Gig Review: Bruno Mars | Melbourne | 7.3.18

Oh My Peter Hernandez…what a blimmin’ night. Bruno you have done it again. If you looked up the definition of ‘Live Performance’, it may as well say ‘Bruno Mars’ because he pretty much reigns this department in today’s age of music.

Mars’ first show Downunder for his 24K Magic Tour went off with a literal bang in Melbourne on Wednesday, resulting in 80 minutes of pure entertainment and not enough adjectives in the English vocabulary to possibly describe this giant, wonderful blur of a night.

English lass Dua Lipa, warmed up the high towering, protruding rectangular prism stage with her 5 Seconds of Summer looking band and sultry vocals. Parading in her ‘Clueless’ matching yellow crop and flares, Lipa combines her vocals delivered Jagger lips-ly with the right quantity of sensual moves in her performance of many radio faves, including airy 'You’re The One', ex-stinging 'IDGAF' and clubby ‘New Rules’. At 22 years young, Lipa works the room like a natural pop star being a suitable opener for the demographics of the audience.  

Upon waiting for planet Mars, a forest green curtain imprinted by a large crown hangs from the ceiling, wrapping 360 degrees around the stage setting fumes of anticipation into full steam. At a clock’s strike of approximately 9.25pm, it rises like a cake stand lid uncovering a spectacular dessert that is Bruno and his 'Hooligans' breaking out to ‘Finesse’ amongst a cloud of smoke in front of spattering block colour effects. The production looks expensive but not obnoxious. It is almost sickening to think about the total expenditure that would be accumulated from one show alone.

Thematically, it was quite the contrast from his tropical-earth-toned-Jason Mraz’ Fedora-vibe Moonshine Jungle Tour that hit Aussie shores in 2014, with outfits on this run consisting of basketball and baseball jerseys, snapbacks and Nike shorts exposing Mars’ airbrushed calves. Personally preferred Moonshine Jungle’s tasteful aesthetic, however that isn’t to say the progression to sporty 24K is of lesser value as it does appeal to contemporary trends.

Every hit of Mars’ ‘quality over quantity’ 14-song set is sung along to word by word. His band are the most perfect accompaniment and together their combined choreography is slick as shit  you feel as though you’re on the streets of New Orleans buskers. With such artificial sound at a typical pop(ular) music concert, it is a blessing to the ears to hear a note from a saxophone or piano. Their harmonies and instrument playing didn’t stop the boys from gladly flirting with females in front-row leaving them blushing with their winks and air-kisses.

It’s always a good sign seeing the dripping efforts of perspiration from a muso. When Mars performs you can tell he genuinely loves and cares about what he does, evident every time he flashes that million-dollar smile. His props including a gold old-school mobile in 'Calling All My Lovelies', (featuring Melbourne-pronunciation banter slash a Prince-like guitar solo), and a Willy Wonkarish cane in encore song 'Uptown Funk' were an amusing addition. An opportunity to also showcase Mars’ charismatic inner actor.

If not already persuaded by THE WORLD, you must catch Brunz alive once in your lifetime. Words, photos, videos alone do not do justice. The dude deserves far more respect from peers and sceptics around to recognise him as a fully-fledged artist not just a clean-cut, romantic pop guy with a predominantly female fan base. 

Since the history of many iconic performers, such as MJ and James Brown, now long gone, it is almost as though Mars has kind of saved the current pop music industry from what could be one big, confusing, shallow mess.

Written by Sally Hui (@Sally__hui)

Bruno Mars is currently touring Australia. Check out his remaining dates here.

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