The Oak Ridge Boys have been around since the 1940s in one form or another. The current group (William Lee Golden, Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall and Richard Sterban [L-R in the photo]) has been together now for 40 years and they have been delighting millions of listeners with timely music and great harmony.
The lead singer of the Oaks, Duane Allen, is a reader of this blog and through it he and I began conversing. As luck would have it the group played on 9 August in Havre de Grace MD, not too far away. I purchased a ticket and Duane was gracious enough to allow me to attend the meet and greet before the show. I met all the guys and though the encounter was brief, I was happy to finally meet Duane in person and to be introduced to the rest of the group.
I mention that because it brings it to a personal level to show what kind of guys they are. They are stand up folks who give all glory to God and this is reflected in not only their music but in the way they conduct themselves. Case in point, the warm up act was a group of students from the Baltimore School of Rock. These young musicians were aged 14-18 and they played very well. The vocals were great and they know their way around their musical instruments. The meet and greet was originally scheduled for the time when the warm up act was on stage. The Oak Ridge Boys delayed the event until after the kids were done performing. The Oaks did not want to have people getting up and walking out during another bands performance. They did not feel it was right to do that to other performers.
In the world of entertainment divas and pampered prima donnas it is nice to see artists who respect others and refuse to do things that would disrupt them. Keep in mind, the Oaks did not do this for some known entity but for a bunch of youngsters who are still learning their way around music. This might seem like a small thing but to me it shows a lot of character.
When the Oak Ridge Boys took the stage and began the show they did not disappoint the crowd. These guys have been singing with each other for 40 years and they still sound great. While these guys are not spring chickens they have more energy and stamina than some acts half their age. They performed for over 2 hours in the Maryland heat and humidity and were stronger at the end than they were in the beginning.
These guys worked the crowd, mingled in some light hearted moments and stories and had everyone out of their seats at the end participating in their signature song, “Elvira.”
I thoroughly enjoyed the show and it was worth every penny of the admission price.
I will point out though that this is only the second concert I have ever attended (not counting my kids and grandkids school concerts, LOL). It might be my third if you count Beetlemania as a concert.
I do not usually attend concerts because of my hearing. As some of you know I wear hearing aids and have had a high frequency loss since childhood. I have a hard time understanding the lyrics of songs whether on the radio or at a concert (particularly given the loudness of a concert). I look lyrics up and memorize them so I know what is being sung (as a child my friends went to music stores to buy records*. I went to look at sheet music to see what was being sung). With the advent of modern hearing protection (I have specially molded protection) I am able to attend loud events and not lose any more of my hearing.
This was not a concern when the Oaks took the stage (though I still wore my protection) because their instruments did not overwhelm their vocals. The kids from the School of Rock played LOUD music heavy on the electric guitars. I could hear their vocals but they were sometimes drowned out by the instruments. This was not the case with the Oak Ridge Boys. I think that says a lot about their music when the vocals are the focus rather than the instruments (though there were instrument solos where members of the band showed their great talent).
The fact that my ears were not under assault all night is one more reason I enjoyed the concert.
On a personal note, the song “I Get To” hit home for me. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard this song but I never really got the message. At the concert the performance of that song hit home for me and I hope I never forget its message.
The concert was great and the performance by a timeless group celebrating 40 years together was totally enjoyable. I am happy to have been there. I highly recommend attending one of their performances.
Thanks Duane for the hospitality and thanks Oaks for a great concert.
Let’s do it again.
*For the youngsters out there, a record is a piece of vinyl that contains music and is played on a record player (or turntable). You recognize them as the things DJs “scratch“.
Never surrender, never submit.