One Republic & KONGOS in Prague!

By Lesa Browning 

Prague!  Yes, you read that correctly, it said Prague, as in the Czech Republic, the country in Central Europe formerly known as Czechoslovakia – but not for over 20 years, for the THREE people so far who have asked me!

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I was lucky enough to travel to one of my all time favorite cities in the world, Prague, to visit some of my friends and while there we attended a few concerts.  I have been visiting the Czech Republic for about six years and have some dear friends that live there.  This was my twelfth visit to the country, my fifth time staying in Prague and my very first time enjoying the various music venues that this great city has to offer.  This whole idea of this ten day trip started when One Republic made their last tour through Prague and sold out so quickly that my friend Denisa was unable to get tickets.  (She is a HUGE fan) Denisa complained loudly when I posted photos with the band after they came to my home town, and I promised that when they returned to Prague, I would also return to Prague and we would find a way to get tickets come hell or high water….  Apparently, Ryan Tedder was serious when he said he loves Prague because he made not one stop but two stops in Prague in 2014 and my friend and I finally had a chance to make plans for a visit and trip to the O2 Arena.  So way back in May, we made plans for a mid November girls trip!

Now WHO did you say is opening on this European leg??

I am sure many of you are well aware that I have been a big cheer leader for the band KONGOS this entire year.  What can I say?  They are great and I sort of feel like I stumbled upon their music somewhat early in the game and it has been a lot of fun watching them gain momentum in the US. I am pretty sure these guys were at every festival I attended this year, then they announced they would be opening for One Republic in Europe!  Seriously, what are the odds? Trust me, I am not complaining.  Their music is amazing, they have phenomenal stage presence and I love introducing my friends to this fun family rock band!  I just never get tired of singing along and dancing like a crazy fool! I packed my KONGOS tee shirt to wear during their set …

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It was obvious that the crowd up front was here to see One Republic and were not all that interested in sharing my KONGOS love.  The four brothers, originally from South Africa, came on stage and gave a great performance. There was some initial murmuring among those around us and people started to come alive slowly.  Someone near me noticed the tee shirt and asked if I had seen them before.  I said that I had seen them a few times in the States.  The guy nodded appreciatively and said “they are really good!” By the time they played some of  their more recognizable hits like “Come With Me Now” and “I’m Only Joking” the crowd was pretty into it.  The KONGOS have a stage manager, MO Gordon, who is a long time friend that also does double duty when he comes out and preforms with the band.  Tonight he did a Beatles – Dr. Dre mash up that highlighted Danny Kongos and his guitar especially well.  It was really a lot of fun and the Czech crowd loved it. Hey, it was ALL a lot of fun!  There was no disappointment at all as the brothers proved they are indeed ready for the upcoming headliner tour they will embark on in 2015.  Dylan was all over the stage, shoeless as usual, playing his bass guitar while Czech girls went crazy. Jesse did that fantastic thing he always does on the drums while somehow managing to sing at the same time, sounding perfect and of course Johnny on the accordion is epic!

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The O2 Arena in Prague is HUGE!  18,000 people is the capacity, and it would be close to sold out on this night.  One Republic is wildly popular everywhere and it seems Central Europe is no exception. Before this 2014 European tour would end, the bands would make their way to 17 Countries playing in 23 venues. And 2015 will bring both a Canadian tour and a third European run for One Republic.

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Like the US tour, One Republic took to the stage behind a sheer white curtain in silhouette and then had the curtain ripped away. The stage was set simply and they used large video screens behind the band and to each side, making it easy to see the show from every seat in this very large arena. Throughout the night there would be lights and lasers that would transform to simple set into a serious feast for the eye. The O2 had two separate “general admission” areas set up and we were in the one closest to the stage.  This worked out well for us because they also had a long runway set up where the band would play for about 30 minutes towards the end of the show.  Ryan Tedder and the gang are a very energetic bunch.  They like to get the crowd dancing and jumping early on and then just never stop.  Tonight was no exception. The crowd was more than happy to sing and dance along to the very familiar songs.

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One Republic has released three studio albums, gaining success with each.  The latest, Native, was first released back in March of 2013.  Early releases from this album quickly became hits including “Feel Again,” “If I Lose Myself” and “Counting Stars” which were all preformed this night to a very appreciative crowd.  The band has toured the world very successfully multiple times in support of Native as well as the re-release of Native in April of 2014 that switched up the track list a bit, bringing the total count from twelve to fifteen. Other hit singles that had the fans cheering were “Something I Need,” “Love Runs Out,” ” I Lived” and “What You Wanted.” With seven legs of the tour, One Republic played a total of 185 shows in 2013 and 2014, making this the largest tour for  them to date. It has already been announced that there will be more Native Tour to come in 2015!

Fortunately for fans, Ryan Tedder announced the band is also working on the next album. Clearly, there is demand.

This was a great show!  I have seen One Republic several times and they are always good, but tonight they were filled with tremendous energy and seemed to be having a great time.  The fans were enjoying every minute of it.  It certainly felt like the familiarity of  the music, now that One Republic has been touring for quite some time on this album, has changed the atmosphere of the concert venue.  I attended one of the early shows when the album was first released and while it was also great, we the crowd were still a bit mesmerized by all Ryan Tedder was offering with this third collection of songs.  We were more tentative and waiting to see what would happen next. This time there was no reason to hesitate.  Everyone was on their feet, singing along without being asked, we were all old friends from the start. It just felt like one great big party.   A really fantastic sounding, rocked out party.

For more 2015 tour information for One Republic and KONGOS check out their individual websites and of course,  you can find them all over social media.

www.OneRepublic.com

www.KONGOS.com

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