Bruno Mars’ August 14 stop at Austin’s Frank Erwin Center was all that fans anticipated it to be. Impressive that only three years and two albums into his career, the Bruno Mars ‘Moonshine Jungle World Tour’ tickets sold out at lightning speed and fans were ready for a evening filled with partying, crooning and dancing.
As the burst of wild animals and jungle sounds filled the arena, the brown ceiling-to-stage curtain with gold encrusted palm trees fell and brightly declared the start of the show. Accompanied with his eight bandmates, a cool and carefree Bruno Mars opened with ‘Moonshine,’ a fan favorite from his recent album ‘Unorthodox Jukebox.’ Parrots filled the jumbo screens and the tone was set for a momentous night, with Mars announcing ‘I want to see you all dancing and sweating.’ He asked people to enjoy the show rather than waste time taking pictures and videos, even exclaiming ‘I think I saw an iPad, what the hell is this sh*t?’ There was energy to spare as each men performed a flawlessly choreographed opening number, moving with a distinct mix of Four Tops, Michael Jackson and even some Elvis. Obvious from the start was that their sole purpose was to dazzle and entertain their fans. The visuals and pyros were great, but the showmanship, combined with Mars‘ glorious vocals, made this concert an evening to remember. The audience, mostly adoring females, was also comprised of couples on a date night, and entire families there to enjoy one last big ‘whoha’ before the start of the school year.
During his 100 minute set, Mars faithfully performed his most popular hits, including the ever beautiful piano ballad ‘When I Was Your Man,’ which explained was ‘the hardest song for me to write and by far the hardest song for me to sing.’ A giant disco ball came down at the beginning of ‘Nothing on You,’ and stayed for about three songs. Mars‘ explosive performance of ‘Grenade’ was filed with passion, sweat, and piercing spotlights. During ‘Billionaire,’ Austin fans cheered wildly when he sang ‘Every time I close my eyes, I see my name in Austin lights.’ There was a fair bit of chatty banter throughout the set and he thrilled a young woman in the front row by practicing some pick up lines with her. Although her name was clearly not Taylor, the exchanges went something like this: ‘What’s your name? Taylor? That’s great ’cause I was Taylor made for you.’
A standout highlight was the first encore where Bruno Mars opened with a drum solo from a raised platform and moved on to ‘Locked Out of Heaven,’ which got the entire house on its feet and Mars trading verses with the crowd. Before disappearing beneath the stage, glittery gold confetti exploded out of cannons and filled the Frank Erwin Center. It was a pretty magical effect.
Professional press photography is not allowed during the ‘Moonshine Jungle World Tour.’ Although many phone and point n-shoot photos were snapped throughout the evening, it was clearly discouraged. ‘Moonshine Jungle World Tour’ continues in the United States through September 1.
Frank Erwin Center Set List:
Money Make Her Smile
Our First Time
If I Knew / It Will Rain
Nothing On You
When I Was Your Man
Just the Way You Are
Locked Out of Heaven