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Bruno Mars at American Airlines Center, 8/12/13: Review

Bruno Mars in Philadelphia earlier this summer -- photos were not allowed at the Dallas concert.
Bruno Mars in Philadelphia earlier this summer -- photos were not allowed at the Dallas concert.
Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Atlantic Records

Bruno Mars American Airlines Center August 12, 2013

Bruno Mars stands on the very end of the stage, adorned in a brown Panama hat, bathed in red-hued stage lights and wearing a smirk on his face. For the last hour and a half, Mars has driven the capacity crowd into a tizzy by running through the various hits he's written, gusted on, and released. And now as his backing band plays the final strings of his mega-hit "Just The Way You Are," the crowd rains down cheers in appreciation. Mars smirks because he knows what's next.

See also: What Jonas Brothers fans think of One Direction, and vice versa.

It's been a hell of a summer for pop music in Dallas, as everyone from One Direction, to Wiz Khalifa to Ke$ha/Pitbull and the first lady of pop, Beyonce, has vied for show of the summer. Each act has their own argument for it, but none brought the energy and excitement that Mars did.

The easy-going 27-year old has openly expressed his love for old school music, through album titles, covers, etc. Well, there's no better proof of that love then Mars' live show, a spectacle that harkens back to the R&B and soul ordeals of yesteryear with impeccably choreographed dancing and banter. Much credit should be given to Mars' fantastic backing band, a group who could rival the much ballyhooed Dap Kings when it comes to musicianship and may have no peers when it comes to playing while both dancing and hyping up a crowd.

Having struggled to break through for so long, including a stint as the guy who stole every song he guested on, Mars took the time to share the spotlight with his band members. At one point he and the band competed in a "mack off," where they took turns trying to sweet talk a member of the audience. Mars even let the guys show off some physical prowess by having them perform a Pretty Ricky grind.

 

This is all part of the show. So is Mars' request for the audience to put away their cell phone and dance. So is his cover over Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)," which he segues into his parts on "Billionaire." It's the enduring nature of tracks like "Billionaire" that really illustrates why Mars has such a vast fanbase, especially among the working class. It's hopeful, a vision for a better life, and many in the crowd can connect with that. The fact that the crowd is so diverse says volumes about what Mars is doing as an artist. He's crossing all lines with his music, and bring people together to dance, and have a good time.

Mars drove home his love for the new old school by performing a '90s medley that jumped from Aaliyah's "Rock the Boat" to Ginuwine's classic "Pony" and ended with a verse from the greatest club song of all time, Robert Kelly's "Ignition (Remix)." This is all part of the reason Mars wears the smirk throughout the night. He knows what's coming, and he knows everyone will love it.

After disappearing for what was may have been the shortest, "We're leaving, no we're encoring" fake out of all time, Mars appears behind a drum kit rising above stage for a solo that features audio clips of Mars's hero and inspiration James Brown. This all leads to Mars rejoining on the front of the stage for a dizzying rendition of his biggest hit "Locked Out of Heaven," a.k.a. the most danceable Police song of all time. The night ends with Mars rising towards the rafters while belting out "Gorilla" while pyrotechnics explode around him, and golden confetti falls onto the crowd. At the peak of his rise Mars extends his arms in almost a Christ like manner, bathing in the cheers of the night, the smirk planted firmly on his face.

Notes:

-Shout out to the ladies who were holding the giant "Texas Girls

-My new life goal is to become a member of Bruno's backup dancing band.

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