Review: Bayou Music Center presents OneRepublic, Sara Bareilles

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The Bayou Music Center hosted American rock band OneRepublic’s concert on Friday. Songwriter and singer Sara Bareilles opened for the band, and the crowd was entranced by the moving performance. | Cara Smith/The Daily Cougar

OneRepublic and Sara Bareilles dominated at the Bayou Music Center with near-perfect vocals, lights and energy on Friday evening.

It’s worth noting that Sara Bareilles was an incredible opening act for the band. Playing as an opener and full-fledged tour partner, Bareilles brought more charisma and life into an opening act than I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. She was a firecracker — both artistically and in audience interactions.

When OneRepublic took to the stage, they brought with them a sense of ominous spirituality. They interacted with the audience, showing fully their eagerness to be perfoming in Houston. Ryan Tedder, the band’s lead vocalist, exuded a humility. The bandmates have also spoken openly about their Christian faith; one of the most popular tracks on their latest release, “Native,” is a track entitled “Preacher.”

When the band opened with “Light It Up,” a rousing rock track highlighted by a killer underlying guitar riff, they performed most of the song behind a white sheet draped across the stage. The audience was basically watching the band’s shadow perform, and OneRepublic utilized the Bayou Center’s light and stage effects in a way that distorted and alternated focus between each of the members’ larger-than-life shadows.

All in all, OneRepublic brought the “it” factor to Houston, and they brought it big time. The show felt less like a concert and more like an active art performance. The musicians are profound musical talents, but they also utilized abstract concepts like color, shadow and visual imagery in a way unlike their industry peers.

The band performed their older singles, including “All the Right Places” and “Secrets,” with the same vigor and excitement. The bandmates also created a rap-rock rendition of Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” which sent their fans over the edge of sanity and into complete euphoria.

During the band’s performance of the single that got them on the map, “Apologize,” Tedder poured himself into his performance. He draped himself over a grand piano that was glowing red.  The band gorgeously integrated Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” into the rendition.

The stage effects of the show were incredible and mirrored the robust energy that the band brought. The show was built mostly upon tracks from “Native,” which was an awesome reminder of how far the band has come since their Top 40 start.

In 2007, OneRepublic released their debut album, “Dreaming Out Loud,” which featured one of the year’s most popular tracks, “Apologize.” Rapper and producer Timbaland got the band noticed by remixing the track. Over the years, though, OneRepublic has proven themselves to be a band that’s full of artistic innovation. Their songs, as seen in “I Lived” and “Feel Again,” have had an intrinsic positivity in an industry of sex-obsessed, morally questionable music.

Clearly, these guys knew how to keep a crowd on their toes and off their phones.

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