Concert Review: The Moonshine Jungle Tour Featuring Bruno Mars And Fitz And The Tantrums

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(PCM) It saddens me that more people were not up and moving early on during Fitz and the Tantrums amazingly energetic performance opening up for Bruno Mars in Philadelphia, PA. They are such a fun band to witness live and after seeing them at several large outdoor festivals over the years such as Voodoo Experience and Firefly Festival it was quite a treat to see them perform in a large arena such as The Wells Fargo Center. They create such an amazingly large sound, even surprising us with a cover of The Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams” full of brass and of course lots of sass leading to a full on call and response from the crowd finally getting everyone moving.  The band then launched immediately into their current single “Out of My League” and closed out their set with “Money Grabber” and one of my personal favorite of the new album “More Than Just A Dream”,  ”The Walker”. The band jokingly called out to the crowd “This is where the “mother f**king dance party will begin” and that it did with balloons and beach balls being tossed around the floor and vocalists Fitz and Noelle gyrating all over the stage. I wish I could be blessed with one tenth of the rhythm of this band. It was the perfect opening performance to have the crowd amped and ready for Bruno Mars to take the stage.

We had a chance to catch up with Fitz and The Tantrums co-vocalist and songwriter Noelle Scaggs to chat about the band’s latest album “More Than Just A Dream”, the band’s musical style and direction and some fun stories about a few tracks off the new album. Listen to the full interview below:

Jungle rhythms played before Bruno Mars graced the stage decked out in a fabulous red leisure suit looking very Jackson 5- ish with his full live band in tow looking just as dapper as they launched into  the opening song “Moonshine” followed by “Natalie” and then “Treasure”. The performance was incredibly well-choreographed and it was quite apparent that a ton of time and energy was spent on the production elements for this tour. In fact, even Bruno Mars himself was urging the crowd, made up of mostly young teens with the cell phones held high in the air, to put down the phones and actually spend some time getting into the music and the show.

I am running the risk of sounding a bit opinionated here, but I could not agree with Bruno more on this issue. So many fans are missing absolutely fantastic moments and the chance to actually feel the music and energy that is pouring forth from the stage because they are too busy trying to get the best camera phone pic or video and end up watching most of the showing hiding out behind a glowing phone screen. This is absolutely not the best way to enjoy a show and I am happy to hear more and more artists such as Bruno Mars beginning to shed some light on the issue by calling these “camera fans” out from the stage.

The fun and engaging retro vibe of this show was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed jamming out to the rest of the evenings set list which included “Money That’s What I Want” mashed together with “Billionaire” and a fun version of the Soul For Real song “Candy Rain” which Bruno performed spot-on!  Things began to get hot and heavy with Bruno’s steamy spotlight performance of “Our First Time” mashed with Ginuwine’s “My Pony” and it definitely left everyone in the crowd quite hot and bothered, and we loved every minute. The timing of “Marry You” could not have been more perfectly balanced into the set and Bruno and the rest of the band had quite a bit of fun with a young lady in the crowd teasing her with some hilarious pick-up lines and lessons in R&B 101. My favorite had to be “Hi, baby…nice to meet you! I’m the guy on the ticket”, it was hilarious! Bruno Mars is an absolute powerhouse as a live performer and I took great joy watching him not only sing but also play many various instruments throughout the evening such as both electric and acoustic guitar as well as drums.  This man can really do it all!

Bruno’s main set wrapped up with all of the hits such as “When I Was Your Man”, “Grenade”, and “Just The Way You Are” and his encore consisted of “Locked Out Of Heaven” and “Gorilla”. All in all it was a fabulous night of good times and great music and I highly recommend checking out the tour when it hits your city or town.

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