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 2017-04-19 - ft.com - Bruno Mars at the O2 Arena, London — a born showman

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MessageSujet: 2017-04-19 - ft.com - Bruno Mars at the O2 Arena, London — a born showman   Mer 26 Avr - 15:55

https://www.ft.com/content/8fb4db9e-24e8-11e7-a34a-538b4cb30025



Bruno Mars at the O2 Arena, London — a born showman

The singer’s ‘24K Magic’ show unfolded with clockwork precision




Bruno Mars on stage at the O2 Arena, LondonRead next Der Fliegende Holländer, Metropolitan Opera, New York — bland and wan new 36 minutes ago Bruno Mars on stage at the O2 Arena, London Share on Twitter (opens new window) Share on Facebook (opens new window) Share on LinkedIn (opens new window) 0 Print this page April 19, 2017 by: Ludovic Hunter-Tilney The staging had the trappings of the typical big-budget arena show, with more lights than Christmas and outbreaks of flames whose warmth could be felt up in row U, block 111. The poor drummer, sitting just in front of the mechanical inferno, must have been scorched. Sample the FT’s top stories for a week You select the topic, we deliver the news. Select topic Enter email address Invalid email By signing up you confirm that you have read and agree to the terms and conditions, cookie policy and privacy policy. In other respects, however, Bruno Mars’s show at the O2 Arena, the first of four at the venue, was not the usual wham-bam-pow spectacle. The action was limited to the main stage; there were no forays down catwalks or excursions to island stages. The Hawaii-born singer was backed by eight musicians who lived up to their James Brownian billing as “the hardest-working band in showbiz” with a fluent interlinkage of dance moves, backing vocals and musicianship. In essence, this was an old-fashioned funk and soul revue writ large. Mars led the line like a born showman. Raised in a stage family, at four he was working as a miniature Elvis Presley impersonator. After being signed then dropped by Motown Records as a young man, he worked as a songwriter and then a guest on other acts’ songs before graduating to solo stardom with his first album Doo-Wops & Hooligans in 2010. He is now touring his third album, 24K Magic, a pinpoint-accurate synthesis of old funk, R&B, pop and hip-hop styles. At the O2 Arena Mars spun and twisted through the reference points as fluently as his footwork. “Chunky” was pure Cameo, a splashy 1980s groove sung with fluting insistence. “Perm” paid tribute to James Brown with yowled vocals and horns. For the silky 1990s R&B pastiche “Calling All My Lovelies” he sang into a vintage brick-shaped mobile phone. With characteristic attention to detail, it was gold-coloured. The set unfolded with clockwork precision, from the synchronised twirls that Mars performed with his band to the fast but neat musical arrangements. Yet, for all the talent on display, the show was not quite as hot as the conflagration of pyrotechnics during “Grenade” suggested, nor the fake firefighters who came on stage with extinguishers at the end of megahit “Uptown Funk”. Mars has spoken of wanting to emulate Prince and Michael Jackson on his “24K Magic” tour. His abilities license the comparison. But judged on those terms, the show was two-dimensional. Every song was about love or sex, an unambitiously delineated conceptual space that made Mars’s tightly choreographed and arranged routines seem increasingly constricted. Busting moves is one thing; busting out beyond them is another.
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