Lights and shadows danced across a white curtain screen as American rockers, One Republic, performed their gravelly anthem, Light It Up, from the group's latest album, Native. The band returned to play Auckland's Vector Arena, after having not visited our shores since 2008, when they played the Powerstation.
The five piece, lead by front man Ryan Tedder, pulled out well known pop-rock hits like All The Right Moves and Secrets, often trading guitars for violins and cellos, adding a richer sound to their melodies. Tedder worked the crowd with his stunning tenor voice, getting everyone singing along.
It wasn't just their music that amazed. It was obvious that a lot of thought had been put into the production of their live show, which isn't always the case for most rock bands. The lighting and effects became as much apart of the performance as the music. Details like the glowing piano that changed colour during Apologise's lyric "I loved you with a fire red / now it's turning blue" were perfect.
Those weren't the only tricks One Republic had in store, Apologise morphed into a mash-up of Macklemore's Same Love, We Found Love by Rihanna and Coldplay's Yellow. Afterwards Tedder mentioned he was tempted to do the same with Lorde's Royals, singing a few lines of the no.1 song before revealing the hit had been stuck in his head all day, much to the delight of fans.
Guitarist, Zach Filkins, stole the spotlight with an impressive spanish guitar solo, before going into the up-beat folk-pop Counting Stars, which has been the band's most successful single from Native and also marks a change in sound for the group.
One Republic clearly like to keep things interesting by reworking the songs they perform in their live shows. Their treatment of Good Life, one of their most popular songs, is an impeccable example. It started out as a soft acoustic version, with nothing more than Tedder's crooning atop the sound a xylophone and the strum of his guitar, before turning deliciously dark and gritty as a sample of M83's synth dream-pop song, Midnight City, was brought into the mix under the band's distorted riffs.
After two encore songs the night concluded with Lose Myself, which had everyone on their feet, dancing to the electro-driven pop. One Republic's ability to pull influences into their music from all kinds of genres - dance, hip-hop, acoustic, R&B, rock and pop - helps to keep their live performances fresh and exciting.
Hopefully fans won't have to wait another five years for One Republic to rock the country again.
Who: One Republic
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: November 16