Concert Review: Bruno Mars at the Susquehanna Bank Center 7/17/201
In all the times I've been to the Susquehanna Bank Center, I've never seen more folks at a concert. Every seat and every square inch of the lawn were packed with pumped-up fans. The span of ages was impressive. Bruno has fans from 12 to 70 and he had all of us dancing, dancing and dancing.
The night started with Aloe Blacc, a smooth and powerful artist who had his own fan base at the Center. His range impressed me with a striking voice reminiscent of the great Bill Withers, "Lean On Me." He has had some hits which he performed, "You Make Me Smile," "Here Today" and "Wake Me Up." His band's horn section was impressive, great tone, power and dance moves. I wasn't a fan prior to the concert, but I am now. I was most impressed with the range of musical styles from Soul, to Power Pop, to Country; he and his band nailed them all. He more than warmed us up, he started a fire.
The sound, light show and lasers combined with the video footage were impressive yet did not take away from the music. Nothing but fun is the best way to describe a Bruno Mars concert. I'd say he is not just a singer songwriter, but one of the few you can call an “entertainer.” He has honed his stage presence and the act to a point that it looks easy and spontaneous, which it isn't. His cast is impressive as musicians and performers. A real show that is on par with the greats like Earth, Wind & Fire. No time was spent in the seat, it was a modern day Kool And The Gang party.
A partial set list:
“Money(That's What I Want)”
“Nothing On You”
“When I Was Your man”
“Just The Way You Are”
“Locked Out Of Heaven”
There was a piano solo and Bruno showed his stuff with an amazing drum solo. “Moonshine” launched the show with an explosion. The word Moonshine was catapulted into the venue via a light show that entertained the entire night. “Natalie” got the pace up a notch with Bruno's smile and dance steps pushing the show into what it became an audience participation jamboree. His voice and harmonies were perfect, not a word or note lost.
“Marry Me” was the emotional favorite, his approach was to lure the crowd closer and snatch them into his joyous hurricane. He got me, my smile almost hurt! As the title would suggest “Grenade” was an explosion of sight, sound and dance. One of my personal favorites of the night.
After introducing the band, they bowed and did a brief walk-off returning to a deafening roar. He saved the best for last. “Locked Out Of Heaven' is so catchy it is addictive. The hook, the voice feedback, the voice overdub combined with the music itself took us to another level. The dancing, singing, jumping, swaying, clapping were so intense we could of caught on fire. I do not know if Bruno thinks this is his signature song, but I do. The finale was the crescendo of all that made up this impressive show, “Gorilla.” It was a three ring circus all wrapped up in a song. This song went on for a good 8 to10 minutes. The crowd knew it was the end and held on for all it was worth. Bruno knew he had us, had mercy on us, and let it fly for verse after verse. I was exhausted, I can't image the energy needed to perform at this level. Many have compared Bruno to Michael Jackson, fair but Bruno projects much more joy and wonder. I know now why Bruno is considered one of the greatest live acts of today. If you want to smile, dance, sing and participate in a musical experience, Bruno is your man.