Reviews – Bruno Mars @ Rod Laver Arena 04/03/2014

This review was published on the AU review on 05/03/2014 and an be viewed here.

He croons and makes the ladies swoon, he can shred a guitar, he can bang out a beat on the drums, he’s sexy, and he’s one of the biggest artists in the world right now. His name is Bruno Mars and he has brought his animal prowess and an entourage to Melbourne as part of their 2014 Moonshine Jungle Tour.

In a recent article published by Billboard, statistics provided by Fox state that during his recent half-time performance with the Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Super Bowl the Hawaiian superstar garnered a record breaking 115.3 million viewers (nearly six times the population of Australia) surpassing the football game’s 111.5 million. This makes his performance the most watched program on US television history.

Supporting the gang was Miguel, a late-twenties Californian rocker. He was a great performer singing, dancing, doing the splits, and jumping off the little stage he was perched on knocking over the microphone stand multiple times and the crowd cheered for him a bit, however, whenever he wanted to the crowd to sing back at him the stadium was silent. Awkward much?

Miguel has recorded and performed duets with the likes of Janelle Monae, Mariah Carey and Australia's own Keith Urban
Miguel has recorded and performed duets with the likes of Janelle Monae, Mariah Carey and Australia’s own Keith Urban

The half hour between acts swooshed by quickly and before Mars and his crew were brought into our presence a black curtain with gold palm trees was draped in front of the stage.

A voice-over said, “Welcome to the Moonshine Jungle,” indicating to the sold-out audience that something big was about to happen and BOOM the curtain was gone and the guys, launched into “Moonshine” to kick off the one and a half hour extravaganza. The crowd was roaring.

Next up was “Natalie” followed on by a disco ball descending from the roof featuring light beams and spinning the crowd into a frenzy for the Motown-y “Treasure”.

Dancing crew - Photography by Lillian Altman
Dancing crew – Photography by Lillian Altman

By this stage nearly everybody in the audience, including those in the seats were up on their feet dancing and singing along.

The pop hits just kept on coming and a few covers were thrown in as well including Michael Jackson’s “Rock With You (who is evidently a huge influence on Mars dancing and vocal-wise) and “Shout.” As well as a money themed mash-up including his duet with Gym Class Heroes Travie McCoyBillionaire” minus the collaborator.

He also offered an insight into his mind by introducing a few songs. Before launching into “If I Knew” he said it’s his favourite song off the latest record (2012’s Unorthodox Jukebox) and before “When I Was Your Man” he said that it was his hardest song to write and sing. His crew, also known as the ‘Hooligans’,  left the stage for that track as he emotionally sung the track solo.

Being the cheeky bugger that he is, Mars joked around with the crowd that he and the guys had a bet going on about who could best sweep a lady off her feet. Bruno handpicked a young girl in the crowd – tonight it was Lisa – and serenaded her. The Hoolingans had their chance as well. Later on my friend was on the train with Lisa and she told her it was the best night of her life. Lisa’s friend added that it’s awesome because Lisa used to joke that one day Bruno Mars would serenade her. Well, Lisa, dreams really do come true. She was on the verge of tears during her special moment. Mars even threw in the Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, OI, OI, OI chant a couple of times and during “Lazy Song” he switched over the lyrics to ‘having Australian sex’ and even told one of his fellow musicians jump around the stage like a kangaroo!

Disco time - Photograph by Lillian Altman
Disco time – Photograph by Lillian Altman

Bruno dedicated the ‘last’ song of the show “Just The Way You Are” to the audience. He left the stage, they shouted for an encore and he returned behind the drum kit, just as he did in his Super Bowl performance, to finish off with “Locked Out Of Heaven.” As the song climaxed to the end golden confetti was shot out into the crowd. Most people probably didn’t even know he could play the drums before the Super Bowl performance and he didn’t disappoint tonight. His drumming solo was, by far, the highlight of the night.

The chemistry between the nine performers was phenomenal and you could tell that they all genuinely love to perform, especially together, as they danced around the stage in unison and interacted with the audience. Despite being such a big star, Mars seemed down to earth and the whole crew really showed that they love their fans through their interaction with each other and the crowd. He is a performer for all ages with many parents bringing their children along for the ride to Mars.

The man and his fans - Photograph by Lillian Altman
The man and his fans – Photograph by Lillian Altman

After the show I was walking home from the train station listening to Bruno Mars’s tracks on my iPod and it was the first time ever I found myself singing and dancing in the streets after I’ve been to a concert or festival.

Serenading Lisa - Photograph by Lillian Altman
Serenading Lisa – Photograph by Lillian Altman
Show off - Photograph by Lillian Altman
Show off – Photograph by Lillian Altman
Bruno's solo disco - Photograph by Lillian Altman
Bruno’s solo disco – Photograph by Lillian Altman

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