One Republic: Living the ‘Good Life’ in Tel Aviv

US pop rock band plays first-ever Israel concert to 20,000 fans, slams BDS efforts by other artists.

ONE REPUBLIC appears on a red carpet in Canada last year (photo credit: REUTERS)
ONE REPUBLIC appears on a red carpet in Canada last year
(photo credit: REUTERS)
OneRepublic, the US pop rock band responsible for a slew of No. 1 hits, played its first-ever Israeli concert in Tel Aviv on Thursday night to 20,000 adoring fans – and vowed it wouldn’t be their last.
Front man and songwriter Ryan Tedder kept the crowd dancing to the group’s infectious music – and applauding his support for the Jewish state.
“I know a lot of acts cancel on you and I think it’s kind of bullshit,” he said to a resounding cheer at Hayarkon Park. “I don’t know if it’s the way we were raised, but we don’t take sides.
We just love people.”
The rest of the show – with band mates Brent Kutzle, Eddie Fisher, Drew Brown and Zach Filkins – was devoted to the Colorado- based group’s impressive array of hits, like “Apologize,” “Counting Stars,” “All the Right Moves” and “Stop and Stare.”
It was clear from their first moment on stage that they came here to perform – and to give it their all. They played cello, Spanish guitar, violin and of course piano, drums, bass and everything in between. At times they moved closer to the audience, and Tedder regularly reached out into the crowd as he sang, always to cheers of delight.
When they performed their smash hit “Good Life,” the screen interspersed shots of cities around the world with video of Tel Aviv – from the beach to the Carmel Market and Rabin Square, before displaying a huge Israeli flag. Even the lyrics got a personalized touch, becoming “My friends in LA they don’t know/ Where I’ve been for past few years or so/ From Paris to China to Israel.”
Tedder echoed the feeling of most in the crowd when he thanked God “for the weather cooling off a little.”
The band also played some of their lesser known songs, like “Preacher,” “Au Revoir” and “Can’t Stop” – and die-hard fans were still singing along to every word. Mixing things up a little, they threw in a few covers as well, including “Budapest” by George Ezra and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
While a legion of screaming fans turned out just like they did for the Backstreet Boys a week earlier, OneRepublic proved that they’re no boy band – they have the musical and vocal chops to impress all ages.
The members of the band landed in Israel late on Sunday night, four days ahead of their show, to spend time touring the country, they said. They met up with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, toured the Old City of Jaffa and visited the Sea of Galilee.
They even paid a surprise visit to the soldiers manning an Iron Dome anti-rocket battery near Ashkelon, telling then they feel safer in Israel than anywhere else in the world.
In an interview with the Voice of Israel radio station ahead of the show, Brown was asked if he was contacted by Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, who has publicly pressured other artists to not perform in Israel.
“I’m grateful he didn’t call me,” Brown said. “Although I really would’ve liked to give him a piece of my mind.”
The entire band seemed to be thankful for the opportunity to tour and perform in Israel, and Tedder was able to offer up some of the classic Hebrew phrases visitors learn, including “Ma nishma?” (What’s up?) and “Shalom Tel Aviv.”
“Layla tov” (Good night) he said as they exited the stage.
“See you next time.”