Marooned in live ecstasy

Marooned in live ecstasy

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Marooned in live ecstasy _L
Photo: Universal music
The size and age range of the crowd packed into the AsiaWorld-Expo arena for Maroon 5's concert on May 21 testified to the pop-rock band's broad appeal. The Americans touched down in Hong Kong during the tour for their third studio album, Hands All Over, and gave an energetic performance. They even found some time to chat to SYP.

The band claimed to love the city, saying they have lots of fans and friends here; bassist Mickey Madden described Hong Kong as "probably the most cosmopolitan place I've ever been. And it's fun, too."

Maroon 5 burst onstage with Misery, the catchy first song off their latest album. Following songs varied the pace well, slowing down with Songs About Jane. The band ended with the laidback Sunday Morning.

Although the show felt too short, the band performed a good mixture of hits from all three of their studio albums.

Those looking for some spectacular stage effects may have been disappointed, however: there was good lighting but no opening act, dancers or costumes. The spotlight fell on lead singer Adam Levine. The audience cheered his every move as Levine strutted around the stage in skin-tight jeans and a plain white tee. He knew exactly how to play the crowd with his cheeky moves and wide grins.

When the audience confirmed they spoke English, Levine joked: "Now I won't be able to shut up all night." He did, though, to show off guitar skills and falsetto vocals that sounded even better live than on the albums.

The band tried hard to make the concert experience different. "Live, we're much looser and freer and louder," Madden said, "because none of us are really interested in going and seeing things exactly recreated as they are on record."

Songs benefiting from this "looser" style included the early hit Secret, as Levine made a surprise interlude into a cover of Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It. The famously long-haired guitarist James Valentine showed off his skills in a jamming session after Shiver.

Maroon 5 classics This Love and She Will Be Loved were greeted ecstatically. Levine dedicated the latter number to "the young females in the audience," eliciting even more cheers. He split the crowd in half for a sing-along to spine-tingling effect.

Levine later tweeted that the Hong Kong concert had "amazing energy" and was "one of the biggest and best crowds".

After being on tour for almost a year, the band says ideas for a new album are taking shape. Keyboardist Jesse Carmichael promises "the next one will be better", showcasing the freer style that works so well in concerts.

As for advice to aspiring pop stars: "Be yourself. And have fun," Carmichael said. To which, drummer Matt Flynn added: "Be persistent - you do get a lot better from failing. You know, give it your all."

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