Venue: Alabama Theatre - Myrtle Beach, SC
Reviewer: Jennifer Smith
Follow Jenn on Twitter at @lovinlyrics
Photo credit: Jennifer Smith / Lovin' Lyrics
I feel like I write the same review every time I see the Oak Ridge Boys play, but when you're revewing a consistently great show, it's hard not to. Country Music Hall of Famers Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and William Lee Golden once again proved why they are considered true musical legends and superstars with a packed house in Myrtle Beach, SC this past Saturday night, 9/10/16. These shows are my favorite days of the year. They're better than Christmas and my birthday.
There is this unexplainable energy that you can feel the minute you walk in the door to the Alabama Theatre when there's an Oak Ridge Boys show. You know just from the excitement of the fans waiting for those doors to open that it's gonna be a good night. I make a point to pay attention to venue atmosphere and the attitude of their staff as well as how helpful the staff is to patrons. I can say that the Alabama Theatre is hands down one of my favorite venues. The venue is beautiful, always clean and the acoustics are fantastic. The staff are always smiling, proactive in assisting people with locating their seats, and always answer questions with kindness and an eager enthusiasm.
Just before the show, the Oaks hold their meet and greet which is always a good time. When it comes to meet and greets, these guys are the best. They know their fans names, their faces, their family members, and what's going on with them. They care enough to pay attention to these things and that's what makes them stand out among so many others. They take the time to sign items, to shake hands, to hug and to talk to their fans, they don't just take 2 seconds, snap a pic and push them out the door. It's obvious by the fact that their shows sell out night after night that this kind of attention is what keeps fans coming back over and over again. Shows at this particular venue are more than a bunch of strangers coming together, it's more of a family of sorts. You may come in a stranger, but you'll meet so many friendly people by the end of that night that you'll leave more of a friend. That's what so special about the Oaks and the Alabama Theatre audience.
At 7:00pm, the lights in the auditorium went dark and the stage lights came on. The show began with the deep booming introduction, "Ladies and gentlemen, the legendary Oak Ridge Boys" and the boys took stage to a standing ovation, thundering applause and all kinds of whoops and hollers. There's just a powerful energy that fills the room that you just have to experience to understand. It's an obvious surrounding of love. It really makes a heart feel good.
The Oaks came out and performed the hits like "Everyday", "American Made", and "Dream On" much to the pleasure of the hundreds of fans dancing in their seats, singing along at the top of their lungs. The Oaks are known for their deep patriotism and love of this amazing country we are blessed to live in and they never fail to take a few quiet moments to salute those in the audience who are veterans or currently fighting for our freedom. With the current political climate, I think we need a reminder of how lucky we are to live in a country that allows us the freedom to come to events such as this, to sing what we want to, and to listen to the music that moves us. Tonight, I felt that blessing. Every Oak Ridge Boys show is such a reminder and this show was no different. Joe Bonsall's love of God and country is so very evident and when he gets riled up, the audience gets riled up with him and it's such a cool thing to be a part of.
The show rolled on with old favorites and new favorites as well as stories and humorous anecdotes as only Joe can relay them. One of my favorite moments of the night was William Lee Golden's obviously emotional performance of a new song, "Time Has Made a Change in Me" where he sings of the passage of time and the years that have caught up with him, of loved ones who have passed on and the personal changes that have come with those years. When he took his sunglasses off and wiped tears from his eyes, I think all of us wiped those same tears. They followed up with everyone's favorite sing along and two of their biggest hits, "Elvira" and "Bobbie Sue", with members of the incredible Mighty Oaks Band jamming together and just having a great time. What a great way to end the evening.
I have to give huge love to the band and crew, some of the best people in the industry. The Mighty Oaks Band consists of Rex Wiseman (Fiddle/Steel/Guitar), Ron Fairchild (Keys), Scotty Simpson (Bass), Jeffrey Douglas (Acoustic Guitar), David Northrup (Drums), and Roger Eaton (Electric Guitar). These guys are the best of the best when it comes to Nashville musicians. Each has worked with legendary names other than the Oaks and they stand behind these four men every night. They're such a great group of guys, I just love them. The crew - Darrick, Marko, Zeke, Michael and everyone else are who keep these wheels turning and the show running smoothly, merchandise moving and making sure lights/sound are the best they can possibly be. It really takes a village to create a legacy and these guys are the bricks in the foundation. The next time you're at an Oaks show, be sure to say hello and thank these guys for what they do. They're all so much more than background, they're essential to each and every performance.
Saturday night left everyone in that room with another wonderful, lasting memory. This is what the Oaks are best at, leaving lasting memories and leaving the audience with a smile as they leave to head back home. I bet most of us were listening to Oaks songs in the car and singing all the way home.