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5 thoughts on Maroon 5’s December 30 Mandalay Bay show

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Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine during a performance earlier this year at the MGM Grand Garden Arena during the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Maroon 5 returns to Mandalay Bay tonight for a NYE show at the hotel’s events center.
Photo: Steve Marcus

1. While the band mainly stuck to playing their numerous radio hits – and there have no doubt been many since debut album Songs About Jane’s 2002 release – the pop-rockers departed from their album cuts throughout, with vocalist Adam Levine’s subtle nuances and some serious guitar improvisation (“Shiver” included one killer solo). Maroon 5 gives you a reason to buy that ticket—a pleasant surprise, considering the numerous acts hacking it through with backing tracks (which didn’t seem to be apparent at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Monday night).

2. The sound was spot-on for the majority of the set, save for a few tracks (“Harder to Breathe,” “Misery” and set closer “Daylight”) where the band overpowered Levine’s vocals.

3. And that’s a shame, too, because Levine was on his vocal “A” game all night long. The man produces flawless falsetto, which was abundantly clear during encore “She Will Be Loved” and Prince cover “I Wanna Be Your Lover.” Other vocal standouts: “Sunday Morning” and “Won’t Go Home Without You.”

4. Levine proved to be an extremely effective frontman, working the arena’s massive stage throughout the show and often with a guitar strapped around his shoulder. Stage banter about songwriting (“You take risks sometimes and sometimes you f*ck up”), his vocal ability (“Most men don’t sing that high. I understand.”) and Vegas’ entertainment landscape (“There is the most amount of sh*t here to compete with! … So thank you for not going to see the other sh*t.”) produced sizable laughs from the crowd. And if you weren’t already aware: People’s “Sexiest Man Alive” is rocking one intense Freddy Mercury-esque ‘stache right now.

5. The one thing the set was lacking were more stripped-down, acoustic moments. Aside from the exposed opening of “Sunday Morning” and playing half of “She Will Be Loved” acoustic, the band offered a nonstop party soundtrack—which is perfect for New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, and coincidentally the band plays another show at the Mandalay Bay venue tonight. But with that in mind, here’s hoping we see another side of Maroon 5’s musicianship next time they take a Vegas stage.

Set list:

“One More Night”

“This Love”

“Lucky Strike”

“Tangled”

“Harder to Breathe”

“Sunday Morning”

“I Wanna Be Your Lover” (Prince cover)

“Makes Me Wonder”

“Shiver”

“Wake Up Call”

“Won’t Go Home Without You”

“Love Somebody”

“Misery”

“Get Lucky” (Daft Punk cover)

“Stereo Hearts” (Gym Class Heroes cover)

“Moves Like Jagger”

“Payphone”

“She Will Be Loved”

“Daylight”

Maroon 5 December 31, 7 p.m., $225.

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Mark Adams joined the Las Vegas Weekly in 2010 and now serves as the magazine’s web editor. You can also ...

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