ARTIST: OAK RIDGE BOYS
VENUE: ALABAMA THEATRE, MYRTLE BEACH, SC
DATE: APRIL 9, 2022
REVIEWER: JENNIFER SMITH
It's that time of year .. The legendary Oak Ridge Boys made their annual Spring trek to Myrtle Beach. SC and played a night at the Alabama Theatre on Saturday, April 9. There is always a special feeling in the air when this crew hits town. You can feel the excitement in the buzz of those eagerly waiting outside the venue for the box office and doors to open. You hear fans telling each other about the songs they hope are played, the last time they saw the band, discussions about William Lee Golden’s latest book “Behind the Beard”and favorite personal memories. Tonight was a night for new memories to be made.
There is just something special about an Oak Ridge Boys show, it's not just the music, it's who these men are as people, the great guys in the band who stand behind them every night on stage, the friendly crew and the connection the Oaks have built with their fan base. They interact personally on social media, they take time to say hello and talk to fans at shows, they are never bigger than their own shoes. They treat people like friends and family and that says so much, especially these days when a lot of artists don't take the time or treat it as though it's a bother. The Oaks recognize the importance of personal connection and that personal connection is what has made them one of the most loved and respected groups in country music history. That attitude combined with their music creates a positive change in those of us sitting out in the crowd and the content of their songs and the relatable stories just make you strive to be a better person, a more appreciative person long after the door of the auditorium closes behind you and you head back into the real world. One other observation I've made at all of the shows I've attended is that each crowd seems to have younger fans in attendance. I love seeing life long fans bringing their kids and getting them hooked on this music so they too can become a life long fan and carry on the Oaks tradition of love and family.
Joe, Duane, Richard and William Lee and the Mighty Oaks Band brought not just their A game, they brought their A+ game this night. Despite the current bitterness and chill of the world outside, the world inside those doors was warm, positive and uplifting. They sang their classics like "American Made", "Louisiana Red Dirt Highway", "Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight", "Callin' Baton Rouge", "Dream On", "Sail Away" and "Roll Tennessee River" which are always a hit with this crowd and had us all on our feet and singing every note right along with them, but they've also added in a special segment, similar to their Christmas tour "rocking chair" fireplace segment, but this one was sitting on the "front porch" on 4 stools. You'll have to get Joe to tell you why William Lee is the perfect stool specimen. LOL! It's a funny story that only he can tell. Tonight was full of off the wall humor and unexpected happenings. There was a lady down front who was once one of the Chipmunks in their Christmas shows several years ago so there was that happy reunion. A fan (one of my favorite people who shall remain anonymous), brought some pickled beets as a gift and Joe and Duane kindly bestowed the gift upon drummer, Austin Curcuruto, and deemed it the "Best Beet Award" which drew a roar of laughter and of course, Joe, in typical Joe fashion started telling a funny story and cracked himself up so bad that he couldn't stop laughing. You just never know what you're gonna get at these shows, but you know it's gonna leave you laughing or leave you crying because you connected on a deeper level than fans do at most shows.
Ok back to the "Front Porch Singin'" segment of the show, LOVED it. This was the most personal and emotionally honest part of the show. Each member told a story that meant something to them and then the group performed the song that was associated with the memory. This segment included their most loved Southern gospel favorite, "Life's Railway", a new one that Duane really drove right to the heart of everyone in attendance and brought tears to some with "Life Is Beautiful", William Lee talked about his days of growing up in Brewton, AL and the cotton fields he calls home and sang about "The Old Ways", Richard talked about his time with JD Sumner and the Stamps Quartet and Elvis Presley before they launched into one of Elvis' favorite Lord Lovin' foot stompers, "Swing Down Chariot". "Love, Light and Healing", a song title made up of 3 simple words with enormous meaning written by Sherry Martin and Aaron Raitiere, brought an appropriate end to the "Front Porch Singin'" session and I think we all felt those 3 words more this year than ever with the current situations surrounding us. Thank you for that.
The night wrapped up with the 2 loudest versions of "Elvira" and "Bobbe Sue" that I think I've ever heard at any previous ORB show. I'm not talking about the Oaks and the band, the crowd was LOUD and loving every off key note they sang right back. I just love this group, the band, the entire crew. They are a family and every audience member becomes a part of the Oak Ridge Boys family. May this family continue to grow and keep the music playing. We love you all! Thank you for another wonderful night.
Check out the pics below from the show. Don't be stealin' 'em, I know who took 'em :-)
Meet Darin, he's a new "Favorite" in the band