Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2018
Bruno Mars, Dua Lipa
UK singer Dua Lipa may have had to cancel numerous appearances on her Australian tour due to emergency dental surgery, but she was in fine form as the final leg of the 24K Magic world tour kicked off, stomping around the stage in time to show opener Hotter Than Hell.
The drums overpowered her vocals somewhat in Dreams, but Lipa’s commanding stage presence keep the slowly filling arena at full attention.
“I wanna stay right here all night,” echoed the smooth, deep chorus melodies of Lost In Your Light – it was a sentiment echoed by all those hugging the barrier in GA.
Upbeat pop numbers driven by heavy sampling and booming, simple drum beats – like Blow Your Mind – made up the majority of the set, but it was when Lipa took a slight sidestep into piano-driven single Garden that the set truly hit its stride, with her full vocal range on show.
Crowd favourite IDGAF and set closer New Rules had punters Begging for more.
You can gauge the general demographic of a show by the amount of phone reception available, of which there was none by the time the lights dimmed for the headliner’s grand entrance.
A sensory overload commenced proceedings, with a flurry lights consuming the stage – most of which was covered in massive lighting panels – while thick, funky bass and ‘80s drum sounds welcomed Finesse.
Bruno Mars and his band shuffled side by side to the front of the stage through a thick fog and everyone in attendance knew they were in for one hell of a party.
A flurry of fireworks kicked things up a notch throughout 24K Magic; another whirlwind hit that had the audience struggling to keep up with its unexpected live turns.
The room was heating up, but Mars wasn’t going to let the final shows of his epic world tour unfold while half the venue was seated, demanding everyone was on their feet and dancing for Treasure.
Hip hop took focus during Perm and highlighted just how much of a group effort the production is, with Mars’ horn section, bassist and guitarist front and centre, delivering just as much energy as the “the original hooligan himself”.
As if his soaring vocals, charming swagger and killer style weren’t enough, Mars grabbed a guitar and began shredding in the bridge of Calling All My Lovelies, turning the romantic soul number into a screeching rock hit.
Mars didn’t need all the bells and whistles to impress, though, as evident during That’s What I Like and Marry You – both singles that lent mostly on their hooks and had the entire room bouncing around, fists in the air, screaming the lyrics.
The ’80s vibes were too real when ballad Versace On The Floor rolled around, complete with gut-wrenching sax solo and nostalgic key tones. It was one of few times, along with 2013 hit When I Was Your Man, Mars’ voice was given the sonic space it deserved.
“If you’re going to be quiet, we’re going to be quiet too,” he teased, bringing the music down to an almost inaudible level in Runaway Baby and dancing around in darkness.
His infectious energy remedied any weary souls quickly and by the time Locked Out Of Heaven and Just The Way You Arerolled around, Mars and co had already covered pop, rock, blues, soul, funk and more, delivering an insanely hectic two-hour performance that closed in style with Uptown Funk.