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But for Ohio State’ O.A.R. returns to campus to Rock the Oval

Tim Kubick / For The Lantern

The five members of the band Of A Revolution, better known as O.A.R., attended Ohio State from 1997- 2001. 11 years later, they were back on OSU’s campus as the featured act in Thursday’s Rock the Oval concert.

“If you told me when I came here as a freshman that we would be doing this, I would’ve told you you were crazy,” said Marc Roberge, lead vocalist and backup guitarist.

The band played for more than an hour and a half on the Oval in front of a crowd comprised of OSU students, faculty, staff and alumni. The concert was part of the university kicking off its “But for Ohio State” campaign, a fundraising initiative with the intent of raising $2.5 billion for OSU, according to a university press release.

Following an official ceremony in the Ohio Union with university donors to kick off the campaign, OSU President E. Gordon Gee led O.A.R. and the OSU marching band through the Oval shortly after 9:30 p.m. Gee took the stage and briefly addressed students before passing the show over to the rock band.

The marching band joined O.A.R. for its first song “Hey Girl” and a performance of “Hang on Sloopy.” Following the marching band’s appearance, O.A.R. played “Road Outside Columbus,” which seemed to be a crowd favorite due to some of the lyrics being directly related to the city.

“There’s a road outside Columbus, Ohio / Feels like I drove along for years / This Midwest way of ease it surrounds us / I can’t deny the rhythm here / And as I pull away from Riverside beside me / That High Street never looked so good,” the band sang.

The crowd also seemed to take well to songs such as “Shattered (Turn The Car Around),” “Love and Memories” and “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker,” the latter of which evoked some of the audience to go along with the song’s theme by throwing playing cards into the air.

Around 11:20 p.m. O.A.R. left the stage after “That Was A Crazy Game of Poker,” but came out only a minute later to play its song “Night Shift” as an encore.

“I thought the concert was awesome,” said David Straka, a first-year in international business. “O.A.R., they obviously went here, but they were really in tune with the whole environment here. They really were part of Ohio State, they wanted to be here with us, not just as a performer for Ohio State, they were with Ohio State.”

Among the ways that O.A.R. interacted with the crowd was when saxophonist, guitarist and backup vocalist Jerry DePizzo asked the crowd to join him in singing “Happy Birthday to You” to Roberge, who turned 34 Thursday.

“This is how you celebrate a birthday, man,” Roberge said later during the concert.

Megan Leever, a third-year in health sciences, said the venue helped make the concert great.

“They played really well. It was absolutely fantastic,” Leever said. “Having it on the Oval was so much better than anywhere else.”

Not everyone was entirely satisfied with the event though.

“O.A.R. put on a show for sure, but I’d say, overall, as a social event, it was just sort of a steaming cesspool of grinding, cheap beers and a little bit of weed,” said Alex Urig, a first-year in psychology.

One student, however, was actually part of the concert. Jon Lampley, a fifth-year in jazz studies, is also a touring trumpet player with O.A.R. One of his friends said seeing him perform made the concert extra special.

“(Lampley) being able to play was just such a blessing and excitement to watch,” said Tina Bova, a third-year in health sciences.

Before the O.A.R. performance, “Rock the Oval” also featured a pre-concert show that included performances by two student a cappella groups, Key of Gee and Buck That!, along with a performance by rapper and OSU alum Yaves Ellis. Amanda Furrer, a senior on OSU’s rifle team who competed in the 2012 Olympic Games, also made an appearance during the pre-concert event, while hundreds of T-shirts were tossed into the crowd throughout the time leading up to the O.A.R. performance. 

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