BRUNO. MARS. Y’ALL.
I mean, where to even begin? The last time I saw Bruno Mars was in August of 2014. I had picked up a ticket the week of the show and went on to experience one of the best nights of live music in my entire life.
On Thursday, July 20, Mars once again brought his A-game to the SAP Center in San Jose. His 24K Magic World Tour sets the bar nice and high for every other tour, performer, band, etc.
Opening for Mars on this leg of the tour is Camila Cabello, formerly of the popular girl group Fifth Harmony. I’m not super familiar with Cabello’s solo work, but I really enjoyed hearing her individual take on “Bad Things,” her collaborative track with rapper Machine Gun Kelly.
Around 9:20 or so, the lights dimmed and the curtain that was enclosed around the stage lifted to reveal Mars and the Hooligans in silhouette, who began hyping the crowd before Mr. Bruno Mars took to center stage, kicking off his lively set with one of my very favorite tracks from XXIVK Magic: “Finesse.” (This may have prompted me to turn to my friend at the show and exclaim, “YASSSSSSSSS!”) His presence was immediately felt by every single person in SAP Center as he engaged with fans and encouraged them to “make some noise!” And they happily obliged.
Setting the tone for the remainder of the evening with his smooth vocals, slick dance moves and effortless swagger, Mars launched into mega-hit “24K Magic,” following it up with “Treasure” off of his sophomore LP, Unorthodox Jukebox. He kept the party rolling with a rollicking performance of “Perm.” I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a more exciting opening 25 minutes or so of a concert in recent memory. The crowd was up on their feet dancing and singing along to every word, while feeding off of the exhilirating energy that continued to amass throughout the SAP Center.
What I really enjoyed about this show, similarly to Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour in 2014, is that he showcased the bulk of his latest album, eight songs total (by my count), as well as making sure to include the hits we all know and love–“Grenade,” “Locked Out of Heaven,” “When I Was Your Man”–plus fan favorites like “Marry You” and “Runaway Baby” off of Doo-Wops & Hooligans. The 24K Magic World Tour boasts a strong setlist that was seemingly crafted in a way to guarantee that fans stay on their feet for the entire night. Even during slower tracks, like “Calling All My Lovelies” and “Straight Up & Down” the crowd was up swaying along.
Another element that really heightened the overall production of the show was the stage design. I really liked this larger kind of stage layout for Mars, which provided him and his band members plenty of room to move around and really utilize the space. I like how elements of the stage would change for certain songs, like the addition of a rising platform during “Chunky” and later during “Versace on the Floor.”
Mars ended his main set with a performance of his certified 9x platinum hit, “Just the Way You Are.” No matter how many times I have heard this song on the radio, something about hearing thousands of people belting out the lyrics along with Mars makes it feel like a brand new experience. Before heading off stage, Mars introduced each of his band members to the crowd, who were greeted with enthusiastic applause.
To the surprise of no one, Mars and his band returned to the stage moments later with an exhuberant performance of “Locked Out of Heaven,” before closing out the show with “Uptown Funk,” his Grammy Award-winning collaboration with Mark Ronson.
I’ve seen Mars perform “Uptown Funk” on countless TV shows, but nothing compares to hearing it live. And really, this applies to hearing any of Mars’ songs live. His soulful voice was in top condition. Additionally, the sheer amount of unrelenting charisma that he brings to each and every one of his performances on this tour is unmatched. Mars is a dynamic performer and a legitimate showman that truly knows how to, not only put on a show, but deliver. I look forward to seeing how he tops this tour in the future.
Photo credit: Kirsten Coachman/WaitWhatMusic.net