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O.A.R. goes online and interactive with Deep Rock Drive

As Spencer Patterson reported last month, a Vegas-based company called Deep Rock Drive is taking the live show to the next level. Last night I had the opportunity to check out one of their interactive concerts myself.

Rockville, Maryland-based O.A.R. had made the trip to Vegas to give an international concert broadcast live over the Internet to 4,000 people in 35 countries. Fans from as far away as North Korea, South Africa and Singapore took part in the interactive show, voting on which song they wanted the band to play next and leaving a constant stream of comments during the concert, which ranged from the serious, shout outs from the military in Iraq, to the silly, “I caught you a delicious bass.” The band members could read these comments and respond to them live. Lead singer Marc Roberge chuckled as he read Comments like “have my babies” and “we f***ed in high school.”

While viewers watched the broadcast from their living rooms, those attending the live show felt like they were in OAR’s own living room during band practice. The intimate concert was only open to about 70 lucky people whose sweat and body odor mingled in the hot and still room. Roberge used his guitar pick to wipe away sweat as he played.

While O.A.R. played a couple of their old standbys like “The Wanderer” and “Crazy Game of Poker” the band also showed off a few songs from their upcoming release All Sides. A tune called “One Day” featured saxophonist Jerry DePizzo using brushes on a snare drum before transitioning back to the sax. Towards the end of the show the band played a tune called “Lay Down,” with the drummer, saxophonist and keyboardist all playing different types of drums for a sort of drum off.

I had a chance to talk with Roberge after the show, and he said performing for the small crowd and online fans still felt like a concert. “I felt people, not machines. Growing up watching Unplugged – it felt like that.”

Deep Rock Drive co-founder Danny Socolof said his goal is to evolve the live show into something really interactive. “It’s important that the magic of live be accessible to people,” he explained.

Last night in Las Vegas and all over the world, Socolof succeeded.

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