No performer had yet to master the famous Elvis Presley hip thrusts or the reactions and shrieks that movement received. Then Bruno Mars came along.
With moves like the King of Rock and a smooth, creamy voice like the King of Pop, it’s no wonder the predominantly female audience Wednesday night was eating from the palm of his hands. And he played right into it.
“This is the part of the show when I gotta find one girl and talk to her,” Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, said as he glided across the Schottenstein Center stage to pick out a woman in the crowd.
After glancing to each side of the room, he fixed his stare on one woman and began his magic.
“Let me introduce myself. I’m the dude on the ticket. The guy on that big ass screen right there,” he told her. “Not to toot my own horn … but beep.” As he and his bandmates took turns out-suaving each other with pickup lines towards the audience member, it became apparent these men have mastered the art of being smooth.
The 27-year-old musician took the stage at about 9 p.m. with his eight-piece band, as part of the Moonshine Jungle tour, donning black, silk pants with a cheetah print silk shirt and fedora, to loud tropical-like sounds of jungle animals and African drums.
Mars kicked off his over 90-minute set with “Moonshine” and kept a ‘70s disco vibe with multiple choreographed numbers to each track. The singer-songwriter may have been the star of the show, but the group onstage interacted so well together, it was difficult to not think of bands such as The Jackson 5, The Bee Gees and Earth, Wind & Fire.
From a large, hovering disco ball onstage to the simultaneous group finger snaps, the show screamed Motown.
However, Mars’ songs, dance moves and stage presence pull from multiple eras. If it wasn’t ‘70s funk, it was reggae, ’50s rock or doo-wop.
Mixing genres and eras, strutting suave dance moves and belting smooth vocals – all while rockin’ a guitar at the same time. Yes, Mars did it all and then some.
Aside from a couple of missing songs, the set was nearly perfect. He ran through songs such as “Treasure,” “If I Knew” and “Runaway Baby,” but the crowd erupted for songs like “Grenade,” “Marry You” and “Billionaire,” paired with “Money (That’s What I Want).”
“I’ve written and sung a lot of songs, but this one was the hardest to write and sing,” Mars said before launching into an emotional performance of “When I Was Your Man.” It was hard not to feel entranced as his vocals reached a new height and he wiped tears from his face.
The band left the stage after “Just the Way You Are,” and just when you think the singing, dancing, guitar playing triple threat that is Bruno Mars isn’t astounding enough, he emerges from under the stage to play an epic drum solo before launching into the two-song encore.
OK, Mars. You win, I’m impressed.
The night then ended with a confetti-abundant “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Gorilla.”
Ellie Goulding opened the show, and as if her adorable English accent wasn’t enough to keep my attention, her energy was just as intriguing.
“I don’t have any backup singers or dancer as you can see, so you can help me out if you want,” Goulding said before singing “Anything Could Happen,” as she pounced around the stage shaking her blonde head around.
The audience seemed to enjoy her presence as well, at least for her final song “Lights.”
However, Wednesday night belonged to Mars.
Clearly an entertainer, he knows how to show a full arena a good time. If it wasn’t his thrusting, Presley-like hips, or his creamy falsetto, it was his Michael Jackson-inspired feet moving around the stage. I guess when it comes down to it, I can’t help but appreciate a musician who embraces the classics.