After a summer full of stage-hopping at outdoor amphitheaters on Van Warped Tour, we had a change of scenery this week at an 18,000-seat arena here in our hometown of Indianapolis, IN for Bruno Mars’ Moonshine Jungle Tour.
“Put those camera phones down and dance with us,” was all we needed to needed to hear from the man himself. From beginning to end Bruno and his Hooligans kept the party rolling with fast-paced favorites like “Runaway Baby”, quieted the crowd down with slow jams like “When I Was Your Man”, and through in a few unexpected surprises for the ladies along the way. (YouTube: WE GOT YOU for clarification.) The heavy influence pop legends and R&B classics have had on the 27-year-old are glaringly apparent in every word he sings, move he makes and gold chain he wears around his neck. If the future of pop music sounds like Bruno Mars, what is everyone so worried about?
Because Bruno Mars has become such a household name since he made his debut with B.o.B. almost 3 years ago, you may be surprised to find out that this is his first headlining tour in the States. Sustaining ticket sales on a 2-month arena tour these days is no easy feat, but selling out several major cities along the way proves that this first time will certainly not be the last we see of Bruno.
Let’s talk about arena shows for a minute, shall we? They have a bad rap, and sometimes, rightfully so. Pre-fabricated groups with over-the-top special effects to mask the lack of substance have somewhat tainted the magic over the past decade. I myself have seen to my fair share of these. But hear me out. It’s time to stop assuming that just because someone is playing a stadium-sized show they must be a sell-out/have no talent/care more about fame than music. It’s just not fair, and it certainly holds no shred of truth when it comes to artists such as Bruno Mars. For 99% of musicians, being a working musician is far from glamorous. Hard work and sleepless nights are easy compared to the thankless (and often money-less) gigs, rejection, criticism and general struggle to survive and be seen as credible by society. Every single one of those guys (whether they’ll admit it outloud to you or not) goes to bed at night imagining themselves at Madison Square Garden. It’s the dream. All I’m saying is, don’t be so quick to squash and dismiss it. The magic is still there, and as long as we have genuine class-acts like Bruno Mars, it will be for a long time to come.