Bruno Mars Kicks Off His Tour With A Bang

Bruno Mars set on on his Moonshine Jungle Tour to promote his newest album, “Unorthodox Jukebox,” but at his first stop, he also reminded us of his immense talent and infectious personality.

“I’m hot as hell.” And in one line as he wiped his brow, Bruno Mars summed up his entire concert Saturday night at the Verizon Center.

I went into the concert with the feeling that I wouldn’t know too many of Mars’ songs. I have never purchased one of his albums, and while I keep his songs on when they come on the radio, I never called myself an avid Bruno Mars fan. In fact, as Fitz and the Tantrums warmed up the crowd, I considered just sitting down throughout the concert and enjoying the music.

But at 9:17 p.m, when the brown and gold palm tree curtain dropped to reveal Bruno Mars and The Hooligans dressed in matching red suits and singing “Moonshine,” I immediately found myself on my feet, screaming and hollering with the best of them.

This was the first stop of the Moonshine Jungle tour, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Mars sang hit after hit, from his first single, “Just The Way You Are” to tracks off of his newest album, Unorthodox Jukebox, like “Locked Out of Heaven” and “When I Was Your Man.”

Before performing the latter single, Mars took a few moments to reflect upon the writing process of the song. “It was one of the hardest songs to write and perform,” he told the crowd. Towards the middle of the performance, he appeared to tear up. Mars lost his mother this month and the raw emotion was obvious, allowing the audience to see past his suave and flirtatious persona.

The concert wouldn’t have been complete without Mars’ classic Michael Jackson-inspired dance moves, and as he and The Hooligans grooved to each track, I couldn’t help but sway and bounce right along with them. I was overly impressed with his vocals, which sounded even better in real life than on the radio, and I was happily surprised with the number of hits Bruno Mars has had within the four short years he has been signed to Atlantic Records.

As he thanked the stadium for coming and giving him a reason to get back on stage after the passing of his mother, I realized I never wanted him to leave the stage. Luckily, he returned for a three-song encore – including my new favorite off the album “Gorilla” – but even after an hour and twenty minutes, I wasn’t ready for the end.

In one word, “Moonshine Jungle” was infectious.

The tour continues on the East Coast before heading to Canada and the West Coast in July, the Midwest, and South in August, and finishing up with a European leg in September and October.

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