Clad entirely in white, Adam Levine and the other guys in Maroon 5 could have stood on stage at the MidFlorida Credit Amphitheatre for 90 minutes without singing a note and the capacity crowd would not have minded, as long as sometime during that 90 minutes ADAM REMOVED HIS SHIRT.
Luckily, songs were actually played as Levine pranced around showing off his left-arm tattoos, leaving me to wonder why he wasn’t as proud of the ones on his right arm. Beginning with “One More Night” and taking no break before launching into one of its earliest hits, “This Love,” the band was tight, and Levine reminded the audience of adoring women (and a few men) that he is more than biceps and abs.
He is blessed with a ridiculously good voice when it isn’t obscured by electronics and the overproduction that reigns on their albums. In fact, concert Maroon 5 is far superior to radio Maroon 5, especially when guitarist James Valentine is allowed to take over, which he did early in the set on “Lucky Strike.”
While beach balls bopped overhead (remember when concert goers brought beach balls? Now bands bring them), Valentine reminded people that this is a band full of talented musicians in their own right. Levine seemed happy to let other members take the spotlight. However, crowd energy lulled anytime the focus was on anyone else.
Energy waned as the show went on and songs started to sound alike. Highlights included “Harder to Breathe” and a surprisingly spot-on cover of the classic Prince tune “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Unfortunately for this reviewer, the concert seemed eventually to devolve into a wet T-shirt contest in which Levine was the only contestant. Women began to scream, “Take your shirt off!” instead of singing along with the songs.
While many of the men seemed bored, the crescendo swelled as the shirt eventually came off, which caused a slight panic as women rushed to their seats and cameras began to flash. Was this opening night of “Magic Mike” or a Maroon 5 show?
Levine is at once Justin Beiber for the mothers of Beiber fans and Neil Diamond for the daughters of Diamond fans. Levine’s performance, especially on jazz ballads that show off his tenor such as “Sunday Morning,” was confirmation that he will have a successful second career as a Las Vegas crooner for this same crowd as they age together.
Kelly Clarkson is not your typical opener, but she was perfect for the Maroon 5 crowd. Manifesting an amazing amount of girl power and self-empowerment, she kept the crowd on their feet throughout her hit-laden set, which veered widely between church service, rock and roll, jazz, and country sets, all of which were successful.
Clarkson’s endearing personality and “aw shucks” demeanor was devoured by a crowd that was happy to sing her hits and listen to her funny comments and showed no signs of the impatience that is common with openers for popular bands.
Of course, when an opening act starts with “Stronger” and ends with “Since You’ve Been Gone,” two of the biggest hits (and better pop songs) of the decade, this is not a difficult task.