You may remember a couple weeks ago, the interview I did with lead guitarist Zach Filkins of OneRepublic. You probably remember them from their hit song Apologize from their debut album, Dreaming Out Loud. Currently, Zach and crew are on tour with Matchbox 20 singer-gone-solo, Rob Thomas. Before his single that he did with Carlos Santana; Smooth, I had never rally followed the solo career of the man. But before I get to the main dish, let’s talk about the appetizer. The opening was band known as Carolina Liar; a group that I had never heard of, but quickly learned to like. Stage swagger mixed with talent mixed with the amazing acoustics and sound system of the Gibson Amphitheater.

I had never heard of them before, but like the name suggests, the band is actually from South Carolina. Truth be told, only one member is actually from Carolina though, with the rest of its members originating from Sweden…so I guess the name fits. And as for sound, the band is exactly what I figured something from Carolina would sound like. Clad in a great southern getup, the band sounded like a fun, pop country meets alt rock. They played a short set before OneRepublic took the stage.

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Now’s where the real fun began. Apparently someone dropped the ball on getting us the full scoop on the press passes and photo pass. What they REALLY meant, was that Mama Blanco and I would get random tickets (albeit great seats anyway), and HALF the photo pass. The manager for the venue didn’t want me to shoot, and claimed I wasn’t on her list, but eventually let me in. She even told me that I probably wasn’t going to get to shoot OneRepublic (whom I was there to shoot), because she had to take her sweet time to get the paperwork for me to shoot. And yes, I realize she could have gotten them later, but breaking my balls is in season as of late.

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After missing the first song (of the three we are allowed to shoot) I finally got to get into the action for some amazing photos. Lead singer Ryan Tedder was all over the place, singing his heart out. And say what you want about the Kelly Clarkson/Beyonce drama over whose pop song sounds like the other, but this boy can sing his heart out. He had some of the most soulful chords I’ve heard in quite some time.

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I also got up close with Zach Filkins to snap him shredding the place to pieces. After the first three songs it was time to head back up to my seat. Of course I had to check my camera in, but I swiftly went back and got my camera, as I’m more than there to “take pictures and leave”. Besides, the stage manager was so rude, why not stick it to them. This is Behind the Hype, and that’s just what we do. Hell, my creds even said Rob Thomas on it, so who was going to say anything?

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Anywho, OneRepublic killed it with their new hit All the Right Moves from their upcoming album Waking Up. Since I heard the Timbaland version of Apologize, I’ve been a fan of the band, but seeing them live took it to a new level of respect and appreciation. Plus, with Timbaland working with them, I’m more than confident I’ll be blown away on the new album’s November 17th release date.

The main act took the stage after a short intermission, and the crowd lit up with roars that made it impossible not to feel the energy and smile. I don’t know any Rob Thomas songs, but I wish I did, because the man and his band were incredible live. I sometimes worry about going to a show were I don’t know anything about who I’m seeing, especially on a big stage. But this was the kind of music where you will be made a fan by night’s end.

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Thomas even took breaks in between songs to explain them, and tell background stories in his life. Turns out he’s really funny, and even dropped a few curse words here and there. He played an array of songs, spanning his two solo album’s complete with a broken down, two part version of Smooth. I heard rumors that Santana appeared to play the song at previous shows, but alas, we were not so lucky.

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The night went off without a major hitch, and Mama Blanco and I had a smash of a time grooving to the tunes of the evening. Big up to Chad at Total Assault for getting me set up on this venture, and I can’t wait for the next one!

Until next time my friends,

~Flak