Nonstop Honolulu’s Amanda Stevens and Tyson Joines both were among the lucky thousand who snagged tickets to Bruno Mars’ Friday concert at Blaisdell Center. Both loved the show; here are their top moments:
1. Musicianship: I realize listing “musicianship” as a stand-out moment seems extremely vague, but it needs to be addressed. His musicianship as a male performer is unmatched in the current market. I can’t think of another artist out there right now male or female, who writes their own music; can play the drums, guitar, and piano; dance nonstop for two hours; AND hit every one of his notes. Yes, there’s Justin Timberlake; yes, there’s Pharrell, but neither have the personality, musical ability or stage presence that Bruno does.
2. Disco fever: If you’re able to attend a show during Bruno’s Moonshine Jungle Tour, you can expect to dance under an enormous disco ball for two hours. The first thing my eyes were drawn to when I walked into the Blaisdell Arena was a giant silver disco ball suspended from the rafters. It doesn’t get utilized until about an hour into his show, but when it starts spinning and the spotlight hits it, the predominantly dark arena turned into a bumping dance floor. Not to mention at the end of the concert it drops gold confetti on the crowd beneath it for a solid minute, while he kills his hit song, “Locked Out Of Heaven.”
3. Hit after hit: Whichever Bruno you’re in the mood for, whether it be sensitive, “When I Was Your Man” ballad Bruno, or upbeat “Treasure” doo-wop Bruno, he has something in his repertoire for everyone. His string of hits goes on and on, and he definitely didn’t disappoint with his set list.
4. Ho howzit Aunty?! Bruno knew exactly where he was this weekend, and he took every opportunity to milk his home state crowd. He used Pidgin every chance he had when addressing the audience, and even went as far as changing the lyrics to his song, “Billionaire.” The lyrics normally read, “I wanna be on the cover of Forbes Magazine,” but Bruno cheekily changed it to, “I wanna be on the cover of Midweek Magazine,” to thunderous cheers from the crowd.
5. Hana hou! The audience definitely let him know we weren’t ready to let him leave when he finished performing. Bruno took his bows, threw out a shaka and left the stage, but the audience wanted more. I knew he had to have at least one hana hou up his sleeve, because he hadn’t performed some of his biggest hits yet, but for him to come back a second and a third time on top of that, really pumped up the crowd.
Following the fervor of this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance, it’s no surprise that local boy Bruno Mars’ Moonshine Jungle concert would sell out in Honolulu, but boy did it sell out quickly. I was fortunate to get tickets, slightly above face value, but I must say the Bruno Mars concert was definitely worth it. Let me break it down:
1. Bruno’s talented ohana: The Love Notes featuring Bruno’s dad, Peter Hernandez, opened the concert and energized the stage with Latin beats; also at the end of the night Bruno’s brother/drummer, Eric Hernandez, was introduced to the audience. The crowd had tons of aloha for both.
2. Bruno backstage: Our seats in section G risers were close to the stage and so close to backstage that I could hear Bruno and his band the Hooligans cheering before they ran on stage. That was cool.
3. Crooning tips: Bruno gave the guys in the audience tips on how to croon the ladies and added his local flavor. He said, “…guys, if she’s from Waianae, say ‘Howzit Auntie.’” The crowd went nuts.
4. Favorites: It’s hard for me to say which were my favorite songs — they were all strong — but “Just the Way You Are” was super engaging, and the crowd really got into it and sang along with him through the whole song.
5. Hot and sexy: Bruno and the Hooligans brought on their “sexy.” The temperature seriously got turned up when Mars and the Hooligans covered Ginuwine’s “Pony.” There was a lot of bump-and-grind hip action on stage, and again, the crowd really got into it. Hmmm, wasn’t that the same song that Channing Tatum “danced” to in Magic Mike? Just sayin’.
7. Hana hou! No one moved after the “final song,” knowing, with all of that crazy energy from Mars and his band, there had to be more. It was a constant roar and “hana hou!” They did not disappoint; they came back on for a few more songs and let the pyrotechnics ignite – an epic ending to a great concert.