Review: OneRepublic at Riverbend

Photo by Pizella Photography

OneRepublic headlines the 16th installment of the Honda Civic Tour along with relative newcomer James Arthur, and Fitz and the Tantrums. The Tour made its fourth stop at Riverbend on an absolutely dreadful day. Luckily for all in attendance, the torrential rain moved out and a hot, steamy night ensued several hours before the gates opened.

Before starting, I have to admit that I am an unabashed Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic fan and have been since discovering their first album, Dreaming Out Loud, which was released in 2007, but I did not become aware of until 2008. Aside from fronting OneRepublic, Tedder is one of the most prolific song writers of the last decade writing hit songs for the likes of Beyonce, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, and Ellie Goulding to name a few. As OneRepublic, Tedder and the five member group continue to put out positive, uplifting, and thoughtful songs that stand out in stark contrast from the majority of the “music” that is out there today. Additionally, Tedder’s vocal range, musical acumen, and the band’s ability to embrace different types of musical genres make it hard not to be a fan in my opinion.

Leading off the show, the band tested their fans knowledge of their musical catalog by playing 3 of the first 4 songs off of the aforementioned Dreaming Out Loud, as well as their second album, Waking Up, from 2009. After finishing “Feel Again” off of 2014’s Native, Tedder explained to the audience that Ohio holds a special place in his heart because Miami University in Oxford (although Tedder mistakenly called it the “University of Miami”) was the band’s first stop ten years ago on their first tour outside of the state of California. Tedder recalled how cool the town of Oxford was and said he still remembers that night vividly.

Following the nostalgic moment, Tedder introduced himself to those members of the crowd who did not know about his “second job,” as he called it, as a song writer. And because the Tour was still in its infancy, Tedder said that they were experimenting with new things, and specifically with doing songs he had written for other people. With Tedder on piano and Brent Kutzle on the cello, the two played a soaring rendition of “Halo” that Tedder wrote for Beyonce. They followed that with “Happier,” a song Tedder wrote with and for Ed Sheeran.

Returning to their own songs for the second half of the show, the band equally covered songs from all 4 of their albums, including newer hits “Let’s Hurt Tonight” and “Future Looks Good” off of 2016’s Oh My My, but got the biggest applause when they played the song that first introduced us to OneRepublic: “Apologize.”  They ended the night with the Alesso version of their song “If I Lose Myself,” which is an EDM enhanced version of the original and electrified the crowd and led to one of the loudest calls for an encore I’ve ever experienced. The guys quickly obliged with “Counting Stars,” and then brought out both James Arthur and Fitz and the Tantrums to help in singing “Rumor Has It” by Adele, which was one of the night’s most pleasant surprises. As with all good things, the night had to come to an end, and so it did with the playing of “Love Runs Out.” This was OneRepublic’s first stop in Cincinnati in nearly 3 years, and based upon crowd response let’s hope it doesn’t take that long for them to come back again.