Maroon 5's Adam Levine has audience eating out of his hands

Maroon 5 performs on the second day of the 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.
Maroon 5 performs on the second day of the 2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
The American pop-rock band performed at the same venue in 2012, to a 50,000-strong crowd and rave reviews. Three years on, the group, led by their sexy frontman Adam Levine, proved that they are still very much in demand.
The American pop-rock band performed at the same venue in 2012, to a 50,000-strong crowd and rave reviews. Three years on, the group, led by their sexy frontman Adam Levine, proved that they are still very much in demand.ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
Maroon 5 concert goers at the Padang on Sept 19, 2015.
Maroon 5 concert goers at the Padang on Sept 19, 2015. ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
Maroon 5 concert goers as seen from Swissotel The Stamford on Sept 19, 2015.
Maroon 5 concert goers as seen from Swissotel The Stamford on Sept 19, 2015. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Maroon 5 
2015 Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix
Padang Stage
Saturday (Sept 19) 

Organisers for the Formula 1 Grand Prix must have abided by the mantra "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" when they picked Maroon 5 to headline Saturday night's concert slot at the Padang - again.

The American pop-rock band performed at the same venue in 2012, to a 50,000-strong crowd and rave reviews. Three years on, the group, led by their sexy frontman Adam Levine, proved that they are still very much in demand. There was only standing room at the concert venue, which filled up fast through the night.

At 11.15pm, sounds of the jungle, wolf howls and thumping tribal drums heralded in Maroon 5's arrival. Levine stood in the light beam, bouncing side to side in rhythm with the pulsating beat - like a boxer ready to pounce. And they did, kicking off with Animals, from their 2014 album V, which they are currently promoting. For the next 90mins, they blazed through a well-curated 15-song setlist.

Die-hard fans would appreciate the band returning to their funk-soul roots by performing songs such as Sunday Morning and Harder To Breathe from the sleeper hit album, Songs About Jane, which put them on the road to their current stardom.

The rest of the audience, who probably knew the band from mainstream radio stations overplaying their songs, were kept happy with radio-friendly offerings such as Payphone (recorded with rapper Wiz Khalifa) and Stereo Hearts, which Levine featured on with rap-rock group Gym Class Heroes in 2011.

Nothing much has changed. It is still very much The Adam Levine & Friends Show, as it was clear that he was very much the star power behind the band. The 36-year-old worked the expansive stage, strutting up and down the long runway a la rocker Mick Jagger, and worked up a sweat jumping up and down.

And the crowd were happy to accede to anything he wanted them to do. Could they cheer louder for keyboardist PJ Morton? Sure. Clap along to their songs? Of course. Sing along to an acoustic version of This Love. Anything for you, Levine.

He rewarded the adoring audience by taking off this shirt at his end, and strapped on a pink, neon guitar - making it alluringly sexy, yet manly, in a way only Levine can.

Earlier in the night, a former heartthrob, Tony Hadley of Spandau Ballet brought nostalgia back for a middle-aged crowd, of mostly expatriates and tourists, in their hour-long set at the Village Stage.

Just like Levine, the 55-year-old was a strong frontman, leading his band in a tight, musically-charged set. Perspiring heavily from the the get-go - he really should have kept the suit at home - Hadley, who has since packed on the pounds, proved he still had the strong baritone vocals to belt out their poppy sounds.

It was a slow start to warm-up the audience, as the band started with a newer song, Soul Boy. But when they put on their most familiar songs such as Chant No 1, True and Gold, it sparked a dad-dancing frenzy in the audience.

It was a good night for Levine and Hadley, as they proved that a charismatic frontman makes all the difference. Both did not have sparkly outfits and costume changes, backup dancers or fancy digital backgrounds to do the (performance) work for them - just the basic premise of a singer, with great songs and a solid band.

But even with these successful shows, let us hope that the organisers heed another familiar saying when they pick next year's line-up: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder".

natashaz@sph.com.sg