NEW YORK (Everfine Records) - The quintet will launch a three-month U.S. headlining tour with a week of dates with Dave Matthews
Band Thursday, June 17 in Maryland Heights, MO, before releasing their live album 34TH & 8TH August 10 on their own Everfine Records. This comes on the heels of the band's triumphant Lava/Everfine studio release IN BETWEEN NOW AND THEN - an album Dan Aquilante of the New York Post called "a jammin' album that flirts with melodic, reggae-laced rock that oils your dancing bone" in his four-star review (5/27/03) - which spawned the radio hits "Hey Girl
" and "Right On Time."
Playing with Dave Matthews Band "is a dream come true," says O.A.R. singer/lyricist MARC ROBERGE. "To them it's just another show, but I can remember being in the front yard of our drummer's (CHRIS CULOS) house saying one day we are going to play with this band."
34TH & 8TH was named after the intersection of New York City's historic Hammerstein Ballroom where the band recorded the double-disc set over two sold-out nights (November 28 and 29 of 2003). Harnessing all of the energy of the live O.A.R. experience, each disc represents numbers from each respective evening, mixed for the best possible listening experience. Fans will look forward to the inclusion of two new songs-"Wonderful Day" and "Patiently"-which haven't appeared on previous O.A.R. recordings. MARC says "Patiently" is "a song that I wrote almost five years ago about a passing of a friend…it's good and emotional and that's going to be a standout for the fans to hear."
At the same time, 34TH & 8TH finds O.A.R. - ROBERGE, CULOS, BENJ GERSHMAN (bass), RICHARD ON (electric guitar/background vocals), JERRY DePIZZO (saxophone) - breathing excitement and passion into fan favorites such as "Hey Girl," "About Mr. Brown" and "City On Down," in addition to a new version of live staple "That Was A Crazy Game Of Poker." MARC says that beloved tune "really got us to where we are now and it's always been our crowd's favorite…but the inspiration of it has led to a newer version with parts that have never been on the CD before."
CHRIS says 34TH & 8TH "was recorded when we really had a feeling for our live show. We had been touring really hard all fall and ended on the highest note: Thanksgiving weekend at Hammerstein ballroom in New York City. It was a great way to capture our live gig." The drummer adds: "We've come a long way as a band, playing almost every night for the last couple years, getting our feet on the ground as far as how to put on a show."
O.A.R.'s uncanny ability to captivate an audience with spirited live performances was summarized in Steve Morse's Boston Globe live review of the band's February 13, 2004 Boston concert: "It was party time at the Orpheum last night... One would have thought this was U2 at the FleetCenter or Dave Matthews at Gillette Stadium or Bruce Springsteen at Fenway. That's how loud and ecstatic the fans were who came to see the fast-blooming, grass-rootsy O.A.R.... judging from the screams and the sing-a-longs to nearly every tune, you'd swear it must have had scored several Top Ten hits by now…This band was just plain fun—an exuberant blend of reggae-rock, funk, and jazz-pop…a musically well-rounded group that is also road-tested, having performed nine months a year to build up to its word-of-mouth audience." Continuing, Morse adds: "O.A.R. has an excellent lead singer in Marc Roberge, who sang his guts out last night...
O.A.R. also received strong musicianship from deadpan guitarist Richard On (whose clean, shimmering licks were a highlight throughout) and saxophonist Jerry DePizzo, an anchoring presence."
Meanwhile, MARC attributes the band's success on the road (280,000 concert tickets sold in 2003) to the chemistry they have with their fans: "Every night we try to make the audience feel like they are a part of our band. We take great pride in what we do, and as a result, every show gets better than the last. It's our goal to bring fans in on our vibe, taking five thousand people and making them feel like there are only 20 people out there and everybody is in on the same pulse...if you don't want to be a positive person, don't be a fan of ours."
Echoing his bandmate's sentiment, CHRIS says: "We've always tried to make music that makes us happy. We've always tried to do the things on stage that make us happy. It's our first summer tour we've gotten to go out on a big headlining tour. We're really trying to connect to the audience and put the best show on possible."
After the DAVE MATTHEWS BAND dates, O.A.R. will headline dates with Howie Day and Matt Nathanson, before headlining shows with Howie Day and Guster, for a trek that will climax September 2 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles.