One Republic make light of UAE storms in great show at the Dubai Airshow Gala

The US band will return next year to headline the Dubai Jazz Festival

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 20 November 2019. One Republic before their show at the Coca Cola Arena for the Dubai Airshow Gala event. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Saeed Saeed. Section: National.

One Republic pulled out hits of their own, and of others, last night in a private Dubai show.

The US pop rock band were the music act of this year’s Dubai Air Show annual gala dinner, held at the Coca Cola Arena. In what has become one of the most sought after gala events of the year, the band join the likes of pop queens Jennifer Lopez and Katy Perry, who performed at the gala dinner in 2018 and 2017 respectively.

The show also fulfilled a twin purpose; it offered a solid preview of what One Republic has to offer when returning next year to headline the final night of the  Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival 2020 on Friday, February 28. Secondly, the Dubai stop was a forum to test drive some of the new songs, such as the singles Wanted and Rescue Me, set to feature in their upcoming fifth album, Human, out early next year.

"The cool thing about now, especially when you have a fan base, is that you drop a bunch of new songs way before you put out the album," front man and song-writer Ryan Tedder told The National backstage. "It is not the same plan that it used to be where you are committed to a time line and the songs are all planned and locked in. Now you can put something a few songs and see how people react to it and almost play it by ear."

One song that wont make the cut for the new album is the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi theme song Right Where I am Supposed to Be.

Co-written by Tedder and Grammy Award winner Greg Wells, the song was performed at the opening ceremony at Zayed Sports City Stadium in March by an international cast of pop stars such as Canada’s Avril Lavigne, Puerto Rico’s Luis Fonsi, the UAE’s very own Hussain Al Jassmi, Syrian diva Assala Nasri and Egypt’s Tamer Hosny.

“What was fun about that song was that I got to work with Greg Wells. He produced our first album and we are friends till this day,” he says. "The whole squad of people that they got together to sing it in Abu Dhabi was great as well. But, it is not the type of song that will appear in our album.”

With that said, we wrapped up the interview as the band prepared to take the stage. Here are few take aways from their show:

They are polished performers

Say what you will about their radio-friendly pop style, but One Republic are assured performers on stage.

That same effort that goes on in the studio to churn out those hits are applied to their live show. Everything is well calculated. From the lighting design to colourful visuals, the show is flawlessly executed to illicit the required thrills.

As a frontman, Tedder projects a casual and easy-going persona. There is no glamour or swagger to his performance. Wearing a shirt, baseball cap and jeans, his no frills approach is not a liability as it allows us to focus on his fantastic vocals. From pop crooning and disco falsetto to a rock snarl, Tedder's dexterity has always been the band’s secret weapon as it allowed them to score hits in various genres throughout their 18-year career.

A show packed with hits

A One Republic gig gives you the hits and more. With Tedder being one of the most successful pop songwriters of the last decade, expect to hear the band's hits Stop and Stare, Kids and Apologise played alongside tunes he composed for others.

It is a great move as it allows us to hear the song from a new perspective. The band injected a sturdy groove to Adele's Rumour Has It; while in Beyonce's Halo, Tedder gave it a gospel music vibe by stripped the anthem down to only piano and vocals.

Ryan Tedder comments on the UAE’s stormy weather

With a storm predicted in certain parts of the country last night, organisers successfully managed to move the gala dinner from its original outdoor venue of Skydive Dubai to the Coca-Cola Arena. Speaking about Dubai, Tedder expressed his admiration for the city's dynamism and preparedness.

“Since we came here almost 10 years ago, the city has grown so much bigger. It is impressive and it is amazing. But I know it is kind of a bummer because school got cancelled today because it might rain, which is amazing. But honest to God I was thankful for the weather. It was like nice and beautiful. Today was amazing,” he said.

Dubai Jazz Festival at Dubai Media City Amphitheatre Studio City runs from Wednesday, February 26 to Saturday February 28; prices begin from Dh350 for a regular single day ticket and Dh850 for three-day festival pass; www.dubaijazzfest.com