Pop-rock favorites OneRepublic delivered an amazing, 90-minute Yahoo Live set Sunday night at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, NJ, captivating both the in-house audience and online viewers with alternate renditions of some of their biggest hits and a few surprise offerings — including a new song for sci-fi film The Giver.
Here are some of the highlights:
1. OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder gives respect where it's due. Tedder isn't the first person in his family to use his gift with words to inspire an audience. During the group's performance Sunday, Tedder paid homage to his 86-year-old grandfather, who is a minister, performing "Preacher," a song he wrote about for OneRepublic's 2013 album Native. In the song, Tedder acknowledged the subject's wisdom, singing: "He said, 'God only helps those who learn to help themselves/He was a million miles from a million dollars/But you could never spend his wealth." Tedder is big on family. He also performed "I Lived," a song he wrote about his 4-year-old son.
2. Listen out for OneRepublic at a theater near you. Tedder confessed he's not big on writing songs about movies, but OneRepublic could not pass up an opportunity to pen something for the soundtrack for The Giver, the sci-fi thriller — out this week — based on the 1993 novel of the same name. They previewed "Ordinary Human," a track they've only played for an audience "three or four times." Said Tedder: "I knew the book growing up, read it. It was one of my favorites."
3. There won't be a need to apologize for this cover. OneRepublic had a couple surprises in store when performing their hit ballad "Apologize." Tedder opened the song with an acoustic piano arrangement before adding a cello accompaniment; the alternate version helped accentuate the meaningful lyrics about a relationship gone awry. Before finishing the song, Tedder made an unexpected transition into Sam Smith's heartbroken plea "Stay With Me." The segue was so effortless, some may have wondered if Tedder — who has penned power ballads for Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, and Leona Lewis — may have written this one as well. Although Tedder initially joked that he could take some credit for the song, he later acknowledged Smith: "Sam Smith did write that song. Have to give that man his props."
4. There's more than one star in OneRepublic. While Tedder may be the most recognized member in this group, the ensemble boasts tremendous talent. Lead guitarist Zach Filkins, who also plays viola, stunned the audience during an awe-inspiring intro for the band's "Counting Stars." Filkin nailed an intricate Spanish guitar melody and shifted gears to use his stringed instrument like a conga drum, creating a engaging rhythmic moment.