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I recently went to see Bruno Mars take his “Moonshine Jungle” tour to Manchester, supporting his latest album Unorthodox Jukebox. What’s a Moonshine Jungle? Don’t know, but it’s bloody brilliant whatever it is.
Mars’s vocal performance is second-to-none. A contemporary combination of Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, Mars is a par with Michael Bublé, who up until now was the best live vocalist I’ve seen. He hits every note perfectly, but plays around with some of the lines as a constant reminder: “This is live music. I’ve not pre-recorded this. Look how good I am.” The set list itself is perfect. He does all his best songs (which, it turns out, is the majority of his two extremely consistent albums), songs by other artists he has substantially featured in like Billionaire and Nothin’ On You, and the odd cheeky cover.
As well as being musically on-the-money, the show really is visually engaging. Blasts of smoke, golden confetti, huge gorilla heads, and of course, other performers. “The Hooligans” are a combination of Mars’s band and dancers – they fill the music out with solid harmonies, but also perform quite brilliant choreographed dances, which Mars leads of course. He would probably be able to hold the stage on his own, but with their support, there really is no issue keeping every audience member engaged, even in such huge venues.
So he’s a great singer, a great dancer, what else can he do? (As if that wasn’t enough). The Moonshine Jungle tour sees Mr Mars play electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and a huge drum solo which really does hammer home that this man is more than a singer: he’s a musician. I have to say that I was slightly disappointed we didn’t see him take to the piano as he does on the video for When I Was Your Man (especially considering you can’t have listened to the radio for more than twenty minutes this year without having heard it), but this was one minor complaint that soon got lost in a night of quality music and absolute entertainment. This was the first time I have queued up early to get near the front and I have to say it made it a lot more enjoyable than most of the gigs I’ve been to – I didn’t have to look at the screens once and was so close to Mars I could count the beads of sweat on his head (not that there were many).
Bruno Mars is one of the only artists in the mainstream charts that I actually enjoy listening to and the Moonshine Jungle tour really did reinforce how brilliant his songs are and how talented he is. I am even more confident now that he has a successful future ahead of him, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.