By Poppy Tohill
Date / Venue: Saturday November 16th, Vector Arena, Auckland
The Vector Arena was definitely the place to be in Auckland on Saturday night, as hundreds of fans lining the streets waited with great anticipation for the doors of the Arena to open and pile in to prepare for what I would describe as one of the most spectacular concerts I have experienced this year.
The incredibly beautiful and bubbly New Zealand songstress, Ginny Blackmore with a backing band of six others, warmed up the crowd perfectly with a set that included her popular singles ‘Sing For Me,' ‘Bones' and an exceptional cover of Rihanna's song, ‘Stay.'
As for OneRepublic, Ryan Tedder is a complete and utter musical genius. That's simply all there is to it.
The band opened as giant silhouettes behind a white sheet, with their hit ‘Light It Up,' and from there they went on to do just that. As the sheet fell away mid song and smoke dramatically rocketed vertically from behind them, launching the already exhilarated audience into a fit of excitement and cheers.
The first half of the show was a mix of their older favourites such as ‘Secrets,' ‘All The Right Moves' and an excellent version of ‘Stop and Stare' which began and concluded with an acoustic intro/outro from Tedder, with an extremely impressive electric guitar solo from lead guitarist Zach Filkins midway through the song, which received a lot of applaud and ecstatic cheers from the energetic audience.
The audience erupted with excitement once Tedder explained, "New Zealand is honestly the best country on earth I have ever been too, and the world is a big place, so this is quite exciting...I just want to get an apartment and stay here for six months." The excitement continued well into their recent chart topper,‘Counting Stars' which called for more impressive strobe light action and rocketing showers of smoke as the entire arena echoed with fans voices as they sung a long to the hit single.
Bass player, Brent Kutzle exchanged the bass for the cello for the old favourite, ‘Apologize,' as Tedder playing the piano and singing, blended the popular tune into a mash-up medley consisting of Macklemore's, ‘Same Love', Rihanna's, ‘We Fould Love' and Coldplay's, ‘Yellow.' Concluding the mash-up by announcing "I've got ‘Royals' stuck in my head right now, it's so annoying. I almost sung it, but oh man, I should have..oh well, I'll do it next time! " As he broke into a fragment of the chorus as proof.
The bands set grew from strength to strength with crowd favourites ‘Something I Need' and ‘I Lived' providing as great sing-a-longs while Tedder interacted with fans high-fiving as many hands as possible. Another mash-up this time singing Ray Charles ‘I Got A Woman' and ‘Golddigger' also established itself as another ultimate crowd pleaser.
Concluding their set with a OneRepublic all time favourite, ‘Good Life' modifying the lyrics to "my friends in Auckland say hello" justified a favourite highlight to the hundreds of fans, who joined in chorusing and began stomping their feet and demanding an encore before the whole band had a chance to properly leave the stage. Not much encouragement was needed however, with one small microphone stand change before they took to the stage once more with an encore including ‘Feel Again,' Life in Colour' which Tedder reconstructed to include a verse of Australian Matt Corby's popular single, ‘Brother' as his microphone stand lit up into an impressive orange neon light. As more smoke rocketed out from behind the band, drawing the night to an end with the band's current lead single ‘If I Lose Myself' from their recent third album, ‘Native.'
Unsure of what to expect prior to this concert, I left totally reminded of why I once had a major crush on Ryan Tedder for two years. My love for OneRepublic has been completely re-discovered and I am confident in saying that if you miss seeing this band live in concert, it is something you will greatly regret, because they put on one mighty fine show.
Out of 5 stars? I would give them 5 million...