OneRepublic Live in Manila

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Some people believe that flattery will get you nowhere – clearly, front man Ryan Tedder and the rest of American pop rock band, OneRepublic weren’t one of them. During their almost two-hour show at SMART Araneta Coliseum in Manila, they’ve buttered their Filipino fans with compliments, promises, and heartfelt gratitude – and we lapped it all up like preschoolers waiting for our gold stars.

It’s the band’s first time in the country even after they’ve released 3 successful albums and toured extensively in the US and Europe. OneRepublic has always been a hit with the Filipinos; ever since we heard “Apologize”, “Stop and Stare” and “Secrets”, we seem to have collectively decided that they are worth seeing live. So when they finally announced their arrival, it wasn’t much of a surprise that a loud crowd welcomed the Colorado natives.

The night started with a curtain covering the stage. The band made their entrance with the instrumental “Don’t Look Down” followed by “Light It Up”. They were concealed for most of the time, but during the last minute of the latter, we’ve come to the revelation: all five members of OneRepublic on the stage. The evening progressed with more of their previous hits like “Secrets” and “All The Right Moves” while they squeeze in Native tracks like “What You Wanted” and current chart topper, “Counting Stars”.

Mid-show became experimental with the band doing a mashup of Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River”, Rihanna’s “We Found Love” and Coldplay’s “Yellow” with their very own “Apologize”. Ryan tested the Filipino’s musical abilities, letting the audience carry on with the Rihanna tune as he sings the other parts – later on praising our musicality and tempo, even likening us to a choir. Then he surprised the crowd by covering Kanye West’s “Gold Digger”, allowing the crowd to join in with his singing.

While the first half of the night has been sufficiently energetic, some parts felt like we – performer and audience alike – were testing the waters, until we finally found middle ground: “Marching On” is when everything felt fluid and instinctively right. We were all where we’re supposed to be, and no place else. The feeling stretched on until they performed their last song “Good Life”, tastefully mixed with M83’s “Midnight City” to give the familiar tune a good kick.

Leaving the crowd with a promise of coming back and maybe doing a two-night show, they performed two encore tracks, “Feel Again” and “If I Lose Myself”. A blast of confetti surged through the stage and to the crowd before we all satisfyingly bid each other good night. A while later, the band posted this:

orFlattery, on the contrary, will get you anywhere.

This post is originally published in Music Weekly Asia.

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