Bruno Mars' fun, funky gig

Award-winning singer-songwriter Bruno Mars had a two-night show in Singapore.

Hit songs, slick moves and playful chemistry made the American singer-songwriter's return concert a very enjoyable one



Singapore Indoor Stadium/Sunday

While billed as a solo show, the real star of Bruno Mars' 24K Magic gig was the alchemy between the American pop star and his live band, the Hooligans.

It was their coordination and playful chemistry that made the show - the singer-songwriter's return gig here, four years after he made his Singapore debut at the same venue - shine. The concert is part of Mars' global tour named after his 2016 album.

His array of hit songs, many of which were in the setlist, puts a modern spin on decades-old genres such as funk, soul and classic hip-hop.

And like many soul stars of the past, he has an almost symbiotic relationship with his seven-piece band, which include his older brother, Eric Hernandez, on drums.

There was plenty of nifty, synchronised footwork, even for the ones who had their hands full, such as guitarist Phred Brown, bassist Jamareo Artis and the three-piece horn section.

Dressed in basketball and baseball outfits, there was a lot of multi-tasking on stage. The horn section, for example, did double duty as backing singers, hype men and keyboardists.

Mars certainly has pull here. The Sunday concert was the first of his two-night engagement in Singapore and all tickets were quickly snapped up when they went on sale last year.

The crowd was loud, cheering, screaming and singing along with gusto to popular songs such as his early hit Just The Way You Are and more recent material such as Versace On The Floor.

At times, the audience seemed to drown out the sound coming from the stage.

It did not help that the overwhelming low frequencies were more suited to an electronic dance music show than a live pop-soul band, making the horn section and vocals muffled.

Still, Mars' singing was in top form, especially on the less robust songs and ballads such as When I Was Your Man. He channelled Michael Jackson when belting out the high notes and brought out his inner Prince when he played a couple of solos on his electric guitar.

He was in a playful mood, executing the occasional, PG-rated hip thrust and busting out plenty of slick dance moves.

He can be a bit of a ham too, pulling out a brick-style, oversized phone from the late 1980s/early 1990s and pretending to speak to a lover on Calling All My Lovelies.

The stage set-up, while simple, was jazzed up with multi-hued LED lights and the occasional fireworks.

Flames shot up at the back of the stage at the end of the encore, Uptown Funk, Mars' Grammy-winning collaboration with English producer Mark Ronson.

A couple of his crew dressed as firemen came out and sprayed the stage with fire extinguishers as the curtains went down to signal the end of the concert. It was a cheesy move, but not entirely unexpected at a fun, light-hearted show.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 08, 2018, with the headline 'Bruno Mars' fun, funky gig'. Print Edition | Subscribe