Written by Robert B. Johnson (@RobertSatellite on Twitter)
Sep 21, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageHot off the release of new album, Native, OneRepublic tore through Houston, Texas, putting on a riveting display of musical talent. The band, popularly known for songs like “Secrets” and “Apologize,” owned the stage at Bayou Music Center for an hour and a half, electrifying a vibrant, sold-out crowd along the way.

Dynamic Musicianship

As a practical matter, many bands are forced to play to a track for live performances. Whether it’s strings or subtle electronics, some songs have so much content that it’s not economically feasible to play every instrument live.

OneRepublic stepped outside the new “norm” and put forth an effort to play every part live. In an incredible display of the band’s versatility, the members of OneRepublic frequently switched instruments to suit the song. Whether it was singer Ryan Tedder going from acoustic guitar to piano duties, or guitarist Brent Kutzle dropping the guitar in favor of the cello, every member of OneRepublic maximized their talents for live renditions of their extensive catalog of music.

On “Secrets,” Tedder was flanked on stage by violins and cellos, offering the crowd an authentic taste of the classical track. For “Apologize,” Tedder and company again reimagined a popular track with a full complement of stringed instruments. Using guitars, piano, cello, and violin, OneRepublic created a lush landscape of sounds to highlight the raw emotion of the song.

In a completely different display of their unique skill as musicians, the group performed a cover of Kanye West “Gold Digger.” Tedder set up the track with an acapella vocal. After introducing and demonstrating a live sampler to the fans in attendance, the band gradually built the song from a broken-down bluesy piece to an all-out recreation as a rock anthem.

Throughout the evening, the members of OneRepublic put on a clinic in dynamic musicianship. Be it one of their popular tracks or a cover of another artist, Tedder and company used the stage as their canvas to paint beautiful masterpieces all night long.

Finding Inspiration

Inspiration comes in many forms. Whether it’s from a person, event, or surroundings, inspiration provides the fuel for the vehicle to achieve great things. The determination to use it and see it through to a result is particularly special. Tedder emphasized this point mid-song.

“How many of you auditioned for X-Factor or American Idol?”

With several members of the audience raising their hands, Tedder continued with a short, yet powerful response.

“Never give up!”

If fans could find a moment of clarity and purpose at one of his concerts, he wanted to encourage it. After-all, Tedder himself found inspiration throughout the many circles of his own life. To that point, just prior to the performance of “Preacher,” Tedder took to the mic for a personal moment. He told the story of his 85 year old grandfather praying for him before his many flights while on tour. At that moment, all band-members moved to front of stage to accentuate the different feel of the special song.

As Tedder put it, “if you’re 85 and still bad ass, I hope someone writes a song for you.”

Connecting With The Audience

Above all else, the members of OneRepublic had a brilliant ability to connect to their fans.

In a moment of humor, shortly after taking the stage, Tedder introduced the band as Hoobastank.

Later, when a fan screamed her love for the artist, he responded in kind.

“I love you too. MySpace me after the show?”

ImageFor a band with such an emotional array of songs, the moments of humor provided levity to the evening. Small moments like those bridged the inherent divide often found between musicians and fans during live sets.

Although the humor fostered a unity throughout the venue, the connection wasn’t just metaphorical. Throughout numerous songs, the band-members would extend themselves to the crowd, offering up something as simple as a hand or gesture of acknowledgment.

For the final performance of the evening, “If I Lose Myself,” Tedder hopped the barricade and stretched across the sea of fans as if to lay on his own bed. As the fans carried him around the front of the venue, Tedder belted out every lyric to the song with a passion and vigor that could be felt throughout the bodies of those carrying his weight (literally) and everyone around.

From beginning to end, the members of OneRepublic put just as much effort into instrumentation as they did connecting with the audience in front of them. Through this unity, the band and the fans carried the show as a unit, working to create something special, and absolutely unique to that moment in time.

A True Live Experience

The talent of OneRepublic can’t be understated. Singer / songwriter Ryan Tedder is known across the music industry as one of the best pure musicians in the business. Having written songs for Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Lopez, Maroon 5, and many more, Tedder considers OneRepublic his baby. And when he and his bandmates perform, it absolutely shows. They feel every note and every word deep within themselves and want everyone in attendance to feel the same. With a little  bit of hard work and a whole load of talent, they accomplish that goal so smoothly and organically that it’d be hard for any fan to not become enveloped by the moment.

Whether you’re long-time fan or simply looking for a amazing night of music, OneRepublic is a must-see attraction.

Don’t Look Down
Light it Up
All the Right Moves
What You Wanted
Stop and Stare
Counting Stars
Gold Digger (Kanye West Cover)
Can’t Stop
I Lived
Good Life

Feel Again
If I Lose Myself

Contact Robert at robert@starsandsatellites.com or on social media at @RobertSatellite