Musician and pop sensation Bruno Mars returned to the Theater at MGM in Oxon Hill, MD for the first of two sold out shows on Saturday December 4th. Mars, who recently released a joint project with fellow musician Anderson.Paak under the moniker Silk Sonic, was welcomed back to the DMV with open arms. At Bruno’s request, cell phones were placed in yonder pouches which may explain the show’s late start time by nearly ½ an hour.
Nevertheless, Mars and his band The Hooligans took the stage at 8:30 to thunderous applause, opening the show with “24K Magic”. Mars kept the energy flowing with a smooth transition into “Finesse” followed by a humorous impromptu slow jam titled “I Took Your Phones Away”. I’m positive Bruno does this at every show, but the song gave the venue a brief sense of musical unity, as the audience could focus on the show and the artist, and less of social media views and likes.
“Treasure and Perm ” were up next with the former giving Mars a chance to show off impressive synched choreography with his band. As for “Perm”, that was the only song I didn’t care for on Bruno’s classic third album “24K Magic ”. However the song did come across better live and I really loved what he did with the arrangements. The New Jack Swing-esque slow jam “Calling All My Lovelies” was the highlight of the first portion of the show for me. Mars found time to evoke the elders of the genre with this particular performance and seamlessly mixed in his hook from the Kodak Black hit, “Wake up in the Sky ”.
The first portion of the show closed out with lively renditions of “Chunky”, “That’s What I Like” “Please Me” before closing out with “Versace on the Floor”. Naturally when Mars performed “Versace on the Floor” he was dressed in a Versace shirt which took the song to another level. The first portion of Mars’s show catered to his R&B esque/newer material while outside of a few exceptions the second portion focused on his pop origins.
My favorite portion of the show’s second half was when Bruno’s piano medley of songs he’s written or collaborated on for other artists. During the piano medley, Bruno briefly teased the audience with snippets of Silk Sonic’s “Leave the Door Open” and Smokin out the Window. It was great to hear these songs live and it built great anticipation for his forthcoming joint tour with Anderson.Paak. Pretty much all of the hits from Bruno’s first two albums were performed during the show’s second half to much fanfare.
Mars closed out the show with “Just the Way You Are”, followed by an encore of “Uptown Funk”. Mars stage show is pristine and tight. My only gripe with the show was the omission of “Talking to the Moon” and “It Would Rain”. After seeing him live the influences of Bobby Brown, seventies funk and the Minneapolis sound are evident in his musical DNA. However Mars put his own spin on his influences and I highly recommend seeing him live.
Final Grade: A
1) 24K Magic
3) I Took Your Phones Away
6) Calling All My Lovelies / Wake Up in the Sky
8) That’s What I Like/Please Me
9) Versace on the Floor
10) Be My Baby / Marry You
11) Runaway Baby
12) Forget You/Young, Wild And Free/Talking To The Moon/A Whole New World/Smokin Out The Window/ Leave The Door Open
13) When I Was Your Man
14) Locked Out of Heaven
15) Just the Way You Are
16) Uptown Funk
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