Bruno Mars and Janelle Monáe played a sold-out show at Seattle's WaMu Theater Thursday, June 2.
Bruno Mars may have started out impersonating Elvis, but now Mars’ fans mimic him.
Thursday night at WaMu Theater, gaggles of teens, moms and elementary-school kids were decked out in fedoras, Mars’ signature look. They screamed out for their idol, and at one point wouldn’t even let him finish singing — they were that hysterical.
He was worthy of hysterics.
His delivery of the No. 1 single “Just the Way You Are” with its chorus of “You’re amazing/just the way you are” intoxicated the fans, feeding the love-starved like truffles. The sold-out house sang along to the whole song.
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Not all of his tunes were romantic (case in point — “The Lazy Song” — about goofing off all day), but Mars came across as quite the Romeo, serenading a female fan and complimenting the ladies out that night.
Mars also proved a consummate performer, turning on the charm full blast with jokes, though he had none of the usual trappings of a pop star — costume changes, huge band or dancers.
Mars’ musical influences reflect his upbringing in Hawaii, where Elvis and reggae rule. The 25-year-old even played ukulele on “Count on Me.” His dancing was also obviously influenced by Michael Jackson.
Mars was a new-school version of old school, much in the same vein as his opener, Janelle Monáe. Both danced like Jackson and James Brown and sang songs in styles their parents would have loved. Monáe’s highlights were a stripped-down “Smile” that featured her powerful pipes and her take on The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.”
The rest of her show should have taken a cue from Mars. It was frenetic, with a mess of musicians and dancers onstage. Although they were wearing black and white, the duotone effect was lost in the chaos. It was a shame, because when Monáe did slow down and sing with just a guitarist on “Smile,” she shone.
Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or email@example.com