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Live Review: OneRepublic – 14th June 2023 – OVO Wembley Area, London, UK

5 min read
Ryan Tedder and his powerful @OneRepublic bandmates make a very welcome return to London as they sell out an impressive @OVOArena show while @Harry_Styles plays next door! Counting 5 Stars here! @1Runited

Summer is finally with us and with it has come one of the best seasonal line-up of shows that we can remember. Within the illustrious programme of world-renowned masters of music comes If I Lose Myself hitmakers OneRepublic who, fronted by one of the most successful songwriters of recent years, Ryan Tedder, are back in the UK to promote most recent album, Human which was put out during the lockdown years. But, as Tedder explained to the crowd last night, it wasn’t just about new songs but a chance for fans to hear the hits and a celebration of both the bands hit peppered career as well as that of the talented front man who has penned hits for some of music’s most successful acts including Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis and Beyonce, to name just a few.

As the sun blazed down over the capital, Wembley was a buzzing suburb in London last night as music lovers took to the area for two giant shows taking place in the revamped music and shopping quarter. While 90,000 fans filled Wembley Stadium to see pop superstar Harry Style for one of 4 shows by the former One Directioner, 12,500 of us set our sights on the smaller sister venue – OVO Arena – to catch OneRepublic’s return to London; although I’m sure every other person there was like me and praying the event would end before Styles’ so we didn’t get caught in the chaos of 102,000 punters trying to get a tube home from Wembley Park at the same time.

I can’t remember the last time I attended such a packed event at Wembley Arena. While it’s characteristics these days are more matched to that if an aging airplane hangar than a world-renowned concert space, fans filled every inch of the arena; security regularly providing water to the claustrophobia-inducing floor standing section to avoid anyone passing out in the ready high temperatures within the venue. Though that was always destined to happen as we watched 3 people being carried out by their friends to security from either dehydration of being crushed in the crowd.

Emerging to a deafening response from fans at a little after 9pm, the band took their positions while charismatic and highly energetic frontman Tedder leapt to the front to kick off the show with Secrets and the summery Good Life; the first taster of the powerful set of career gold for fans that helped propel the entire show with word for word backing vocals as the bleached-blonde-haired singer who looked every bit the Californian beach boy smiled back in appreciation.

“If we play in London we want to play within 25 hours of Harry Styles in a stadium next door”; Tedder told the crowd as he described their comical decision making process behind playing London on the same night as the One Direction superstar. “That’s when we know we are good because we can still sell out this show” – the crowd erupting with laughter before taking us through a stellar performance of one of the bands biggest and earliest hits, Stop and Stare. The bands offering of breakthrough hit, Apologize was one of the obvious highlights – both due to the weight of the song within the bands career but also because of the astounding vocal skill of the bands eccentric leading man. The mammoth staple of any OneRepublic show sat confidently back to back with one of their most recent hits, I Ain’t Worried, which was used in the latest Top Gun sequel; parts of the film serving as a backdrop to Tedder’s bouncing around the Wembley stage.

The set was structured perfectly with nods to most albums within the OneRepublic discography and came with a filling of Tedder written numbers that have been number one hits herte in the UK for some of the worlds most successful music acts. Starting out on the first few solo on stage with his piano, Tedder offered up powerful performances, along with in-depth stories behind some of the pennings and collaborations of songs that he has offered to other artists including Beyonce’s Halo, Adele’s Rumour Has It, Ellie Goulding’s Burn (with a congratulatory shout-out to her and Calvin Harris’ current multi-week number one with Miracles) and Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love; the later being his first massive solo writing hit outside of the band.

While anyone could label his namedropping braggy or arrogant, for someone with more #1 hits and megastar collaborations than most, it was something well worth celebrating, and as he played through some of those golden credits you could hear the odd “seriously? He wrote that?” whispered within the crowd.

The last time we caught OneRepublic was in Sydney when the band toured Australia as part of their Native tour so we were particularly happy to take in the string of Native hits that were placed within the meaty seat of career notables; Love Runs Out providing the venue with one of its most punch numbers with the band utilizing every instrument to their fullest effect, including a two-man string section that complimented every numbers performance. I Lived carried its sentimental backstory of Tedder’s desire to write a song about his then-1 year old son and closing mega-hits Counting Stars and If I Lose Myself reminded us why that particular record found its way so deep into our hearts; both hook-filled and performed with such vitality.

We adored OneRepubic way back on 13th November 2013 in Sydney when we first saw them play live and seeing them again last night at the famous Wembley Arena just reminded us why they are still such a loved outfit the world over. And on top of that, we dodged the outpouring of Harry Styles fans from next door and got home as a fairly reasonable time – pretty impressive!

Setlist:
Secrets
Good Life
Stop and Stare
Rescue Me
Love Runs Out
Halo / Bleeding Love / Ghost / Burn / 10:35 / Rumour Has It / Sucker
Runaway
I Ain’t Worried
Apologize
Life in Color
I Lived
Counting Stars
If I Lose Myself