Review: Bruno Mars, Melbourne 2014
Bruno Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour looks set to continue Australia’s love affair with the Grammy-award winning artist, with his Rod Laver Arena concert a complete triumph.
An electro-pop eruption signalled the arrival of support act Miguel. Interest throughout the crowd fluctuated due to largely incomprehensible vocals, an animated performance entirely necessary to win people back. Strangely, for all his split-legged poses and pelvic thrusts, Miguel left the stage during the best part of his own set: an expert guitar solo more suited to a Guns N’ Roses show. A performance of ‘#Beautiful’ led to a nice change of pace, accounting for the lone highlight in a satisfactory set.
Hysteria roared throughout the arena upon the reveal of Bruno Mars, flanked by an eight-piece ensemble. Though the concert delivered upon the expectations of a flashy stadium show, with large-scale lighting effects and pyrotechnics playing their part, Mars’ entourage assumed a much more significant role in making it an unforgettable spectacle. The brass section boasted impeccable cohesion, complete with exhaustive choreography. The performers were busy the entire time, busting moves, sweet-talking the audience and hamming it up with every other moment they had spare.
As a giant disco ball lowered, the delectable ‘Treasure’ erased any resistance left in the arena. The song felt more like a show-stopping finale and you couldn’t have blamed anyone for thinking the party had peaked much too early – but Mars and co. had more up their sleeves.
A blistering rock n’ roll cover of ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’ culminated in a true-to-life Marty McFly moment, Mars’ molten-hot guitar solo a true highlight of the evening. Fans were also treated to seductive renditions of Ginuwine’s ‘Pony’, with a unique take on Michael Jackson’s ‘Rock With You’ following shortly after. Mars’ set was exceptionally diverse and, importantly, his songs sounded entirely different in the live arena. It’s a shame – and, of course, a credit to his faultless live band – that the studio versions of Mars’ songs simply don’t measure up to the meatier, more intricate live experience on offer.
Naturally, the mega-popular ‘Just The Way You Are’ united the arena in voice, making for one of the evening’s biggest and best moments, but ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ – combined with confetti cannons – delivered the epic finale the show deserved. Refreshingly, the evening proved to be much more than Mars simply strutting his stuff. The exciting young performer happily shared the spotlight and, in doing so, made the evening what it was. This was a spectacular, feel-good show, owed in part to endearing shenanigans that won’t soon be forgotten.
Review: Nick Mason