It’s a shame, really. A band like OneRepublic, who’ve been on the trot since 2002; who’ve watched their latest album, ‘Native’, sell over 800,000 copies in the US, can’t even half fill the 3Arena. How are they going to fill the vast space set before them?
Maybe the step up from the Olympia, where they played in March is too great on the basis of their Irish following.
First up though is Kongos, a South African band of brothers who’ve recently made the move to Arizona. Specialising in trippy rock, their sound is drenched in dark guitars, and is significantly heavier than OneRepublic’s. So far, so Kings Of Leon.
What starts out as a sprawling performance with little to no restraint is nicely hemmed in with tracks such as Come With Me Now and Escape.
Drummer and lead vocalist Jesse Kongos commands absolute attention, though accordion player Johnny is worthy of a mention also. Vocally and instrumentally, they impress, but the songs often lack structure; it seems that an amphitheatre the size of the 3Arena is a bit beyond Kongos at this stage in their career.
Queue an enormous curtain for OneRepublic, dropped effectively during ‘Native’ album track, Don’t Look Down, leading into Light It Up. Enormous silhouettes crowd the stage, as Ryan Tedder and crew provide a strong opening. Paring it down for Secrets, a track used on movie soundtracks since the year dot, Tedder restores some credibility to the track with stunning vocals and strings.
Beautiful ocean visuals accompany Tedder’s signature falsetto. It’s a night for incredible percussionists, as Eddie Fisher goes full throttle.
This is very much a production for OneRepublic. Clips of a children’s choir performing at Abbey Road are shown during All The Right Moves, while a glittering light show complements What You Wanted. The latter sees Tedder’s fellow band members offering some haunting backing vocals. The lesser known song is maximised with a broad array of instruments, including rolling beats, provided by two separate drumkits.
Stop And Stare is a great pop rock song lost in the mists of the noughties: the soft acoustic verses a perfect match for the expansive choruses. Tedder hits every note thrown at him – he is hugely charismatic, without being showy, as he saunters around the stage.
“We always end our tours in Dublin. They were our favourite shows. So we flipped it and said we’d do our favourite show first,” he tells a zealous crowd.
The curtain drops as set-up begins on a smaller stage in the centre of the arena. Light-bulbs hang down as the crowd rushes to surround Tedder. Their collaboration with Timbaland, Apologise, is made to sound even more intimate and lush with the setting. Tedder proves himself as an extremely talented pianist, before his bandmates rejoin him on stage.
The highlight of the night comes in the form of a Hozier cover. Take Me To Church is delivered aggressively with no holds barred, with Tedder tipping his hat to the Wicklow lad.
Zach Filkins is a credit to his band, cutting a strong figure on stage as he tears through the guitar with a Spanish inspired intro. Leading into Counting Stars, the band’s biggest track doesn’t begin as anthemic in a live scenario, but soon progresses into a rip-roaring monster. Preacher and Feel Again see Tedder entirely invested in the performance, with little to no crowd interaction.
Love Runs Out starts off the encore, a completely feral and wild track that sees Tedder losing all composure on the smaller stage. Louis Armstrong’s What A Wonderful World is done justice, with pristine vocals, leaving people on their feet. Closing with Alesso’s version of their track, If I Lose Myself, Tedder’s breathlessness is overlooked, as the stage erupts in sound.
The guitars blister, the vocals melt, as OneRepublic know they have a lot to prove. Yes, there is more to the OneRepublic machine than the guy who wrote Halo for Beyoncé. Yes, there is more to Ryan Tedder than all the people he’s written for. And yes, OneRepublic can deliver to an arena that’s only half full.