OneRepublic Delight Jones Beach, NY 7-29-17 w/ Fitz and The Tantrums & James Arthur

Working with talented musicians since back in 2001, the Honda Civic Tour returns in 2017 with a fantastic lineup led by OneRepublic with support from Fitz and The Tantrums and James Arthur. The now summer tradition, over the past 16 years the tour has seen everyone from Blink-182, to Linkin Park, to Demi Lovato, and One Direction fill the bill. Now the 2017 Honda Civic Tour has three engine-revving acts that are not only engaging and entertaining but leave you feeling all good inside. Launching back on July 7th, the tour runs all the way through mid September, and on the mild Saturday evening of July 29th, it made a pitstop at Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh, New York for a relaxing night of music on the Long Island shoreline. 

First up was English Singer-Songwriter James Arthur. Now at 29 years of age, Arthur has already attained 2 gold-selling albums, including his latest, Back from the Edge, and continues to win over the hearts of listeners in the North American market. Initially earning attention as a contestant on The X Factor in 2012, Arthur is a musician with a list of influences, but all of which come together to build his own unique style. 

Kicking off with plenty of daylight on his side, Arthur captured the attention of early arrivers at the theater. He pulled at the heartstrings of the females present while the guys wished that they were him, as his powerful voice had their ladies hanging onto his every word. A matter of fact, Arthur had them practically eating out of his hand as he candidly shared his experiences and love of performing.

As Arthur sat on a stool, he related some anecdotes with the audience and played such songs including “Can I Be Him,” one which probably put the imagination of females into hyperdrive. Then he dove into “I Am” before following with a rendition of “Impossible” as a tribute to Shontelle. Keeping it going, he crooned “Into You/Ignition,” and it would not be shocking if a few hearts stopped before being shocked back to life by Arthur’s passionate delivery before he closed out with “Say You Won’t Let Go.” Thankfully there were staff at the ready to fend off any entreaties from overzealous fans, but through it all, James Arthur proved he is definitely a voice to be heard.

 Next up was the party-inspiring band Fitz and The Tantrums. Initially coming together out in Los Angeles, California in 2008, the band has risen to great heights thanks to their irresistible music, mixing Alternative Rock, New Wave, Dance, and Pop all together. First picking up steam with 2010’s Pickin’ Up the Pieces, 2013’s More Than Just a Dream continued the upward climb, and their 2016 self-titled album has been a homerun.

Still riding high off the success of their latest album, the band recently dropped a brand new non-album single entitled “Fool” and they were ready to bring it to Jones Beach. Wasting no time, they were enthusiastic while an easy camaraderie was seen amongst the band members as they offered the crowds a piece of their soul. Led by Vocalists Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs, their band of James King (Saxophone and Flute), Joseph Karnes (Bass), Jeremy Ruzumna (Keyboard), and John Wicks (Drums) offered plenty of color to the pallet of tracks offered. They belted out lyrics with abandon fueled by the audience’s response to the buffet of favorite tunes such as “Fools Gold,” “Burn it Down,” and “Roll Up.”

Showing no signs of fatigue, they then swept the crowd into a dreamsicle rendition of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” before diving into the angst drive “Out of My League.” Then, as soon as the boisterous “HandClap” was introduced, the entire crowd joined in clapping at the requisite points in this lively piece. It was here the band shook up the stage with cool dance gyrations that would probably take a few days to master for the uninitiated. Finally, last but not least, was “The Walker” concluding a short but all so sweet set.

By the end, the crowd had warmed up to Fitz and The Tantrums, going completely wild, wanting more. Here is a perfect example of physics concept in practical application – if you happen to add heat to the molecules they will increase their kinetic energy and their movement will reflect this! Lots of kinetic vibrations were evident. Those endorphins that were released during the set gave the crowd the gumption to stand up and pump their fists in the air as a symbol of happiness. For those who still have never heard of Fitz and The Tantrums, check them out, their overt enthusiasm is infectious, they keep the crowd standing, and their skills of showmanship are worth checking out. 

Following the equally fun sets of James Arthur as well as Fitz and The Tantrums, the main entrée would be OneRepublic. An exceptional Alternative Rock band from Colorado, OneRepublic have come a long way over the past 15 years. Like most, they began as an unsigned act, and since 2007 have pumped out 4 chart-topping albums via Mosley Music Group/Interscope Records. Their music is so well known, chances are that nearly anyone who has turned on the radio will recognize one of their hit singles immediately.  

All this in mind, there was no mistaking the admiration and effusive regard the crowd had for OneRepublic. In fact, as soon as the band sauntered onstage the facial expressions on many concertgoers faces resembled the emoji with a wide smile and hearts for eyes. Yes, it was that obvious that the crowd was bitten by the OneRepublic bug. Thank goodness for small favors, there was no incident of exsanguination or a need for an Epi-pen. However, smelling salts were at the ready just in case some fans were weak kneed and about to buckle. All kidding aside, band leaders Ryan Tedder (vocals) and Zach Filkins (guitar), along with Drew Brown (guitar), Brent Kutzle (bass/cellist), and Eddie Fisher (drums) officially arrived, the eardrums registered squeals of delight that sounded as if they were magnified 100-fold from every sector of the venue. 

Equally talented as they are beloved, they began with fan-favorite “Stop and Stare.” A strong opening, they then eased into “Secrets,” “Kids,” followed by “Good Life.” Riding the energy of the audience, “Wherever I Go” and “Better” were served up next, acting as an musical therapeutic form of anxiety release. Gifting the track “Feel Again,” soon after, Tedder sat behind a piano for a beautiful cover of Beyonce’s “Halo.” Guaranteed, somewhere there was a glass shattered in a zillion pieces when he hit those high notes! Difficult to top, the following rushed on like the speed of water traipsing down a steep waterfall when Tedder remained behind the piano for Ed Sheeran’s “Happier.”

Returning to the full band format, “Come Home” was quite poignant since it deals with a friend who was deployed and how life is lived in the absence of a loved one. A feeling many can relate to, they kept spirits high for “I Lived” and another crowd favorite, “All the Right Moves.” It was like a jukebox of hits as “Let’s Hurt Tonight” came next, but the true showstopper was the absolutely breathtaking guitar solo from Filkins as he plucked a Spanish Medley that had the females in the house reach into their heart sac to retrieve their hearts in hand. It was as if the guitarist was serenading each and every single female present. Thereafter, when the introduction of “Apologize” began, people rose from their seat to all sway along to the music. Becoming more like karaoke, the band loved the response from the audience, thus inspiring them to go over the top with their own performance on the track.  

Already offering a very complete set, “Something I Need,” “Rich Love,” “If I Lose Myself,” and “Counting Stars” would have literally ended it all on a high note. Yet still, there was more as they went into a cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It,” but this time bringing out Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs of Fitz and The Tantrums for a duet. Having everyone screaming in excitement, it all came to a dramatic closing when they bid Jones Beach farewell with “Love Runs Out.” 

Dare it be said, with Tedder’s powerful pipes, glasses shattered somewhere in another dimension. Stilling going strong, the thrill of OneRepublic has not faded in the slightest and will continue to shine for a long time. A memorable concert experience, going to see OneRepublic is an investment that is certainly worth your while, so get out and experience it firsthand now.  

Photo credit: Stephanie Pearl Photography 

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