OneRepublic front man Ryan Tedder has come a long way since his days of writing bad checks to fill his fridge.
On Tuesday, Tedder and the members of the Colorado-based OneRepublic headlined an all-ages concert at the Ogden Theatre to celebrate the inauguration of Governor John Hickenlooper. The show culminated a day-long run of inaugural festivities across Denver.
Packing the venue were liberal legislators, mayoral candidates and paunchy, would-be crowd surfers. Two fun seekers tried their luck at a stage dive –- both failed miserably, but chuckled their way back into the audience.
Tickets were steep. For $75, gubernatorial gig-goers were offered an open bar, several complimentary gifts and a chance to see the new governor introduce the evening’s performances alongside AEG’s Chuck Morris. “You are in for a treat tonight!” Hickenlooper said excitedly. He went on to cite the state as a “capitol of creativity.”
In quintessential Hickenlooper style, Tuesday’s lineup included all local acts. Destinee Reed, 15, the “My Colorado” student contest winner, started the show off with her song “My Colorado” –- a stately acoustic number in homage to her home state. The young, sultry-voiced songwriter pulled at the patriotic heart-strings of the crowd.
Following Reed, special guests DeVotchKa, the alternative and highly experimental Hickenlooper favorite, personified creativity and diversity with their Spanish-western mix that emanated from an indescribable junkyard of instruments on the stage.
In between songs, DeVotchKa lead singer and guitarist Nick Urata swilled wine from the bottle and congratulated the new governor, standing in the doorway at the back of the stage, for his new gig. The crowd cheered wildly at every mention of Hickenlooper throughout the night.
After a 45 minute set, OneRepublic –- the night’s headliner –- usurped the stage and proved for the mob of music and political aficionados why the band has opened for U2 all around the globe.
Tedder, a powerful, high-note-hitting tenor who has worked with the likes of Jennifer Lopez and was, for a while, a protégé of hip-hop producer Timbaland, energetically dashed across the stage and at one point just missed colliding into his keyboard rig. He simply smiled and kept on with his chest-head-voice smooth transitions.
During the latter part of OneRepublic’s stellar performance, the band fused new hits with old favorites –- surely playing to the eclectic demographic of the crowd –- and offered its own rendition of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth.”
The band closed out the evening with several radio hits including “Secrets,” and to the clamor of screaming fans, “Apologize.” If rock ‘n’ roll Governor Hickenlooper’s ability to pick out a musical lineup is a testament to his judgment, I for one am eager to see what he has up his sleeve for the next four years.
Simon Moya-Smith is a Denver writer and a new contributor to Reverb.
Joe McCabe is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb. Check out his website.