It’s not often that a support act could take the place of the main draw as far as a music performance is concerned. However, last night’s iTunes Festival saw two bands just as big as each other fight for dominance.
With many concertgoers overheard saying things like, “I don’t understand why they would be supporting these guys,” and, “It makes absolutely no sense why they’re on so early,” it was obvious that many people were in debate over the matter.
The support act that they were speaking of was Colorado band OneRepublic. Known globally for their record breaking smash ‘Apologize’, the group, headed by singer/ songwriter Ryan Tedder, are one of those collectives that live come across just as good, if not better, than their studio recorded albums. Last night was no exception.
On stage early, the 19:30 start threw a lot of fans off. With many still queuing outside, a few were stood at the auditorium bar, and the seats upstairs appeared as empty as an outdoor swimming pool during winter. No matter. Even with a semi packed audience Tedder and OneRepublic put on one hell of a show.
Running through hits such as ‘Stop and Stare’, the original version of ‘Apologize’, and ‘Everybody Loves Me’, the performance was what every performance should be - energetic, passionate, interactive. The key to the success of the show was Tedder’s charismatic charm. With everything from playing a piano on his knees to hurling his guitar from one end of the stage to the other for someone to catch, as well as switching instruments and jumping upfront with the crowd, nobody performs with as much love for their craft as Tedder does.
Offering the first ever international play of their new single ‘Feel Again’, which is an uptempo, instrumentally-driven song with drum breaks, hand claps, and beautiful vocals, fans were excited to witness this. Then with another new cut, ‘Life in Color’, the band’s set came to a close.
With everything mentioned above, Matchbox Twenty had a lot to live up to. Having not played in the UK for a very long time, lead singer Rob Thomas let the crowd know that something special was about to go down - “We didn’t come to London not to play. You know what I mean?” The second his sentence ended the screaming female fans took over the building’s acoustics for a brief moment.
Suited and booted, Thomas has always had a way with the ladies. Last night however saw a mixed audience in attendance patiently waiting to hear form their favourite band, who, while formed in 1995, have been on two hiatuses resulting in only having five albums
to their name. Then again, when you’ve had a Diamond selling album you’re not exactly struggling for songs to ignite the crowd with.
While not quite as energetic as Ryan Tedder before him, Thomas’ stage presence was one more of slow motion. Constantly playing with the mic stand, his sex appeal seemed enough for fans. Opening with ‘Parade’, taken from the band’s new album North, the warm up had begun.
Taking it back, fan favourites ‘3AM’ and ‘Real World’ blew things out of the water as far as fan excitement goes. Thomas’ constant, “How you feeling?” questions were met with huge roars time after time after time.
Slower moments, that included ‘If You’re Gone’ and ‘Overjoyed’, were met with focus and emotional shrieks. Pushing the emotional envelope just that bit further, Matchbox Twenty’s on stage delivery, combined with the Roundhouse’s crisp and faultless sound system, made ‘The Difference’ one of the night’s stand out moments, along with the evening’s closer, ‘Push’.
Not using the large jumbo screens made things feel a little smaller than they needed to, and not in an intimate manner either, but the night seemed to be one of warm feel-good music delivered from both bands with lyrics reigning supreme. Rob Thomas and Ryan Tedder just go to show that songwriters can still touch the hearts and minds of people from all walks of life, and that live music doesn’t need to be accompanied by a mammoth MC Hammer sized dance troop to be a hit.