I go to a lot of concerts, I’ve been to more than 100 live shows in the last ten years – and one single band can account for almost half of them. This Saturday will be my 50th O.A.R. show and I’m seeing them five times in December. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “You’ve seen them how many times?” “Wait didn’t you just see them?” “Aren’t all their shows the same?” These are questions I get all the time when it comes to O.A.R..
My first show was in September of 2008 and I only knew a few songs. I had gone with a couple of my childhood friends who liked the band and we managed to get there early enough to be front row – little did I know this would set a precedent for the rest of my concert-going life. Since then I’ve put thousands and thousands of miles on my car, flown multiple airlines, and will have traveled to 10 states after Saturday’s show to see them. I’ve waited in a range of weather, from below 40 and rain to 95 degrees and humid to make sure I’m in the front row. I know I sound crazy, but I like to think I’m the good kind of crazy. The way I look at it is that I don’t drink or do drugs, I don’t go to bars, I don’t spend all my money on makeup or name brand clothes – so live music is sort of my thing.
I’ve seen over 1,000 songs performed – and yes, a lot of of those are repeat songs – the intro, freestyles, and solos make them unique. Even if they are often the same, they’re not something I’m sick of hearing. While show staples like “Hey Girl,” “Shattered,” “Love and Memories,” “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker,” “Peace,” and their new single “I Go Through” are played at almost every show, each one is still different. Every venue, crowd, atmosphere, and vibe makes each show unique. Some crowds beg for “Deep Cuts” or rare songs that have never been written down, and some crowds know no words to “Deep Cuts” but every word to “Shattered.” It’s never the same. Songs have different meanings for everyone, but knowing that those songs are written based on sheer emotion and experience is what make them easy to love.
Having a passion for this band and their music has allowed me to have the most amazing life experiences. I’ve been introduced to new music and fallen in love with bands and artists like The Hunts, Andrew McMahon, Allen Stone, and more. Every show I go to has been in good company. Because of this music I’ve been able to make friends all over the country (I’ve even made some friends from Norway). From Massachusetts all the way to California, and many states in between, I’ve met so many amazing people; some of which I talk to every day and some of which we only meet at shows, and that’s alright because we pick up like no time has passed. It’s these people that make going to so many shows so fun (and waiting in line for hours bearable).
Having been a touring band for 20 years, O.A.R. get used to the familiar faces. You don’t see many artists who can say hi to people in the first few rows by their first (and last) name, but these guys do it. When you see them off stage they’re genuine, kind, and fun. When they ask how you and your family are doing, they mean it. The fact that they truly care about their fans is easily why they have the committed fanbase that they do. Obviously, seeing 50 shows is a big moment for me – but that’s not uncommon for O.A.R. fans at all, and they know that. They know that without their fans they wouldn’t have the ability to tour year round. For as long as this band is touring, I’ll continue to see them. And for now, I’ll enjoy my 50th O.A.R. show outside in the cold at the bottom of a mountain in Vermont with my best friends, who I’ve met at shows along the way.