The Ogden Theatre hosted the biggest names in Colorado music and entertainment on Thursday for the Denver Acoustic Christmas. The man responsible for bringing together members of OneRepublic, the Fray, Dispatch, Bop Skizzum, Flobots, DeVotchKa and Matt Morris was Ryan Tedder, the Grammy-nominated producer and OneRepublic frontman — who can successfully add philanthropist and concert producer to his resume.
Thanks to Tedder’s efforts, nearly $100,000 was raised for the Children’s Hospital, the Food Bank of the Rockies and the Denver Santa Claus Shop. In addition to funds raised via merchandise sales and donations, AEG auctioned four all-access laminates for the 2012 concert season that contributed $22,000 to the total.
Hosted by 9News personality Kirk Montgomery, the evening had an intimate and organic feel. Set against a backdrop of a Christmas tree, white lights and candles, the show was simple and included beautifully executed performances of some of the most famous songs to come out of the Mile High City.
Every song was memorable, from Matt Morris’ cover of “Imagine,” which he sang for the very first time at the Ogden, to the collaboration of “Handlebars” by Bop Skizzum and members of Flobots and DeVotchKa. There was also a last-minute acoustic number from Brad Corrigan of Dispatch and a version of “Silent Night” by OneRepublic that evoked the holiday spirit.
“Bop Skizzum and I felt truly honored to be included in this night of amazing music and bands from the 303,” Andrew “Andy Rok” Guerrero said after his performance. “It’s nice to know that even as bands like OneRepublic and the Fray get bigger and start garnering national attention, they still manage to keep that sense of a music community that is one of the strongest in the country! Also, I’m really proud to be from the state of Denver!”
(One of the ongoing jokes all night was that Isaac Slade of the Fray accidentally gave praise to the “state of Denver” during his set. Of course Tedder made sure to give him a hard time for it later.)
The set that really reinforced the uniqueness of last night’s show was from the Fray’s Isaac Slade and Joe King — fresh off a plane from New York after performing on “The Today Show” that morning. The duo performed “You Found Me,” which Slade wrote just a few blocks away from the Ogden, along with “The Christmas Song” and “How to Save a Life,” which Slade sang solo, unplugged and with no microphone. When Slade asked the completely silent crowd to sing with him on the final chorus he prompted one of the most memorable live concert moments of the year.
The headlining performance by OneRepublic was everything you’d expect from the Grammy-nominated band. Accompanied by a full string section, fans were treated to every hit single in OneRepublic’s catalog, including “Good Life,” which evoked a huge response from the crowd during the shout out to Colorado in the lyrics. Tedder also performed a cover of Adele’s “Turning Tables,” which he co-wrote.
OneRepublic brought all the night’s performers back onto the stage for a finale of “Jingle Bells” (which nobody knew the lyrics to) that included a cameo from Governor John Hickenlooper and one final gesture from Tedder. And yes, he Tebowed.
Paige Montgomery is a Denver-based freelance writer. Check out more of her work on
Seth McConnell is a member of YourHub at The Denver Post and a new contributor to Reverb.