OneRepublic‘s big, sold out run at Red Rocks Amphitheatre isn’t over yet. As high winds carried Ryan Tedder‘s falsetto through the monoliths, it also carried a few bits of good news: The Colorado band has added a third Red Rocks night this summer on Sept. 1 and will also release a new video next week.
In a wind-swirled cloud of indigo smoke, OneRepublic took the stage at about 9:20 p.m. on Thursday and played until almost 11 p.m. As promised, OneRepublic brought a production-heavy set to the Rocks, complete with elaborate video, which helped pay homage to the band’s roots. On “Come Home,” huge screens lovingly displayed scenes from downtown Denver and on “Good Life” the hometown audience gave a passionate shout during the “Paris to China to Colorado” lyric.
Currently one of Colorado’s favorite musical sons, Tedder strutted his showmanship as he pranced with a mic, demonstrating his valley-wide vocal range. He strummed and spun with an acoustic guitar, rattled a tambourine and hammered the piano until after one song he rolled off his bench. At another point, he scaled the rock to the side of the stage. Tedder paused for a drink of water. “And by water,” he said, “I mean gin.”
The show mixed the Grammy-nominated band’s favorites such as “Stop and Stare,” “Secrets,” “Apologize,” “Preacher,” “Something I Need” and “I Lived,” which Tedder introduced as his “thesis on life.” The night hit its peak with its latest big hit, “Counting Stars.”
The set transitioned from sparkling pop to steamy flamenco guitar to elegant classical swaths featuring Tedder on piano accompanied by soulful cello. Tedder tossed in an impromptu chorus of Dave Matthews’ “Crash” and crooned a meandering cover of Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” as he did the previous night.
OneRepublic wound down with “If I Lose Myself,” animated by laser lights and clouds of fluttering confetti which winds blew all the way to the back rows of the amphitheater. And Tedder summed it up best himself: “This kicks so much ass,” he said.
Colleen Smith is a longtime contributor to The Denver Post and the author of the acclaimed novel “Glass Halo” and “Laid-Back Skier” by Friday Jones Publishing.
Lisa Higginbotham is a Denver photographer and a regular contributor to Reverb.