More than your money's worth

More than your money's worth

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Bruno Mars had everyone up on their feet
Bruno Mars had everyone up on their feet
Photos: Warner Music

To call Bruno Mars' Moonshine Jungle show explosive would be an understatement. Last Saturday, in the first of two sold-out gigs at Asia-World Expo, the stage literally blew up on a regular basis as Mars put on one of the most pyrotechnically advanced shows ever in the 852.

If anyone had any doubts of the singer's popularity, the deafening screams and the shoulder-to-shoulder sea of sweating fans would have set them straight. The fact that the gigs were sold out on rugby sevens weekend is further testament to his appeal.

Accompanied by his eight "Hooligans" - his band members - Mars started the night off with two songs off second album Unorthodox Jukebox: Moonshine and Natalie. Despite their relative obscurity (compared to, say, Just the Way You Are), the crowd sang, danced and clapped along as if they'd been born singing them.

But that was nothing compared to the reaction to the reggae beats (and Jamaican-flag lighting) of Billionaire. The crowd erupted, at times drowning out the singer, until he segued into R Kelly's Ignition, a move that drew attention for the first (and pretty much only) time to the crowd's wide age range.

Artists are often accused of lip-syncing, but there was no danger of that here. With a voice reminiscent of Marvin Gaye, husky and rich, but capable of hitting some impressive falsetto notes, Mars frequently ad-libbed, leaving no doubt that it was all live.

He proved his instrumental prowess, too, often playing guitar, and treating fans to a drum solo.

He played all the crowd favourites, sending mainly girls (but loads of guys) into a frenzy, toying with emotions as he moved from a rock-heavy version of Runaway via Nothing on Me to When I Was Your Man, which he described as "the hardest song I've ever had to write, and still the hardest song to sing", melting several hearts in the process.

Most 90-minute gigs feel short, but with scarcely a break between songs, fans got their money's worth. Mars said he wanted to get us sweating. With his back-to-back set, not even the strongest antiperspirant had a chance of working.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
More than your money's worth

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