Erik Kabik / ErikKabik.com
Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015 | 6:36 p.m.
A crowd of ordinary people from across the United States got more than an ordinary — albeit abbreviated — and intimate concert Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq Promenade.
Grammy winners John Legend and OneRepublic each performed sets for 500 people flown into Las Vegas for the private concert, guests at iHeart Radio Network’s Ultimate Valentine’s Escape, along with listeners on a live broadcast to more than 100 stations on iHeart’s network.
First up was Legend, the 10-time Grammy-winning, piano-playing singer-songwriter and Las Vegas regular. Smartly dressed in a white suit jacket, black T-shirt and tuxedo pants, Legend opened his set with a rendition of “Tonight (Best You Ever Had).”
Teasing at least half his live audience, the effusively smiling Legend looked out to the audience from his piano each time he sang the verse, “I don’t want to brag, but I’ll be the best you ever had.”
The 36-year-old continued with a sing-along, “Used to Love U,” a stripped-and-slow version of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” a second sing-along in “Green Light” and “Ordinary People.”
Legend, who at Smith Center and Cosmopolitan concerts last year was full of stories but let his songs do most of the talking Saturday night, finished with his signature “All of Me,” which he wrote for his then-fiancee, supermodel Chrissy Teigen, and released in 2013. The adoring audience joined in singing with Legend for a third time — a cappella at times — throughout the ballad.
And just 30 minutes after he took the Brooklyn Bowl stage, Legend was finished, departing for Los Angeles, where Common and he will perform “Glory,” nominated as Best Original Song from the film “Selma,” at tonight’s Academy Awards.
Twenty minutes later, members of the Colorado-based OneRepublic began their set in a spirited version of the hit “Secrets.” Next up, led off with a soulful acoustic guitar introduction by lead singer Ryan Tedder, was “Stop and Stare.”
The band then rocked its current hit, “I Lived,” which Tedder wrote for his son Copeland. The duo of Tedder, now playing an upright piano, and cellist Brent Kutzle then performed “Apologize” highlighted by an interlude paying homage to recent Grammy winner Sam Smith and his Song of the Year, “Stay With Me.”
After a brief intro by guitarist Zach Filkins, Tedder and the rest of the band returned to the stage for two more songs. The first was “Counting Stars,” which Tedder opened by asking the audience for a show of hands of who had won money and who had lost money during their trip to Las Vegas.
He announced the results as “about 51 percent losing and 49 percent winning,” then said on his last trip to Las Vegas, in late 2014, he took a “$400 or $500” hit at the blackjack tables before turning to a “Wheel of Fortune” slot machine, where “literally three minutes in, and I won $1,500.” The slot win, he said, paid for the leather jacket he wore onstage Saturday.
OneRepublic ended its set with a rousing version of “Till the Love Runs Out” that had Tedder singing and moving all over the stage and ending with his leap from atop the upright piano.
All totaled, the sets by Legend and OneRepublic combined for just 70 minutes of live music, but their performances were more than enough to keep the audience members clapping, dancing and singing along to the combined 14-song setlist.
And it sent them back to their hometowns having experienced the Grammy-winning musicians in intimate settings as few others can.
Robin Leach of “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous” fame has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past 15 years giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
The jubilant John Taylor is the copy chief of the Las Vegas Sun.