Live Review and Photos by Danielle Boise
It was a perfect evening at Chastain Park Amphitheatre, with temperatures in the low 70s and a crisp breeze in the air when Serena Ryder and Mayer Hawthorne opened for OneRepublic on Thursday, Aug.15 in Atlanta for a night filled with memorable moments.
Singer-songwriter, Serena Ryder vivaciously performed songs off her latest album, Get Harmony. Mayer Hawthorne came out with an 80’s pop flair sensibility and performed songs off his recently release album, Where Does This Door Go.
With a white curtain placed in front of the stage, OneRepublic started the night behind the fabric screen, as shadow imagery of the band appeared for the first song, “Light It Up,” with a building frenzy of anticipation from the crowd. About three quarters of the way through the song, the veil was pulled, leveeing the crowd with the dramatic reveal as screams echoed through the Amphitheatre.
“This is the first time we have done a proper show in Atlanta in four years, in a venue like this,” said lead singer Ryan Tedder. And a proper show is what OneRepublic not only set out to do, but executed perfectly. It was a great balance between the intimacy of a smaller venue, as Tedder shared background stories of creating the songs and what they meant to the band with the crowd, to a big show production with a light show.
OneRepublic performed next “Secrets,” “What You Wanted,” “Stop and Stare,” and “Spanish Guitar Medley” before asking Serena Ryder to return to the stage to add a beautiful take to “Counting Stars.” The entire venue erupted into spontaneous screams and shouts as OneRepublic started the “Apologize/We Found Love” mash-up. It was wonderful to be swept up in the energy of the fans, as they sang along word for word to each song, as it meant the world to them, to dancing in the isles.
“I have a choice every night how I am going to end that song every night in every city. I can it the Nat King Cole way… but I asked myself, am I in a Nat King Cole mood or am I in a Sammy Hagar mood… I went with Sammy tonight.”
Before going into “Come Home,” Tedder explained that after a few weeks of laminating on this thought, the song was formed about a buddy going off to war. “This next song is about a buddy who got sent off to war and became engaged before. All I could think about was just come home. That’s all I would be.”
Tedder opened up and talked about his childhood, how growing up his grandfather was a preacher and prayed for him every day (and still does), and that in 85 years of life, he has been true to himself, which was the inspiration behind the gospel-esque “Preacher” off OneRepublic’s latest release, Natives.
OneRepublic switched gears once again and performed the R&B, soul “I Gotta Woman/Gold Digger” Kanye West cover, before going into “Can’t Stop.” It was fantastic to see the range that OneRepublic was able to show. Going from pop rock to R&B to soul, blues, Gospel – all while staying true to themselves. It was not like they couldn’t find their sound or a signature, rather it was as if music as a whole was embraced and held close to themselves.
“I wrote this song for my son. I hope this plays at my funeral and that someone sings it better than I do,” Tedder said going into “I Lived,” which is a beautiful, spiritual tribute about living your life.
“Three or four years ago, we were about to finish up our second record. We went to London, got record strings and booked Abby Road Studios, where The Beatles did all their stuff. We had the best 48 hours to date. I was in London, down the street from Piccadilly, with pics on my phone that I had no idea how they got there, phone numbers and address from people I still don’t know. So if you think we are making it up, we’re not,” Tedder said going into “Good Life/Midnight City.”
OneRepublic rounded the night out with “Feel Again,” “Life In Color,” and ended the night with “If I Lost Myself.”
It was truly one of the best shows I have seen this year. For me, what makes a show is the interaction with between artist and fan, and OneRepublic created an intimacy by sharing bits and pieces of themselves in an honest and palpable way that didn’t feel unauthentic or staged, but from the heart.
Full Photo Gallery of Serena Ryder
Full Photo Gallery of Mayer Hawthorne
Full Photo Gallery of OneRepublic