Star called Bruno Mars drops in on Lake Tahoe

STATELINE — Bruno Mars is today’s quintessential pop star.

The 28-year-old had a sold-out Lake Tahoe crowd in a frenzy even before the curtains rose to reveal against a smoky white backdrop a silhouette of Mars flanked by his eight-man crew of dancers and musicians.

Media were not allowed to photograph the Bruno Mars show at Lake Tahoe.
Media were not allowed to photograph the Bruno Mars show at Lake Tahoe.

“Wake up, Tahoe,” he shouted, giving a warning shot to the first of several bomb bursts. The performance to more than 7,300 fans was explosive. “We’ve been blessed with such beautiful weather. It would be a shame if we didn’t move … and sweat.”

The Aug. 14 concert announced at the time of Mars’ Super Bowl appearance was the quickest to sellout in the summer concert series which includes Aerosmith, Lady Gaga, Zac Brown and the Eagles, at the Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys. Top ticket prices listed at $199.50. Last night’s crowd was the largest of the summer.

The native of Hawaii is an American pop icon who wore a red, white and blue Hawaiian shirt, leather shoes, no socks and a Stetson Professor hat. He played most of his greatest hits in a 17-song, 98-minute performance to adoring fans illuminated by a giant disco ball over the stage.

R&B, early rock ‘n’ roll, retro and modern soul, reggae and even a taste of cumbia were celebrated in a most sensual fashion. When Mars played “First Time,” the song included a refrain from Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” As the superstar chanted “grind it,” his well-dressed sidemen synchronically thrust there pelvises. Women and men screamed.

“He’s like Elvis,” one woman said. “He’s 50’s,60’s, 70’s and now, whoa!”

Mars also is compared to the King of Pop Michael Jackson.

Mari-Anne Saunders and her sister Patti celebrated her 60th birthday by visiting Las Vegas to see the Jackson tribute “One” by Cirque du Soleil. Two days later they rented a convertible Mustang and drove “Thelma and Louise” style to Tahoe. Coming across a hitchhiking Brad Pitt was an ancillary goal to attending a performance by Jackson’s predecessor.
The best-known songs came at the end.

“This was the hardest song for me to write and to this day the hardest one for me to sing,” Mars said before “When I Was Your Man.”

Then “Grenade” was accompanied by huge flaming torches and more explosions. The audience, which stood the entire show, sang along to “Just the Way You Are.”

Less than a minute after exiting the stage, Mars began the encore with a drum solo to recorded James Brown shouts. The full band returned for rousing performances of “Locked out of Heaven” and “Gorilla.”

A defining moment occurred earlier when Mars sang “Billionaire,” which opens, “I want to be a billionaire so fucking bad. I want to buy the things I never had.” In a narcissistic era of selfies and Facebook, Mars, whose hair was in a pompadour for his Billboard cover shot honoring him as Artist of the Year,” is a man for his time.

Bruno Mars
Moonshine Jungle Tour
Set List
Thursday, Aug. 14
Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys
“Moonshine”
“Natalie”
“Treasure”
“Money”
“Billionaire”
“Show Me”
“First Time”
“Marry You”
“If I Knew”
“It Will Rain”
“Nothin’ On You”
“When I Was Your Man”
“Grenade”
“Just the Way You Are”

Encore
Drum solo
“Locked out of Heaven”
“Gorilla”

 

 

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Picture of Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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