ONE REPUBLIC – Slovenia, Ljubljana, Dvorana Stožice, 16.11.2014.
I must admit that I never considered OneRepublic to be a teenage band, but more a chart topper sensation which held on surprisingly long. You don’t discuss different tastes, but this power pop-rock band performs something which is to me very much OK, because they remind me in various phases of P!nk and U2 and Muse (with their first album) and of many other things – it might be commercial (hyper commercial), but also with quality. It doesn’t have anything to do with alternative, but all of us who way that it cannot be OK at times are hypocrites.
Maybe the whole thing called OneRepublic would not hold such weight, except in dollar bills, because the band (more precisely, the lead man Ryan Tedder) is the owner of two of the most successful hits ever – if the mentioned Ryan Tedder is also not the author or the producer on the successes by other great stars as well, such as “Halo” from Beyonce or “Turning Tables” from Adele, to name at least two out of the sea of collaborations.
On top of that, he sings great, and when he hits falsetto (at the show, not in the studio) he holds the tone incredibly long and perfect. The band members are regular studio master musicians from which everyone plays several instruments and they’re not on stage to fill up the spave. They don’t dance or jump or try to seduce someone. Even Ryan, who plays less at the show, finds himself on every square inch of the stage and really gave his absolute best, singing-wise and heart-wise.
That being said, OneRepublic is no boy band, but still produced a mass hysteria in Slovenia and the surroundings, because their show was officially the only one sold out a week before the show, so count 12,000 souls which Dvorana Stožice in Ljubljana can hold.
The incredible atmosphere I haven’t seen so often, despite being on several hundreds of shows, was certainly wow, but still, the somewhat hastened statement by Ryan Tedder that he already knows that this show will be the best on the tour. It seems like a hyper cliché, but maybe it wasn’t, the man stuttered a bit, so maybe he really was surprised.
An utterly incredible madness was somewhere at the middle of the show, when the band went to the outer stage for the fan pit for a couple of songs before “Good Life”, when Ryan was given the Slovenian flag by someone, which he used as a prop a la Steven Tyler with great respect and wrapped the mic stand with it. He even knew that some Slovenian kid group covered “Good Life” – the man is certainly well informed.
Judging by the screaming of young girls, I would say I must’ve went to a One Direction and not OneRepublic show – but interestingly enough, there was a great number of “older” people too in the audience, including middle-aged couples, emphasis on no children. Not without reason, because in spite of everythinf, OneRepublic is a solid band, they don’t pretend to be dancing monkeys, even though the setlist is almost exclusively “greatest hits”: Good Life, All The Right Things, Apologize, Counting Stars, Secrets, Stop And Stare…. Even when they throw in someone else’s songs such as Budapest by George Ezra, Stay With Me by Sam Smith or the perfect evergreen for the end “What A Wonderful World” by the legendary Louis Armstronga, even those songs sound like they are naturally theirs.
I knew I was going to Ljubljana for a good show, but except the relative shortness (an hour and 40-ish minutes), the show still surprised me a lot, in a positive sense. Tedder is not nearly as charismatic or communicative as Buble, but he’s still, if not more, a respected musician.
OneRepublic didn’t disappoint anyone that evening. The show was full of events, great tunes, performances (perhaps the highlight of the show was the Spanish guitar instrumental, by the solo guitar player on a classic acoustic guitar as a long, incredibly subtle and surprising intro “Counting Stars”) if I, as the eternal grinch, didn’t need a longer show.
The real ace in the sleeve of OneRepublic is not the image of the band, but its work. Music. Playing and singing expertise. Also, respect towards the audience – at the end, on the last of many highlights of the evening, “Wonderful World”, Ryan promised to be back in Slovenia next year even, even though the shows in Serbia and Macedonia are the only ones planned for now.
Let’s see that too, but somehow I’m pretty sure that I will go to OneRepublic again next year, to those rare excellent shows which fill you up (with joy especially), even if they have the brand of “charter” and “commercial” in front of the name.
Report and photo: Anastazija Vržina