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REVIEW

OneRepublic live, and loved, in Manila

By: - Reporter
/ 08:27 PM November 17, 2013

American pop-rock group OneRepublic is best known for its breakout hit “Apologize,” originally released as a melodic, piano-driven tune in 2006, then remixed by record producer Timbaland into an R&B-flavored track for his 2007 album “Shock Value.”

A quick look at frontman Ryan Tedder’s discography would reveal, however, that the 34-year-old is one of the most prolific producers and songwriters in the world today.

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Tedder is credited as writer or producer—or both—of many pop hits, including Beyoncé’s “Halo,” Adele’s “Rumor Has It” and “Turning Tables,” and Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love.”

He penned “I Did It For You,” a track from Charice’s 2010 self-titled international album.

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Parachute

At a press con a few hours before the band’s concert at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Nov. 6, Tedder related that he had huge dreams for the band when he formed it 10 years ago with lead guitarist Zach Filkins. They churned out hits, played everywhere imaginable, the works. But he thought writing songs for other artists would be his “parachute.”

“We’ve always believed that we could be one of the biggest bands in the world… play in the Philippines, Moscow, South Africa, wherever sounds crazy. Everybody wants to do that. But the [chance] of that actually happening is one in a million. My backup plan was, ‘I’ll just write songs.” Now I’m doing both,” Tedder said.

Time management

OneRepublic—which has released three albums—will always be his top priority, but he doesn’t consider producing music for others a side job. “I’m a full-time record producer and also full-time with the band—there is no separation. We do the same number of shows in 12 months as any other touring band under our label (Interscope),” he said.

Juggling the two roles can be taxing, Tedder admitted, “But it all boils down to time management. I started to change my work ethic and used my free time to focus on writing for other artists. You just have to fight the urge to lie down in bed all day and do nothing. It’s about wanting to do it.”

Asked by the Inquirer if he preferred one to the other, Tedder said he would go nuts if he had to choose. “They’re both about music, but… it’s like [comparing] driving fast cars and eating ice cream.”

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Energized

The Big Dome gig was OneRepublic’s first in the country despite having toured extensively since 2007. The prospect of playing for fans in a city they had never been to was, Tedder said, “energizing.”  And the band walked the talk; the members—Tedder, Filkins, Drew Brown (rhythm guitar), Brent Kutzle (bass, cello) and Eddie Fisher (drums)—took the stage and conquered the young crowd.

A dead ringer for actor Giovanni Ribisi, Tedder emerged looking more like a video game geek than a band frontman. But then he started leaping across the stage and pumping his fists; hammering at the piano and spinning like a top. He was mighty energized, all right, regaling the crowd with 18 numbers, which included old and new hits like “Don’t Look Down,” “Light It Up,” “Stop and Stare,” “Counting Stars,” “All the Right Moves,” “Burning Bridges,” “Good Life”…

The music swelled and ebbed with thumping ditties made more powerful by the staccato of drums and trippy synths, and with anthemic rock ballads laced with poignant passages of cello and piano.

Most of the songs were catchy enough, even those less popular. Tedder’s sheer joy made the show enjoyable. His rendition of Ray Charles’ classic “I Got a Woman” and Kanye West’s “Gold Digger” elicited a booming roar of approval. So did his performance of “Apologize,” which he mashed with “We Found Love,” “Cry Me a River” and “Yellow.”

His recorded vocals are pretty straightforward. Live, Tedder was more audacious. He slid from pleading to piercing as he whimpered, warbled and growled. He would start a song with an aching falsetto, and end it with a sustained high note, almost a shriek.

Genuine

It’s not uncommon for foreign acts to heap the requisite praises on their host city. Tedder’s were genuine: He declared love for chicken and pork adobo and pancit canton, “the best noodle dish I’ve ever had.” He had taken the time to learn our history with Spain after noticing that most Filipinos had Spanish-sounding surnames. The “wonderful food” was balanced by “horrible traffic” said Tedder, who was quite the comic.

ONE REPUBLIC at the Big Dome. It was the band’s first time in the country.
Kris Rocha / courtesy of Midas Promotion

In the end the audience had endeared itself to OneRepublic as well, so much so that Tedder said that he wanted to come back next year and do two concerts. The band posted on its Twitter account after the show: “Manila!!! Our love for u just multiplied 100X.  The show was amazing, greatest crowd in ages!!! Will never forget.”

“OneRepublic: Live in Manila” was presented by Midas Promotions.

(E-mail apolicarpio@inquirer.com.ph)

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