November 20, 2010
Wow, what a showman Bruno Mars is.
The young singer-songwriter made it clear he's not just another pop star at his show Saturday night at Martini Ranch, launching his set with an extensive drum solo. While other musicians in his genre might hide behind backing tracks and headset mikes, Mars confidently took charge of his set from the beginning, displaying the musical chops that helped make him a hit songwriter with The Smeezingtons before debuting his own career.
His full band, including Smeezingtons collaborator Philip Lawrence on backing vocals, were also talented, playing aggressively and energetically from the start. It was evident from the beginning Mars' show wasn't just about playing the hits--it was about establishing Mars as a bonafide performer who has the ability to improvise well and engage an audience.
It's hard for Mars not to be engaging considering his mega-watt smile. Of course, the oh-so-charming guy made the ladies who dominated the audience swoon, and he just might be the most lovable guy in music right now.
The set was short and sweet, clocking in at barely an hour, but it was a decent introduction to Mars and a great intimate show at the small venue. He could have played for hours and made the audience happy, but he packed a lot of punch into what he did perform.
Not only did he play his hits, he also added some really fun covers into the mix, including "Billie Jean" (to the tune of "Teen Spirit," which was awesome) and "Seven Nation Army." His voice was crystal clear throughout the night, and he showed off his multitude of talent moving from electric guitar to ukulele. Sadly, he didn't play piano, but everything else he did was on point.
Yes, Mars may flirt and be ultra-good-looking, but his musical talent backs up his deservedness to be a star. His first show in Arizona was amazing (check out some video below), and it'll be exciting when he makes his way back to the Valley.
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Personal Bias: After talking with the flirty Mars on the phone during an interview, I'm pretty much in love with the man.
The Crowd: There were way more people on the underage side of the venue than the 21-and-older, and most were women. I did see a lot of guys singing along to every song, though.
Overheard in the crowd: "He better take it off," after Mars teased the crowd that he would take off his shirt.
Random Notebook Dump: I thought Mars' encore should have been "Just the Way You Are" and not "Grenade". The show could have ended on a higher point than it did.
The Other Side
Top of the World
Money (That's What I Want) (Barrett Strong cover)
Our First Time
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes cover)
The Lazy Song
Count on Me
Nothin' on You
Just the Way You Are