution” tattoo for a few years now (and I will as soon as I am certain on where I want to get it and how I want it to look), I don’t own a single piece of “merchandise” of theirs other than their albums — no t-shirts or stickers or anything like that. Just ticket stubs and albums. So I decided that since I was alone and wasn’t affecting anyone by browsing what they had for sale, I would. I am finally the proud owner of my very own O.A.R. t-shirt! I’ve never seen it for sale at their events before, and it’s all about the song “Peace,” another favorite. The lyrics to this song have always made me emotional, and I have this thing with gardening and my Dad and Mom so it was kismit:
Speaking of kismit — my Mom, encouraging me to go to the concert had said to me, “maybe you’ll meet another guy there who is also alone and it will be kismit!” In many ways she was right. Thanks to the kind superfan I gained a lot which I did not have prior to going! So I guess I also get my E.S.P. from my Mom.
END OF SECTION (UNTIL TOMORROW’S POST — A TEASER FOR WHICH WILL BE AT THE END OF THIS POST)
People who I try to tell about seeing O.A.R. live often react by saying, “so they’re like Dave Matthews Band.” No. Hard pass. I can’t speak for all of us, but there are at least two of us who feel insulted by that comparison for some reason. One person who I met at this last show and I laughed about having had similar conversations.
I guess what I’m trying to express, and not as well as I think I did in my Friday night post I might add, is that those of us who are basically addicted to going to see O.A.R. live do not have anything else in our lives that compares to those experiences.
I’ve NEVER left a show disappointed.
I’ve NEVER not felt better after seeing them live.
It is, in fact, a high that I cannot keep from seeking time and time again. And I don’t drink or drug at concerts. A lot of people do and that’s cool as long as you act right, but since I’m usually driving I just don’t. And I really don’t feel the need to relax more than I do through listening to their music. And that feels pretty fucking amazing.
I went to a concert to see Dan + Shay open for Rascal Flatts this past summer at PNC Arts Center. In my opinion it should have been the other way around, but whatevs.
Anyway, I only mention this concert because a funny thing happened that I think is one of the many ways you can tell a superior band from an inferior one. Rascal Flatts started singing, “Just a small town girl…” and the entirety of The PNC Banks Art Center sang the rest of the first verse and chorus of that song, even though the band had stopped playing the music behind it WELL before we stopped. Then, the lead singer of Rascal Flatts said something like, “Wow! That was insane! I was not expecting that. Now let’s hear that kind of enthusiasm for one of ours!” and they began to play. I didn’t know the song, and apparently I wasn’t the only one. It was nowhere near what had happened moments before, and I felt embarrassed for them.
One of my FAVORITE parts of seeing O.A.R. live is when Marc stops singing during LITERALLY ANY SONG in the set — ANY — SONG — and lets the crowd sing for ourselves. I like to think that there isn’t a better feeling for the members of O.A.R. than standing back and listening to hundreds and hundreds of people singing their lyrics back to them verbatim, in unison, with such passion. We have studied, memorized, and even worshiped their work.
This is the video I recorded of “Shattered,” on Friday, a song played on the radio, so even if you don’t really know who O.A.R. is, you may have heard it before. If you’re not interested in watching the whole thing — (shame on you! — just kidding) — go to minute 2:43 in to see what I’m talking about. You can hear the crowd almost as loudly as Marc throughout the whole song though.
You might say, “that’s true for any band, fans memorize lyrics and like to sing along.” It’s not like that for “any” band, or every band. I feel like I’m coming off a little elitist writing about them this way, but it’s not meant to be like that. I’m just trying to tell you how I experience them. And I know I’m not alone. I’ve been to dozens of other concerts, and it’s never the same. Not. Ever.
For a song you’re not going to hear on the radio, “That Was a Crazy Game of Poker,” well, it’s twelve minutes long so I’m having some issues uploading it (tonight anyway), but if I could, you’d be able to hear the fans sing alone to a song that most people cannot even figure out the words to, particularly non-fans (I mentioned it above). It is usually performed during the Encore, not always, but it was on Friday night, and this is what the floor looked like after the show:
Yup. That’s thousands of playing cards because it’s a thing we do. The insanity that breaks out when the band let’s us know, (coyly playing with us before breaking into the song through a series of “maybe this is it!!!!!!!!!!” chords) that yes, it is in fact this song — is indescribable. It’s everything I ever want to feel. It’s better than the best feeling you’ve ever felt. (I guess it is a little describable.)
Thanks for reading! I’ll leave you with a few things. I wish you “Peace”:
🎶I just wanna make you laugh
I just wanna see that smile
Babe we’re only here, oh, for a little while
I just wanna hold you till, we fall asleep
I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, and I want peace🎶
On a totally unrelated note, I locked myself out of my apartment tonight (car keys attached to the house key) right before I was supposed to meet my Mom for our weekly grocery shopping trip, and successfully “broke in” by climbing in through a window that is NOT close to the ground, but WAS my only option. I’m extremely proud of this as it was not easy and I definitely could have broken a lot of body parts. I didn’t even think I’d be able to hoist my fat ass but did. So, suck it, “haters!” I wouldn’t recommend trying to break in the same way if I were you. Fight Club Rules up in here, that’s all I’m sayin’.
So, it was a perfect night — that is — once I actually got past “security.” And do I have a HELL of a story for you about THAT for tomorrow. Pepper spray WAS involved, party people.