There’s a way to do sexy without being trashy. Bruno Mars understands that.
There’s a way to perform in a sold-out arena and make it feel intimate. Bruno Mars does that.
There’s a way to sing “Gorilla’’ and bring a grown woman (not me) to tears. Bruno Mars did that.
The second round of Mars’s “Moonshine Jungle Tour’’ stopped in Boston last night and after telling the audience that he had a feeling that the night was going to be “a little bit sexier’’ than his last visit on June 26, 2013, he launched into a set list that kept the crowd on its feet for almost two hours.
Mars opened with “Moonshine,’’ and took the crowd on an “Unorthodox Jukebox’’ (2012) journey which was smattered with samplings from his first album, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans’’ (2010), performing tracks like “Treasure,’’ “Grenade,’’ “When I Was Your Man,’’ and “Marry You.’’
The families in the crowd jammed to tamer selections like “Just the Way You Are’’ and “Locked Out of Heaven’’ (one of the two encore offerings), while the 20-somethings went wild for the hip-thrusting action of his band during a slow breakdown of B.o.B.’s “Beautiful Girls.’’
When he wasn’t line dancing with his seven-piece band and back-up vocalist/hype man, Mars took turns playing a fire-engine red electric guitar and gave the drums a whirl, an instrument his brother, Eric Hernandez, plays during the majority of the show.
Fun family fact: Mars’s dad, Peter Hernandez, was in attendance. Mars told the crowd that his Brooklyn-bred father shared doo-wop music with him when he was a kid, which helped inspire him to create the music we enjoy today.
Mars paid instrumental homage to doo-wop and funk, and threw down a trifecta of throwback covers. Mid-way through “Our First Time,’’ he broke down Ginuwine’s “Pony,’’ Ghost Town DJ’s “My Boo,’’ and R. Kelly’s “Ignition (Remix)’’ before finishing out his own track.
The entire concert was reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough’’ music video (above) and the disco days of the ‘70s as a whole, complete with retro-themed backdrop screens, fog machines, and lighting.
A massive disco ball added to the nostalgic feel, and what looked like televisions aligned on either side of the set’s tallest points broadcast concert moments with “Soul Train’’-like filters.
Before Mars took the stage, Aloe Blacc opened the show with a 45-minute set list full of positive energy that got the crowd pumped up. He told the story of meeting Dr. Dre and being inspired to write “The Man,’’ which ultimately kicked off his American career, got the crowd on its feet for “You Make Me Smile,’’ and showed off his pipes during “Wake Me Up,’’ sans Avicii.
Mars has 26 remaining scheduled tour dates, some of which feature Pharrell Williams, left on the 2014 leg of the “Moonshine Jungle Tour.’’ Next up, he’ll head to Hartford, Conn. with Blacc on July 9.