Monday, June 13, 2011

Bruno Mars Susquehanna Bank Center Concert Review

A couple months back I got the Live Nation nudge saying @brunomars was coming to see me. Being a fan of Bruno and knowing that it would be a rare chance for both me and the lady to enjoy one of our mutual favorites, it was something I couldn't pass up. I've seen four shows now at Susquehanna Bank Center and I still contend, the city that it resides in (Camden, NJ) is the literal armpit of the world. What other place closes pharmacies and Dunkin Donuts on a Saturday night at 5PM, dude? Hmm wonder why...oh yea that's right, they've still got top billing for America's most dangerous city.

City and ridiculous parking fees aside ($25 to park in a lot close to the venue), the venue isn't terrible. As a sidebar, I U-turned from that lot, said kick rocks to the parking attendants and opted for the $1 hour meters about two blocks up. Definitely bring quarters folks, it pays...literally. I'll say too, I definitely prefer the indoor concerts rather than the outdoor, lawn shows because the entire one mile area surrounding the venue becomes one big cluster F word when that many people are allowed in.
As far as the show is concerned, I caught most of @4PLANB's set, which was interesting. I had heard a lot of buzz about him from a few folks who subscribe to the monthly song list and I get why he has a niche. His combination of live band with a some Hip Hop and Contemporary is a testament to his talent as an artist. I'll be looking out for his stuff from now on because he's an intriguing act.

The second opener, @janellemonae is crazy, super, uber talented and unique in every single way. The show she puts on is hard to sleep on, just like the out of this world vocals she's been blessed with. I wouldn't consider myself a fan of her music, the music she makes doesn't appeal to me all that much, but goood lawd she can rock a set. In other words there is good reason why award shows like the Grammys are cool with her performing, despite the fact you probably haven't heard much of her music.
Finally, the main attraction came, fairly shortly after Janelle, which was much appreciated. Nothin' worse than having to wait like an hour between acts, that's why you hire folks to work the set changes. Off top Bruno brought the noise, opening with his track The Other Side. Semi-dope opener, not exactly my favorite track or the most energetic, but it did the job.
To sum it all up, I kept thinking to myself what track do I really want him to play? Sure I knew he'd play the hits like Grenade (below), Just the Way You Are, Nothin' on You/Billionaire(hooks) and The Lazy Song, but there were a lot of fillers too like Liquor Store Blues and Our First Time. Hearing the song Marry You in concert really made me feel like I was surrounded by thousands of teenie boopers, which was a little alarming. It wasn't all bad though, I gained a stronger appreciation for tracks like Count on Me and Runaway Baby, which were executed really well.
Bruno Mars - Grenade (live)

What took an otherwise pretty decent show to a show worth talking about was his encore selection. Nothing shows how in tune an artist is with their fan base than first of all making sure one of your most appreciated songs isn't a single and then furthermore, rewarding the audience by playing it as your encore. If you're not sure which song I'm talking about, you haven't read much of what I've said about Bruno in the past.
Bruno Mars - Talking to the Moon (live)

I can't think of any better way to end a concert if you are Bruno Mars that to close with Talking to the Moon. Serious, serious, SERIOUS dap needs to be given to him for not making that track a single and letting us all appreciate it that much more, rather than feeding it to the ravenous masses who would have chewed it up and spit it out when they move on to the next thing the record companies want them to indulge in. Sure, like most concerts I really wished he would have played a couple tracks like Today My Life Begins, Her World Goes On and Killa on the Run, but that's just me being picky and enjoying good demo tracks that need to (eventually) be put on albums. I'd definitely recommend seeing Bruno live, he's a safe bet all things considered, especially if you want to include the family in on the action. Can anyone say follow up album??


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