They don’t call him the hardest working man in showbiz and one of the greatest entertainers, as well as performers of this generation for no reason. Closing out day two of Lollapalooza on the main Grant Park stage, as one of the headliners, Bruno Mars, gave what was easily the best performance of the festival so far and one of the most explosively entertaining in the festival’s 27-year history.
With was easily one of the biggest crowd of the weekend so far, if not the absolute biggest, Bruno came out sporting a Scottie Pippin Chicago Bulls jersey and shorts with his signature fedora, while his The Hooligans bandmates all sported their own vintage Bulls or All-Star Bulls related jerseys like the teams championships run in the 90’s. Which was quite appropriate since Mars and his bandmates, just like Michael Jordan and those 90’s Bulls teams sported some of the best players of all-time, Mars and his very talentedly superb band members are among the greatest musical players of our time.
Something Mars and his band doesn’t take lightly. Before they hit the stage letting you know they are here to entertain you and have a good time. As on the monitors by the stage a message, which reads in a vocoder voice blasts through as it also scrolls by the screen, saying, “You have waited so long, so long. It’s bout to get hot and sweaty. Are you ready to sweat? We came to rock this place to turn you on. Now let me hear you scream. C’mon let me hear you scream. C’mon let me hear you scream. Scream. Scream. Are you ready?”
Mars bandmates then emerging, before asking again if the fans are ready and bringing the man of the hour, Bruno out. Quickly going right into his two most popular records at the moment Finesse and 24K Magic. That quick 1-2 punch showing that Mars and his bandmates are just as explosive as the fireworks that went off. With their seemingly effortless showmanship to start and throughout much of the nearly one and a half hour set, unlike any you will ever see.
Judging by all the ear-to-ear smiles and waving hands in the crowd throughout the set, as Mars tapped into such hits as Treasure, Perm, Calling All My Lovlies, Chunky, That’s What I Like and Versace on the Floor. He had the crowd from the very beginning to end singing and dancing and grooving along with him and his band, as he mixed in a lot of great slick choreography, which seen him even mix in a little salsa, as he slide back and forth between popping dance moves and buttery slick crooning during, That’s What I Like. Even taking a knee with his backing singers for some Boyz II Men style serenading towards the end.
While outside of the occasional ballads, Calling All My Lovelies and When I Was Your Man or him and his band briefly turning, Treasure, into a sparkling R&B ballad, Bruno’s set was mostly uptempo and buoyant throughout. Him giving his bandmates a very rare break when he performed his memorable forever timeless classic and emotional ballad, When I Was Your Man. Which he had everyone in the crowd serenading and cooing the lyrics along with him.
Bruno and his bandmates would then close out with Locked Out of Heaven and Just the Way You Are. With the singer himself giving a brief speech about how he much he loved Lollapalooza and Chicago, all just for the way they are, no matter how young, old, misfits or out-of-place they may seem or believe they are. He would then go into the latter track to close out the night or would he?
After introducing all the members of his band and signing off, Bruno and his band would go backstage. Only for a brief minute or two, if that though. You know he couldn’t close out without coming out for an encore with his Hooligans of, Uptown Funk, despite it being a Friday night and not Saturday. That didn’t matter. Everyone in the crowd, who had started to walk off thinking he was actually over, quickly came back to sing and dance along the lyrics to Mark Ronson and his hit record. Before Bruno truly ended what was not only easily the best performance of Lollapalooza so far, but easily one of the best I ever seen. Even if it wasn’t the absolute best I personally ever seen at Lolla though. It was still one to remember and that many will probably be talking about for years to come.