O.A.R. rocks Hard Rock

O.A.R. plays before a packed house at Hard Rock Orlando on August 27, 2009. Prior to the event, the band hosted a VIP event for fans and local lumanaries. (Nick Masuda/Orlando Sentinel) (Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel / August 27, 2009)


This is a revolution that is just getting started.

And, as veterans in the music game, that has to be music to O.A.R.'s ears.

The rock band showcased an eclectic mix of pure rock, reggae and a tinge of hip-hop as it sent a packed house at Hard Rock Orlando into a frenzy Thursday night.

The night featured three distinct sets, with the opening stint being "classic O.A.R.," according to drummer Chris Culos. That was followed by an intimate acoustic set that featured "Love and Memories," a fan-favorite and singalong.

The final eight songs were highlighted by dramatic light shows and a reggae feel, putting both the band and crowd in a dancing mood.

Lead singer Marc Roberge was incredible during the last half of the night, with his reggae beats in "Black Rock" a definite standout.

The band has matured over the years, but it hasn't lost its sense of fun. The boys tiptoe that line well: They went from telling a story about visiting the troops in Kuwait and Iraq in 2007 before playing a great rendition of "War Song" to lots of laughter and jamming during a three-song encore that kept the crowd screaming for minutes on end.

The stage wasn't all about Roberge and his gifted vocals; the spotlight shifted from saxophonist Jerry DePizzo to guitarist/back-up vocalist Richard On.

DePizzo almost looked like he might pop a blood vessel on his forehead with the fierceness in which he pulled off his sax playing -- it was that dramatic.

Meanwhile, On's quick fingers on the guitar gave Roberge multiple opportunities to give up the stage to let the crowd enjoy his solo abilities. Culos and DePizzo combined on one of the best moments of the night with a drum sequence that was similar to a riff you would hear in a Brazilian samba.

Their cohesiveness was impressive and had the feeling of a jam session, much like the rest of the night.

But don't mistake this jam session for anything amateur, this is something worth starting a revolution over.