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Bruno Mars and the Hooligans wasted no time kicking off this year’s Wango Tango, jumping right in with the hit “Locked Out of Heaven” from the record, Unorthodox Jukebox. Mars and company owned the stage, mixing all genres of music with soulful yet suggestive choreography. This was possible because the band included a full rock setup and a brass section.
The confident front man sang while walking down the runway in front of the stage; his band following right behind him. You could immediately see how Mars’ music and on stage persona took from all styles of music and artists, such as Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Prince, and the Police.
PHOTOS: Bruno Mars takes the stage at Wango Tango
The hot sun didn’t slow Mars’ up-tempo set as the band played a medley of Barrett Strong’s “Money (That’s What I Want) and “Billionaire,” a song Mars recorded with Travie McCoy. During the medley, the multitalented Mars sang while shredding his guitar. As soon as “Billionaire” ended, the band’s drummer counted off “Runaway Baby” from Mars’ first album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans.
The front man then called for a breakdown and went into his best “Godfather of Soul” dance. The band’s drummer dropped his retro break beats and the band jumped in with quick bursts of music while running all over the stage.
The band walked off stage to catch their collective breath, while Mars and his keyboardist played Mars’ newest single, “When I was Your Man.” The entire stadium was quiet for most of the song, feeling every word that came out of the singer’s mouth. That silence was broken and the crowd went crazy when Mars started holding out long notes and going into falsetto. As Mars cut off the last note, the stadium echoed from side to side with cheers not normally heard for opening acts.
The band stepped back on stage to close the set with Mars’ first hit, “Just the Way You Are.” The audience sang along through the end of the track, when they were called on to sing the chorus while the band listened. Mars thanked the crowd, said goodbye and ran off stage. The band went into a soul break down and held out the last note as if they didn’t want to leave the stage. The crowd didn’t want the band to leave, but the show had to go on.