OneRepublic demonstrated the considerable heft of lightweight pop on the opening night of its new tour at the Sprint Center on Friday. The group’s transcendent concert provided emotional catharsis for receptive members of an audience of about 10,000.
Ryan Tedder, the creative mastermind of OneRepublic, explained that the show almost didn’t happen. Recognizing that he and his band mates were “burned out… after being in a band for ten years,” they cancelled a tour that had been scheduled to begin several months ago. Noting that the group was sufficiently refreshed, Tedder said that “to have this be the first show, I feel like we won the lottery.”
The nearly two hours of musical wealth shared by the band included OneRepublic’s biggest hits and three samples of Tedder’s work with other artists. The Oklahoma native is a pop maestro with a Midas touch.
After noting that “one of my day jobs is writing songs for other artists,” Tedder explained that OneRepublic would break from tradition on the new tour by performing some of the material he wrote or co-wrote with other stars. A rapturous rendition of “Halo,” Tedder’s collaboration with Beyoncé, was the evening’s nicest surprise. Tedder also played a solo version of “Happier,” a song he devised with Ed Sheeran.
The band was joined by tour mates James Arthur and Fitz and the Tantrums for a glorious interpretation of the Adele hit “Rumour Has It.” Arthur, the enormously talented 2012 winner of the British television competition “The X Factor,” impressed with his soulful voice and resonant songs in a 30-minute opening set. Fitz and the Tantrums demonstrated its agreeable knack for giving the irresistible Motown sound of the ‘60s a peppy pop makeover for almost an hour.
Many of the songs Tedder composed for OneRepublic also evoke pop masterpieces. “Apologize,” a ballad that alludes to the Beatles’ “Yesterday,” was given a tender treatment. Tedder delivered the lyrically complex hit “Counting Stars” from a platform in the audience. Elevated by a nifty production and the communal joy radiating from fans, even lesser material like the dance-pop ditty “Kids” and the gentle affirmation “I Lived” were magnificent.
A couple of opening night imperfections didn’t spoil the fun. Tedder collided with a band mate during “All the Right Moves” and was once awkwardly stranded in the audience. Yet Friday’s show was so captivating that even the glitches were endearing.
OneRepublic setlist: Stop and Stare; Secrets; Kids; Good Life; Wherever I Go; Better; Feel Again; Halo; Happier; Come Home; I Lived; Let's Hurt Tonight; All the Right Moves; No Vacancy; Apologize; Rich Love; If I Lose Myself; Counting Stars; Rumour Has It; Love Runs Out