Review of Maroon 5 show in Miami

Maroon 5 took the stage at Bayfront Park Amphitheater on Thursday, Aug. 19 in sweltering Miami-style heat. It seems heat is synonymous with Maroon 5 when they play Miami. They opened for The Police at Sun Life Stadium on a hot night in July 2007 and played the following afternoon at the venue formerly known as Studio A for an unplugged set in the middle of a sweltering afternoon. Lead singer Adam Levine remarked then “it’s so hot here in Miami, even the walls are sweating.” The fans of the pop-rock band were certainly sweating on Thursday night, but didn’t seem to mind as the group produced a show that was pitch perfect when it came to sound, energy and entertainment.

9:29 p.m.: Oh no. As the band takes the stage there are SIX guys out there. Isn’t this Maroon FIVE? I count again. Six. (We find out later that the silent sixth member is keyboardist PJ Morton who is touring with the band and looks like a younger version of DJ Jazzy Jeff.)

9:31 p.m: Maroon 5 opens with a sultry version of their new single “Misery”, followed by lead singer Adam Levine, wearing his trademark skiiiiiiiiny jeans (were they painted on?), grabbing a gold colored guitar and jumping right into “Harder to Breathe”.

9:41 p.m. The giant disco ball on the stage drops a little lower and with Levine on guitar and they break out another song from the forthcoming album – “Give a Little More” – with its very disco pop beats sure to be another Top 40 hit for the group.

9:46 p.m.: Ok it’s really hot now. So hot that Levine takes a quick break for a sip of some water from the strategically branded Maroon 5 water bottle (is it really just water in there?). As Levine greets the crowd, he takes off his yellow Hawaiian shirt and is now just wearing a white sleeveless tank-top (known in some circles as a wife-beater). Remarking on the heat, he urges people to disrobe and “do what you need to do to get comfortable.” It’s moments like these throughout the show where Levine’s charisma keeps the audience connected and makes for an entertaining show. A rare quality these days (i.e. Michael Buble at Bank Atlantic Center).

9:55 p.m.: After singing “The Sun”, in which he broke into Paul Simon’s “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, Levine apologizes for the yellow Hawaiian shirt he donned at the start of the show. “I was going for a cross between Christian Slater in True Romance and Jimmy Buffet,” he explained.

10 p.m.: An intense version of “Won’t Go Home Without You” opens with a comedic scene in which Levin is stopped in mid-acapella opening when a fan yells “Oh My God” as if she was a cast member of the TV show Gossip Girl. Levine stops, begins to laugh, then let’s the rest of us in on what tickled him, before starting the song over.

10:05 p.m.: It’s time for Maroon 5 Unplugged, as the group’s bass player (Mickey Madden) and drummer (Matt Flynn) head backstage (hope they sat on a block of ice to cool down) leaving Levine, guitarist James Valentine and the two keyboardists (Jessie Carmichael and PJ Morton). They open this part of the show by covering Alicia Key’s “If I Ain’t Got You”, followed by a super soulful version of “Secret”, which includes a quick version of Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

At this point the band is melting on stage from the heat. Levine remarks again about the heat, smells his armpit, and says “It is very… sexy out there.”

10:20 p.m.: Just before Maroon 5 Unplugged finishes up with “She Will Be Loved”, Levine remarks about how some guys in the audience are only there to impress the girls they brought in hopes of getting lucky later that night.(I think we saw a few women shove their dates at that point.)

10:30 p.m.: The final act finishes fast and furious as the draped backdrop floats to the ground, revealing an all out light show. Maroon 5 cranks “Wake Up Call” and “Shiver” and at that point the band has been playing non-stop for an hour.

10:34 p.m.: New Song alert: “Stutter” (from the upcoming album) could be an underground hit, but the crowd can’t really get into it as many are hearing the song for the first time. (On a side note, the heat has left the drummer looking like Alex Van Halen and the bass player as if he is either dying or just got out of his favorite spa’s sauna.)

10:40 p.m.: With someone in the front row holding a homemade sign that reads “Sunday Morning?”, the band finishes with rocking rendition of “This Love” and heads off the stage for 5 minutes before bolting back. And let me emphasize bolting because I don’t know what flavor Red Bull Levine may have sipped backstage, but he came out hopping around like a sweaty pogo stick.

10:55 p.m.: The disco ball has lowered, and the band breaks into Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” before going into “Makes Me Wonder”. However the slightly slower version of the song sounds a touch off, and Levine struggles with his voice just a touch before recovering nicely towards the end. Perhaps he needed some water? He did, as he guzzles about half a water bottle before finishing the show with “Sunday Morning”, at times looking like a soulful preacher each time he asked the fans to scream and keep scream. As they leave the stage, Levine peels off his t-shirt (looks like he’s been doing some P90-X workouts) and tosses what is essentially the sweat-soaked remnant of a Miami wet t-shirt contest into the crowd to a (lucky?) fan.

On the way out of the concert, one fan remarks the Maroon 5 show was too short. Considering they have only released two albums (not counting remixes and B-sides) and the third one doesn’t hit iTunes till Sept. 21, a concert of 17 songs from a library of 24 releases is pretty healthy.  And hot.


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