Concert review: Bruno Mars, Vector Arena

By Bridget Jones

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Bruno Mars performed at Auckland's Vector Arena on Saturday night.
Bruno Mars performed at Auckland's Vector Arena on Saturday night.

Moonshine is often an unknown quantity; a bit risky, it does funny things to people. Sometimes it's dangerous.

Grammy winner Bruno Mars was never going to be a public threat, but his Moonshine Jungle Tour at Auckland's Vector Arena did work the crowd into a frenzy.

Opening with Moonshine, which was quickly followed up with Natalie, Treasure, and a hefty helping of pyrotechnics, Mars ensured the packed- and loud - crowd were kept on their toes on this, his second visit to New Zealand.

Billionaire, Runaway Baby, Marry Me, Grenade; the favourites from both of Mars' albums came thick and fast during the hour-and-a-half set, barely giving anyone time to catch their breath.

He made covers sound like new songs - and many in the young audience probably hadn't heard Bam Bam, Money (That's What I Want), or Ignition. At least Rihanna covered Ginuwine's Pony recently.

Mars is a showman. Not only can he write a bloody catchy pop song - and sing it impressively - but he puts on a spectacle. His Motown-styled band are more than back-up musicians in the shadows; while Mars is obviously the star, the camaraderie, playfulness and some marvellous synchronised dance routines involving everyone on stage creates a wonderful sense of fun not often found in a show this slick.

It's a shame though, considering how far he's come in terms of showmanship and obvious clout in the industry (the staging for this tour is up there with the biggest stars) that many of the comedic "set pieces" were rehashed from his previous tour here.

But that was just a passing blip on what was an impressive night of entertainment.

If I Was Your Man was a stand-out moment; just Mars, a dimmed spotlight and a piano, singing what he called the hardest song he has ever written.

But the first of two Auckland Moonshine Jungle shows wound up on a high - two encores, a drum solo from the singer, and the hits Locked Out of Heaven and Gorilla, which was the perfect, slightly naughty end to an all-ages gig where the boundaries were given a nudge.

Earlier Miguel, the guy behind Mariah Carey's latest hit Beautiful, was impressive, if a little over the top for some of the younger audience members.

Dressed like George Michael in his Faith days, the talented singer pushed the envelope with his t-shirt lifting, microphone-grinding performance which was punctuated by screams from eager audience members. Don't be surprised if he's headlining his own show soon enough.

Bruno Mars, Miguel
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Saturday, March 15

- nzherald.co.nz

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