The little blond toddler streaking away from his mother, light-up sneakers illuminating his path, was the first indication Tuesday's OneRepublic show had a different vibe to it.
Upon catching up with the precocious tot just past the bar, his mom scooped him up and lugged him, giggling, back to the lawn. Toddlers on the lawn are a rarity at the typical Darien Lake summer concert, but on this night, the grass resembled a suburban park more than a concert venue.
Excess children aside, OneRepublic came to rock for its adult fans, and to that end, they didn't disappoint, delivering a rousing set with a mix of music from each of the band's four studio albums as well as some well-received covers.
The show Tuesday at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center was the latest stop for OneRepublic as it headlines the 2017 Honda Civic Tour.
From the outset, Ryan Tedder and Co. delivered a high-energy, no frills night of music. Opening at the piano, Tedder dove into "Stop and Stare," from the band's 2007 debut album, "Dreaming Out Loud."
Set to a unique backdrop of triangular screens and plenty of neon, lasers and strobes, OneRepublic served up every song their hardcore fans came to expect, including "Feel Again," "Kids," and a up-tempo rendition of "Good Life," in which Tedder made the obligatory rocker move of subbing in the touring city in place of an original lyric (in this case, Buffalo over Colorado).
Tedder, who has had a well-documented struggle with anxiety, offered up the most heartfelt moment of the evening when he sang, "Better," a song he prefaced with a mass dedication, telling the crowd, "if you've ever battled anxiety, my friend, this is for you."
Dressed in black, sporting a white tee and a fedora, Tedder stole this show with his amped-up persona and majestic voice. But make no mistake about it, OneRepublic is more than just a front man with a voice (and a knack for penning hit songs). The quality of the music might surprise you were it your first time hearing them live.
Nowhere was that more evident than in "Secrets," from the band's 2009 album, "Waking Up." It was, arguably the song that received the biggest reaction from the crowd all night.
Mid-show, Tedder slowed things down and took to the piano to share a few songs he has written for and with other artists. From Beyonce's "Halo," to Ed Sheeran's "Happier," it showcased the multi-talented Tedder, and his range as an artist, musician and writer.
British singer-songwriter James Arthur, best known for his stint on reality television, where he took home the top prize on "The X Factor" in 2012, opened with a 30-minute set that saw the crowd more energized than one might expect before the sun goes down, punctuated by perhaps his best-known song, "Say You Won't Let Go," with a fair chunk of the crowd joining in on the chorus.
As summer concerts go, and particularly those held at Darien Lake, OneRepublic offered a mellow, almost family-friendly affair, credited in part to the far-from capacity crowd, evidenced by the virtual pasture of green grass in the lawn seating that was largely devoid of concertgoers.
Attendance aside, on an evening where the temperature dipped into the 50s, OneRepublic made up for it by delivering plenty of heat from the stage.
OneRepublic with James Arthur and Fitz and the Tantrums
Tuesday night in Darien Lake Performing Arts Center