It’s as if Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson had a baby boy who was raised by his slightly crazy Uncle James Brown.
That’s Bruno Mars.
I knew going in that I would enjoy his concert the other night at Scottrade Center. This is a supremely talented artist whose “radio hits” such as “Grenade” and “When I was Your Man,” convinced me that we weren’t dealing with another Terrence Trent D’arby here.
It’s just that I never expected at night’s end to list it amongst my favorite shows of all-time.
From the opening song, “Moonshine” to the final arena friendly bars of “Gorilla”, Mars kept the crowd transfixed with a 90 minute set that never let up, that never gave you a break to grab a drink from the lobby or (in our case) to check on things at home with the sitter.
You didn’t dare for fear of missing something amazing. It’s literally the first time I’ve never sat down during a show…not once. (Well I was in the 9th row so it wouldn’t have been good form anyway.)
Mars is a showman in the very best sense of the word, with the goods to back it up. He sings, dances, plays the guitar and drums. He was probably helping sell t-shirts in the lobby for all I know.
He’s also an artist who seems to know exactly who he is, a rarity at such a young age. He is a serious artist who never seems to take himself too seriously. And that’s the key, he never clowns his audience in a demeaning way like some artists do. We’re always in on the joke, never the butt of it.
He saves that for the members of his band (who were terrific) and himself. (Example–his soft-spoken, deep voiced, Boyz II Men inspired flirtations with the ladies in the front row.)
That’s how stars do it.
His banter with the members of his band and the crowd was intended to put everyone at ease—to give everyone permission to let go, to enjoy a short, but unforgettable trip into the dark, slightly dangerous “Moonshine Jungle.”
And what a trip it was.
(Hat tip to “Aurelia Rain” for the excellent montage from the show)