Since April 2013, OneRepublic has been traveling the world on their Native Tour to promote their third album, and this summer, they’ve come back for a second US tour. I attended the concert last August in Bethlehem Pennsylvania and enjoyed it so much that when some friends invited me to see them at Holmdel’s PNC Bank Arts Center this year, I immediately jumped at the chance to hear them again. Our group purchased the cheapest lawn tickets, but even the lawn was packed when we got to the venue. It was a family friendly event, a concert appropriate for all ages.
The night kicked off with Indie rock band American Authors as the first opening act, getting the crowd pumped with their popular single “Best Day of My Life”. Next up was Irish band The Script, who sang a good 7-8 songs including their newest release “Superheroes”. The Script performed their hit songs “The Man Who Can’t be Moved”, “Breakeven”, and “For the First time”, and had some fun by calling up a fan’s ex-boyfriend and singing “Nothing” to him over the phone. The opening acts were good choices for building up to the main artist, and they did a great job in energizing the audience for OneRepublic.
A huge white sheet draped over the entire stage as the band set up, creating a sense of mystery and anticipation. OneRepublic started their first song “Light it Up” behind the curtain as cool light effects illuminated the silhouettes of the band members, increasing in intensity until the climax of the song when the screen dramatically dropped to reveal the band rocking out on a brightly lit stage. The American pop rock band quickly won over the crowd when the cello intro of “Secrets” began playing, and also going into their other old popular singles “All the Right Moves” and “Stop and Stare”. OneRepublic kept their original songs interesting by mixing “Apologize” with Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” and adding a fun spin to “Good Life” by mashing it up with the catchy loop from “Midnight City”. Their radio hit “Counting Stars” got everyone going crazy and dancing under the moonlight (unfortunately, no starlight).
The musical talent was obvious: Lead guitarist Zach Filkin’s Spanish guitar medley was an amazing blend of intricate finger picking, lively riffs, and fun percussion rhythms. Brent Kutzle’s cello playing makes OneRepublic unique from other bands, and the smooth and soulful orchestral sounds captivated the audience. Lead singer Ryan Tedder’s piano skills, beautiful falsettos, and playful voice improvisations impressed everyone.
Other memorable moments include Tedder throwing his guitar high up across the stage (and a crew member catching it) during “I Lived”, the performance of a new song “Ordinary Human” for the movie soundtrack “The Giver” (it was still one of the first times they sang it live), the piano changing colors from red to blue during “Apologize”, and the band banging LED drums during the encore. The band played 3 encore pieces, including “Love Runs Out”, a nostalgic cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”, and ending with “If I Lose Myself” and a shower of colorful confetti as the grand finale and goodbye.
Yahoo also streamed the concert live on August 10th, and you can see some of the highlights here.
The second time around was just as magical as the first, possibly even better albeit I had farther seats. Every concert, although on the same tour, is different and unique because of the location, the people you go with, and crowd dynamic. I would recommend a OneRepublic concert to anyone who wants a musical high and an unforgettable experience. Good music with good company, this is the good life.