The Hollywood Bowl is one of the largest and arguably most revered venues in all of Los Angeles. Artists dream of performing on the Bowl’s stage, nestled below the iconic Hollywood sign, and it has been a temporary home to some of the biggest musical legends and events in a city known for its vibrant music scene. A performance at the Bowl is the quintessential way an artist can say they have “arrived,” and last Thursday night, OneRepublic rose to the occasion with their Native Summer Tour.
OneRepublic’s meteoric rise to fame reached new heights as the sold-out crowd of nearly eighteen thousand fans cheered the band’s churning, crowd-pleasing opener “Light It Up.” Although I had seen them perform just last fall, the evening’s concert went above and beyond what I remembered from the Colorado-based group. Despite the massive size of the venue, their hook-infused, soaring pop hits “Secrets” and “All The Right Moves” captivated the audience from start to finish, in large part due to charismatic frontman Ryan Tedder.
Tedder demonstrated his impressive vocal ability and boundless energy with every song, taking liberties with melodies and performing vocal runs that had the audience entranced. He beamed after “What You Wanted,” explaining to the crowd, “We used to rehearse a mile from the Bowl. It’s the last venue we had left to play in Hollywood, so tonight is a night seven years in the making. Thank you for being a part of it.”
He then implored the audience to lend a hand with gang vocals during “Something I Need,” the “perfect date song” (deemed such by, appropriately, my date). The personal ballads “Preacher” and “Come Home” showed the emotional range of OneRepublic’s discography, and even the slower songs were filled with a passionate energy, as “Stop and Stare” culminated in vocal acrobatics that had the audience bursting into awed applause.
With a quiet, concentrated confidence, Tedder took to his red-lit piano alongside cellist Brent Kutzle, who added a dramatic layer of strings, to perform OneRepublic’s breakout song “Apologize” (briefly slipping into a playful cover of Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy” mid-song). A jaw-dropping Spanish guitar medley followed, expertly performed by guitarist Zach Filkins, who looped synthesizers, layered riffs, and turned his guitar into a percussion instrument.
The performance prompted Tedder to thank Filkins for “five minutes of badass-ness” before catapulting the band into the mega hit “Counting Stars.” As if the crowd wasn’t already being treated to pop-rock perfection, surprise guest Gavin DeGraw joined the group onstage to lend his velvety-smooth vocals to the party.
After a string of uplifting tracks including “Feel Again,” the celebratory “Good Life,” and positive anthem “I Lived,” Tedder thanked the audience again before performing one more cover song, Louis Armstrong’s “Wonderful World.” The larger-than-life show culminated under the starry, Southern California sky with the dreamy “If I Lose Myself,” a perfect ending to a monumental chapter for OneRepublic in what will surely be a long and storied career. It is hard to believe they will be able to top their Hollywood Bowl performance, but having witnessed their talent and passion firsthand, I have no doubt they will find a way.
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