OneRepublic showcases the power of song at KAABOO

Ryan Tedder of the band OneRepublic performs at the Sunset Cliffs stage at KAABOO Del Mar on Sept. 14, 2019.
(K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Ryan Tedder-led sextet gracefully highlighted their already wildly successful career — one that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down — with a perfectly varied set.

There are artists who play their set and others who curate it. Pop superstars OneRepublic definitely fell into the latter category during their time on the Sunset Cliffs stage at KAABOO Del Mar on Saturday night.

As the sun sank into the Pacific behind them, the Ryan Tedder-led sextet gracefully highlighted their already wildly successful career — one that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down — with a perfectly varied set.

Last week, OneRepublic and Tedder wrapped up the first season finale of NBC’s televised songwriting competition “Songland” by recording winner JT Roach’s song, “Somebody To Love.” (Tedder is also a producer and host on the show.)

The brand new track went to the top spot on the U.S. iTunes chart just two days later.

And while OneRepublic’s appearance at KAABOO on Saturday was only 24 hours after the new song accomplished that feat, of course the band included it in their hour-long performance.

That wasn’t the only surprise of the night from the band. Tedder made sure to keep fans guessing throughout the show. He was also a gracious and incredibly funny host, giving many of the songs his band played a quick backstory before launching into them.

He also took the time to just tell a few jokes.

“We’re OneRepublic,” he said early on to the massive crowd assembled at KAABOO’s main stage. “Thank you for being here. Given the size of this crowd, I’m sure at least five or six of you thought, ‘What the hell? One Direction is playing today? That’s amazing.’ But we are the older, more handsome ones. You’re welcome.”

The singer had a bit of fun with fans in the luxury areas directly in front of the stage as well.

“I’m not sure if I believe in reincarnation,” Tedder said during one break. “But if reincarnation exists, I want to come back as these people right here in the front.”

Tedder’s fast and loose demeanor only added to the hit-packed setlist that covered the band’s 13-year career, as well as his own as a songwriter.

OneRepublic’s front man is a three-time Grammy winner for his work on songs by both Adele and Taylor Swift. But he has also penned hits for the likes of Paul McCartney, U2, Maroon 5, Pink, Ed Sheeran, Backstreet Boys and a host of others.

So while requisite OneRepublic staples like “Good Life,” “Stop and Stare” and “Apologize” were included, it was the chance to hear the band play hits from other major artists that provided the most interesting moments.

At one point, and without naming her, Tedder told the story of a singer that contacted him after hearing the deep cut “Come Home” from OneRepublic’s 2007 debut album, “Dreaming Out Loud,” saying she wanted a song “like that one.”

“I wrote the opposite of that song,” he then told the crowd, “and I handed it in assuming it was going to be a hard pass. I didn’t hear anything for a month, but then she recorded it. And now it’s one of my favorite things ever.”

The band then launched into their version of Beyoncé’s “Halo,” a song that most of the crowd recognized instantly.

They followed it with another one that Tedder wrote for Ms. Knowles, “XO,” again not mentioning the queen of pop by name.

Instead, the bandleader chose to focus on talking about the importance of songs, as well as repeatedly mentioning that many of the biggest artists in history had others create their signature tunes.

Tedder also had plenty of nice things to say about KAABOO.

“This festival is unbelievable, right?,” he said toward the end of the set. “Round of applause for KAABOO. You couldn’t pick a better location geographically if you dropped a pin and consulted with the weather channel. This is the best location to have a festival in North America — and I’ve played a lot of them. This is like if Coachella had air-conditioning.”

The night came to a close with a double dose of happiness for OneRepublic fans. First, Tedder assured the audience that despite a few years off from making albums, a new one, as well as an official North American tour, was coming shortly.

The band then sent everyone into a massive sing-along with their colossal hit, “Counting Stars,” as they walked off stage.

OneRepublic set list at KAABOO 2019


Stop and Stare

Good Life

Love Runs Out

Rescue Me

Sucker (Jonas Brothers)

Somebody To Love


Halo (Beyoncé)

XO (Beyoncé)


I Lived


Counting Stars

McDonald is a freelance writer.