Photo: Fitz and the Tantrums by Ashley Szanter
The night started out a bit…weird. Usana was covered a haze of wildfire smoke and SLC’s famous air pollution and the parking lot seemed relatively empty for an hour before the show. Upon entering the Usana amphitheatre, the weirdness seemed to escalate. The tour did not allow for a pit (an anomaly for most rock/pop shows), photo passes only let you as far as the sound booth and the bands requested that all bottled water be emptied into cups as bottles and caps were not allowed into the area. If you had asked me before the music started, I would have said it wasn’t off to a great start.
Enter James Arthur. The former X Factor UK winner took the the stage with little introduction and jumped right into his set. Most know Arthur for his radio hit “Say You Won’t Let Go,” but he played several other much more upbeat hits before closing out his set with the well known tune. Many in the audience seemed excited for Arthur and OneRepublic–as shown by the stream of social media posts projected on the stage screen before and in between sets.
But I was there for Fitz and the Tantrums who did not disappoint. The high energy band came out to the stage with a bang and rocked through a set of their upbeat repertoire, including a cover of the Eurythmics hit “Sweet Dreams,” making sure to perform hits “HandClap,” “The Walker,” and newly released single “Fool.” They had the 15,000 person crowd on their feet for the vast majority of their set. The band let everyone know they’ve been touring nonstop for 9 years–an impressive feat for even the most world famous band. Hopefully, they make it back through Utah again. I’d highly recommend this band for anyone looking for a fun, high energy performance.
OneRepublic, the Honda Civic Tour’s headliner, had a tough act to follow in Fitz and the Tantrums, but the set list included mega-hits “Secrets,” “Feel Again” and “Counting Stars.” But then, lead singer Ryan Tedder revealed he has written several hits for other famous performers like Adele, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. He said he always felt uncomfortable playing these songs before, but not anymore, and proceeded to play Beyoncé’s “Halo” for the roaring crowd.
The rest of the night followed in suit with OneRepublic playing many of their old hits for a highly nostalgic crowd. All in all, the Honda Civic Tour, even with its between set commericals and obvious capitalist desires, was a resounding success.