Live review: Bruno Mars, Time Warner Cable Arena (8/21/2013)

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Bruno Mars
Time Warner Cable Arena
Aug. 21, 2013

Bruno_Mars.jpg

"Girl, you so sweet, I'd lick the bottom of your feet."

That was one of the bad pickup lines a Bruno Mars band member offered up to a female fan last night in the audience at Time Warner Cable Arena. The crowd - filled with teenage girls, fanatic young women and moms looking for a night to sing their hearts out without fear of judgment - swooned.

Hitmaker Bruno Mars stopped in Charlotte last night on his Moonshine Jungle Tour, and as far as I'm concerned, the singer-songwriter known to jump genres is working to revive the lost art of sexy-but-classy R&B.

Dressed in a leopard print shirt and the straw hat worn by the old guy in Jurassic Park, Mars demonstrated that he's a new-school charmer channeling an old-school pimp. Is it his captivating smile? His rapport with his fans? The way he's perfected the two-step?

I don't know, but the girl sitting in the row in front of me nearly knocked me over from dramatically falling out in a daze as soon as the first chord struck for "Moonshine" (her boyfriend caught her, in case you were wondering). Mars' vocals are on point, yes - a concern since a couple of days ago he tweeted out a photo of cold medicine - but was it that serious? Had she been closer, I'm sure said fan would have thrown her panties on stage (or maybe not - again, her boyfriend was there).

Eh, who am I kidding? I've interrupted writing this review at least three times so far to sing along to various YouTube videos of Mars' songs.

About halfway through the show, the band, many of whom doubled as backup singers, dancers and hypemen, retreated into the shadows. It was the first time Mars truly stepped into the spotlight alone - surrounded by red lighting to set the mood, of course - and he took that opportunity to sample R&B hits from Aaliyah, Ginuwine and R. Kelly. Sexy songs, might I add.

Sure, many of Mars' songs are pop-y and playful (think, "Marry Me," "Billionaire" and "The Lazy Song," the last of which he did not perform), but the meat of his setlist on this tour is about love, lost love and love again. Classic R&B material.

In his introduction for "When I Was Your Man," he said it was "one of the hardest songs" to write, and "still is one of the hardest" to perform. Again, the girl in front of me practically fell out.

Setlist
Moonshine
Natalie
Treasure
Billionaire
Bam Bam / Show Me
Our First Time/Pony/Ignition
Marry You
If I Knew
Runaway Baby
Nothin' on You
When I Was Your Man
Grenade
Just the Way You Are

Encore
Locked Out of Heaven
Gorilla

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