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Who needs One Direction? A better band thrills a sweaty, sellout crowd with real hits & ice buckets

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Ryan Tedder OneRepublic concert at Cynthia Mitchell Pavilion
OneRepublic lead singer Ryan Tedder. Photo by Jane Howze
OneRepublic concert at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
OneRepublic closed the 90-minute concert with "If I Lose Myself. Photo by Clifford Pugh
OneRepublic concert at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Confetti rained down at the end of the OneRepublic concert. Photo by Clifford Pugh
Ryan Tedder OneRepublic concert at Cynthia Mitchell Pavilion
OneRepublic concert at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
OneRepublic concert at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

While One Direction was thrilling tween girls and their parents at NRG Stadium Friday night, the real Ones were at work in The Woodlands with a sweaty parade of greatest hits and an Ice Bucket Challenge before an excited sellout crowd at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

OneRepublic, the five-member Colorado band that has become a Top 40 fixture, went at it for more than 90 minutes in front of an ecstatic audience that rarely sat down and often sang along to such hits as "Something I Need" and "All the Right Moves," encouraged by lead singer Ryan Tedder.

Wearing black jeans, T-shirt and a pork pie hat that he often removed and put back on, Tedder constantly bounded across the stage and even raced deep into the crowd, taking a camera with him to film audience members, with a seemingly endless supply of energy on the unusually humid night at the outdoor venue.

 Dripping in sweat, Tedder playfully poked fun at the weather, saying the band could have been performing in "cold Seattle" but preferred the the Houston weather. 

Tedder, an accomplished songwriter who has co-written and produced songs for Adele ("Rumor Has It"), Beyonce ("Halo") and Leona Lewis ("Bleeding Love"), alternated between high-energy hits like "Counting Stars" and " Love Runs Out" and soulful ballads like "Good Life" and "Preacher," which he explained was a tribute to his grandfather.  Midway into the show, Tedder sat at the piano and combined one of the band's first hits, "Apologize," with a cover of the Sam Smith hit, "Stay With Me," in one of the most moving moments.

The show opened as the band, in silhouette behind a white sheet, sang "Don't Look Down." Then the sheet disappeared as they launched into their parade of hits, starting with  "Light It Up" and "Secrets." Since OneRepublic has produced so many chart toppers in recent years (even if you don't know the titles, you've probably heard the tunes on movie trailers or Bud Light commercials) they didn't have to hold their top hits until the end as some bands do, but peppered them throughout the concert.

The audience — a mix of twentysomething couples, cougars who swayed to every song, and families with small children in the crowd — roared their approval throughout the evening.

Dripping in sweat, Tedder playfully poked fun at the weather, saying the band could have been performing in "cold Seattle" but preferred the the Houston climate. Then, before the band closed with "If I Lose Myself," he cooled off with the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Tedder paid tribute to a high school friend who was stricken with ALS and made an impassioned plea to the audience to take part in the challenge and raise money to fight the insidious disease. Then he and the other band members were doused with ice water. Afterwards, he said the band was donating $10,000 to combat ALS and challenged Vanilla Ice, the Queen of England and Coldplay to join him in the icy endeavor.

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