Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Bruno Mars Flashes His 24K Magic In Philadelphia

Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic Tour swung by Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night, playing a roughly 95-minute set that flashed a display of talent as infectious as the 32-year-old Hawaiian’s broad smile. It isn’t every show where a band jolts an arena with chart-topping singles, amazing dance, and even some classical piano. Tuesday evening was not your typical concert.

The show was Mars’ second-ever gig in Philadelphia and his first since 2013. The extensive 153-show tour began in Antwerp on March 28, 2017 and is currently scheduled to wrap in Kuala Lumpur on May 9, 2018. The lengthy tour is in support of Mars’ third album, 24K Magic, which dropped last November. While Mars has been a sensation for quite some time now, he is still riding the megastar wave that began after he had partnered with Mark Ronson for the producer’s smash “Uptown Funk” single in 2015.

Given his status as on one of the biggest stars on the planet, it was not surprising that he played to a packed house. One interesting dynamic of the show was exactly who was in attendance that night. Moms, teenage daughters, and thirty-something millennials completed a crowd of unusually diverse ages. Even from an oxygen-sucking perch in the corner of the Wells Fargo Center’s upper level, it was easy to see that Mars has become a rare cross-generation star who brings unlikely listening audiences together to lose their minds.

He and his talented Hooligans owned every section of the arena to the point where he earned loving “boos” from the crowd as he goaded the left and ride sides of the stage into a cheering match. Not many people earn good-natured derision in Philadelphia, but that was the kind of reaction instigated by Mars while he entertained and seduced the Wells Fargo Center.

As he and his band weaved their way through three albums of material, the singer was an unrelenting ham. At one point, Mars rode the moment with a sly “Calm yourself, ladies.” He later pulled out a bullhorn to whip the audience into a frenzy. After “Finesse,” Mars started the show with a burst of energetic numbers that included the tracks “24K Magic” and “Perm.” He leaned heavily towards his most recent record, but sprinkled in songs from throughout his career like the toe-tapping “Runaway Baby” and catchy “Treasure.”

As the concert reached its midpoint, Mars slowed the tempo down with “Marry You,” “When I Was Your Man,” and “Versace on the Floor.” As the rest of the Hooligans took a quick break, band member John Fossitt provided a classical piece on the piano that felt a little misplaced. Mars and the Hooligans returned with a few upbeat tracks that ramped up the crowd in time for a two-song encore comprised of “Locked Out Of Heaven” and “Uptown Funk.”

Mars was at his best during the encore because his James Brown style feels more natural during the upbeat pop songs, but throughout the night he proved that he is a man who can do just about everything and perform music that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. 

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