Pop rock group OneRepublic has come quite a long way since its initial formation 16 years ago. Over the course of now 16 years in existence, this Colorado-based band has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and in the process, has gone on to become one of the most popular acts in the world, garnering millions of records and tickets sold. The band’s fame is certain to grow even more next Friday when its new live recording Live in South Africa is released in stores and online. Originally recorded June 19, 2015 at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa, this 18-song, roughly 90-minute performance is one that will easily appeal to every one of the band’s fans, regardless of their familiarity with the band. That is due in no small part to the concert’s set list, which will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance will definitely do just as much to make the concert enjoyable to fans. It will be discussed later. The bonus material included with the recording also plays into that appeal. It will also be discussed later. Each element is important in its own right as will be discussed in this analysis. All things considered, they make the recording, again, one that will appeal to every one of OneRepublic’s fans.
Live in South Africa, OneRepublic’s latest (and second) live recording, is a presentation that is certain to appeal to every one of the band’s fans. For that matter, it is a work that is likely to keep this superstar act’s fame rise even more upon its release. That is due in no small part to the concert’s 18-song, roughly 90-minute body. Originally recorded June 19, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa as part of the band’s “Native” tour, the set list lifts very liberally from the band’s 2013 album Native. More specifically, 12 of that record’s 13 total songs are included in this set list while the band’s 2007 debut album Dreaming Out Loud only gets two nods. Waking Up, the band’s 2009 sophomore album gets three nods. The 18th song is the band’s cover of Louis Armstrong’s timeless classic ‘Wonderful World.’ Given, it would have been nice to have seen more balance between the band’s then three albums. But the band cannot be faulted for trying to put as much attention as possible on its then most recent album. That is especially the case since the band’s breakthrough hit ‘Apologize’ (from the band’s debut album) is included here along with three other hit singles from the band’s sophomore record. To that end, the band is to be commended for giving audiences music from the early portion of its life while also pushing forward with such a heavy representation of its then most recent album.
While the set list is important because of the album representation, that is only one part of what makes the set list important. The actual ordering of the songs is just as important to its whole as the songs themselves. The balance of energy from one song to the next is impressive, smoothly moving up and down from one song to the next. The almost ethereal feel of the concert’s opener ‘Don’t Look Down’ is so powerful in its own right. In the same breath, the controlled, yet driving energy of its follow-up, ‘Light It Up’ makes for a solid transition that easily keeps audiences engaged and entertained. The more reserved energy of the concert’s third entry, ‘Secrets’ makes for another strong change that keeps the set list moving fluidly and interestingly, too. This is just the beginning of the varying energies exhibited throughout the set list. It rises and falls just as smoothly throughout the rest of the concert, ensuring just as much, audiences’ engagement. When this obviously well-thought out organization is considered alongside the thought put into the concert’s very set list, it becomes clear why the concert’s st list plays so strongly into making this concert appealing for OneRepublic’s fans. It is only one part of what makes the recording in whole so appealing for fans. The band’s performance of said set list is also key to the concert’s appeal.
As already noted, the fluidity of the energies in this concert’s set list are pivotal to its overall presentation. That is because of how much they do collectively for the concert’s viewing experience. On a directly related note, the band’s performance plays hand in hand with those energies. Front man Ryan Tedder easily keeps audiences engaged as he makes his way around the stage and even into the crowd at one point while his band mates — drummer Eddie Fisher, guitarists Zach Filkins and Drew Brown, and bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle — keep the energy moving with their own performances. Fisher’s time keeping is spotless throughout the show, keeping the band in time with ease while Filkins and Brown put on their own displays of talent. At one point, audiences even get an extended, awe-inspiring flamenco performance from one of the pair. Kutzle’s work on the cello adds so much emotion whenever it is added to the songs, making them that much more engaging and entertaining. When each man’s part is joined with those of his band mates, the end result is a performance from all involved that will certainly entertain audiences. It is not the last of the recording’s most vital elements either. The bonus material included with the recording’s home release is important in its own way, too.
The bonus material included in Live in South Africa’s presentation is so important because it truly is bonus material. the half-hour mini-documentary ‘Don’t Look Down’ takes audiences all the way back to the bands earliest roots. Those roots reach back to Tedder’s youth in Oklahoma and include winning a singing contest on MTV’s Total Request Live, the band being dropped from Columbia Records and rising from those ashes to be signed to a new deal that has gone on to help make the band a superstar act. Simply put, the documentary that comes with this recording presents OneRepublic as the proverbial “working man” band made up of everyday people who worked hard and persevered through so many ups and downs to get where they are today. It creates a whole new appreciation for the band that again, audiences overall will appreciate. The bonus performance of the song ‘Wherever I Go’ from Sydney, Australia adds even more enjoyment, though the documentary is really the key bonus included here. The history that it provides audiences, again, generates a new appreciation for the band. When that new appreciation is considered along with the concert’s Native-rich set list and the band’s performance thereof, the whole of the recording proves to be a work that OneRepublics fans in South Africa and other parts of the world will appreciate. It will be available next Friday, February 23 in stores and online. More information on Live in South Africa is available online now along with all of OneRepublic’s latest news and more at:
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