Bruno Mars Reliant Stadium March 7, 2013
We live in a world where a "singer" can be successful without actually knowing how to sing. Think about that for a second. Then think about why we allow that to happen.
In the Internet age, we are less interested in the strength and beauty of a singer's voice than in the crazy outfit or antics he or she will throw up next. Never mind that every pop song contains the same four chords, or that it takes a team of ten songwriters to pen lyrics that are less eloquent than love notes written in the diary of some middle-school girls.
And then... we have Bruno Mars. The Hawaiian-born singer-songwriter is one of the exceptions in the wasteland of pop music that we endure today. He is a true "diamond in the rough," with a million-dollar smile and the dance moves that would make Baryshnikov jealous.
And yes, ladies and gentlemen, this "singer" exhibits a vocal ability that sounds even better live than on the radio, which is especially challenging in an arena as cavernous and enormous as Reliant Stadium.
Dressed casually in a checkered shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes, Mars motored to the stage Thursday in a stretched white Cadillac limousine, complete with a longhorn hood ornament. As he opened the door and stepped onto the revolving stage, the roar of cheers pierced through the air and rumbled the roof, louder than even the reaction to a Houston Texans touchdown during a playoff game.
His set began with a run-through of the singles from his latest album, Unorthodox Jukebox, beginning with "Moonshine," then continuing with "Natalie," "Treasure," and "Show Me."
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Great songs, to be sure, but the show began in earnest with the Travie McCoy song "Billionare," which was co-written by Mars and was among the first to showcase his vocal talents. The song was mashed up live with the oldie "Money (That's What I Want)" that ended with a Marty McFly/Back to the Future-ish guitar solo that concluded with Mars on his knees.
Mr. Mars is not exactly the most attractive dude ever, but I can certainly understand his appeal. The confidence he exudes, his smooth voice and his extraordinary dance moves make him a catch. He is the total package, a "five-tool player" in baseball-speak.
At certain points in the evening, we saw him channel his inner Michael Jackson, then transition into his inner James Brown. "Dat boi good!"... as they say.
There was much dancing and singing in the stands all night. A friend told me she was surprised that she knew the words to most of the songs. He ended the night with a trio of his most successful singles: " Grenade", "Locked Out of Heaven," and "Just the Way You Are."
"... 'cause you're amazing, Houston! Just the way you are!" he crooned as he left the stage.
We think you're pretty amazing yourself, kid.
Personal Bias: You mean there are still real musicians in this world who can actually sing, dance and play multiple instruments?! Very well, then. Go 'head with your bad self, Mr. Mars!
The Crowd: Young girls whose screaming may have punctured my eardrum, and about 75,175 fans in total (a new RodeoHouston attendance record!).
Overheard in the Crowd: "This is like one enormous episode of [hit Fox TV show] Glee!"
Random Notebook Dump: I hate traffic. Because of you, I didn't have time to eat a turkey leg last night.
Mutton Bustin' Report: Them sheep sure were slippery last night. Shout-out to the kid who ate a face full of dirt. And that other kid who made me want a kid just so he could say, "I love you, daddy" just like he did last night.
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