I hit the concert lottery on Saturday night with an awesome triple bill of Maroon 5 with openers OneRepublic and Bruno Mars in San Diego. All three acts could easily headline their own tours. Maroon 5 has had some A+ choices for their opening acts during this Hands All Over Tour (I'm conveniently ignoring the Owl City transgression). Two of their openers are my favorite new artists - Kris Allen and Bruno Mars. And OneRepublic really surprised me with how good they are live.
Bruno Mars is flat-out awesome. He's SO talented. He writes great songs, he has a killer voice - so silky smooth and effortless, he plays guitar well, and he's got charisma. I want to see a solo show of his so bad, but I'm not around for the one Southern California show he's doing this fall (Nov. 19 at UC San Diego ... see the rest of his tour dates here). I loved his set, and pretty much knew every song he did, which is unusual for the first opener, but, like I said, he is worthy of his own headlining set. The only quibble I had with Bruno's set is that he didn't do his current single "Grenade" and that of the six numbers he did, only 1.5 are on his album. He did half of "The Other Side" to open and closed with "Just The Way You Are". In between, he did "Top of the World", which is from lord knows where, his collaborations with Travie McCoy ("Billionaire") and B.O.B. (Nothin' On You), and a cover of "Billie Jean" (over "Smells Like Teen Spirit")/"Roxanne". As an opener who JUST released his album, I get why he did that particular set, but I was really surprised he didn't do his new single "Grenade". But whatever, everyone loved him and sang along to just about everything, and that's what you want, right?
OneRepublic was the second act, and I'm not exactly a big OneRepublic fan, and I've made my share of Ryan Tedder jokes. The times I've seen them perform on TV I have not come away impressed with his voice. But whoah. Maybe it's the studio setting that made them sound bad, or maybe they've just gotten better, but I was really impressed by them Saturday night. Tedder was hitting some seriously high notes. We're talking Adam Lambert territory. And the band is really talented. All of them were playing multiple instruments. Tedder played guitar, piano and tambourine. One guitarist played the xylophone. Another played the violin. The bass player played cello. I really adored the addition of strings to some of the songs. The cello on "Apologize" was amazing! It even made "All The Right Moves" tolerable (I HATE that song). Like everyone else, OneRepublic did a cover medley - "Stand By Me"/"Seven Nation Army"/"Sexyback". My favorite performances from them were "Secrets" and "Marchin On", the latter of which I had never heard before.
Maroon 5 played a good mix of songs from all 3 albums, including all of their hits (and wow, they really do have a lot), plus an awesome cover of Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You" and a little bit of Prince's "Purple Rain" leading into a mashup of their own song "Secret" and Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It". From the new album, they opened with "Misery", busted out the disco ball on "Give A Little More", and got a little naughty on "Stutter". Adam Levine prances and preens and struts all over the onstage kind of like Mick Jagger. It's really entertaining to watch. Standouts for me were "Sunday Morning" at the end of the show, "Give A Little More", which was really fun, and the whole acoustic set, especially "If I Ain't Got You".
Videos after the cut
Bruno Mars - The Other Side:
Bruno Mars - Money/Billionaire:
Bruno Mars - Billie Jean/Roxanne:
Bruno Mars - Nothin' On You Remix:
Bruno Mars - Just The Way You Are:
OneRepublic - Secrets:
OneRepublic - Marchin On:
OneRepublic - Apologize:
Maroon 5 - Won't Go Home Without You:
Maroon 5 - If I Ain't Got You:
Maroon 5 - Purple Rain/Secret/What's Love Got To Do With It:
Maroon 5 - Stutter:
Maroon 5 - Sunday Morning: