Don’t let the baseball and basketball jerseys mislead you because singing superstar Bruno Mars’ sold-out concert on Thursday night at the Mall of Asia Arena had nothing to do with sports. It was all about swagger, funk, high-energy choreography and outstanding vocals from the world famous half-Puerto Rican-half-Filipino artist, who was born and raised in Hawaii before moving to Los Angeles to become a music icon.
Filling MoA to the rafters, Mars and his smooth and suave Hooligan band brought the house down in one big concert party from opening number “Finesse” to closing the show with crowd favorite “Just the Way You Are.”
One amazing act indeed, not once did Mars fall short of breath or falter in song despite a non-stop set list, each one delivered with incredibly complicated dance moves. In fact, it was the singer who gave his band a break as he segued into a couple of his hit ballads.
Just likable all around with a friendly persona and an easy-going way about performing, Mars also knew how to make his Filipino fans especially loved by talking about them in his spiels with familiarity. He told the Hooligans to expect the loudest and most awesome audience to meet them in Manila, which instantly got the entire arena on their feet singing and dancing along the critically-acclaimed “24K Magic World Tour” production.
The crowd went even wilder as Mars repeatedly replaced lyrics with the phrase “Mahal kita, Manila (I love you, Manila).”
Following an hour-and-a-half high energy performance, it would have done Mars and the Hooligans a world of good to rest easy in their hotel rooms, but after a couple of hours, they showed up again past midnight at a VIP after-party at City of Dreams’ jampacked Chaos bar. Despite the long wait, those who were given special access to the exclusive event by 24K Manila’s co-presenter, Smart Music Live, were up on their feet as Bruno and the boys fired up another party.
Mars sang a five-minute medley of his greatest hits such as “That’s What I Like,” “24K Magic” and “Locked Out of Heaven.” Warming up the stage before they arrived, meanwhile, was the hip-hop dance crew Jabbawockeez.
The VIP after-party was a rare treat for fans to get up close and personal with the singer who has sold more than a hundred million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time.
Local celebrities did not pass up the chance to see Mars perform live on his third visit to Manila with The Manila Times spotting the likes of Special Assistant to the President Bong Go; former senator Bongbong Marcos and his wife Liza; Zoren Legaspi, Carmina Villaroel and their twins Mavi and Casey; Vice Ganda and his crew; Film Development Center of the Philippines Chairman Liza Dino and partner Aiza Seguerra; and a pregnant Cristalle Belo Henares and her husband Justin Pitt at the MoA. Meanwhile, among those who arrived early at the official after-party were PLDT-Smart’s Chaye Cabal-Revilla and her congressman husband Strike Revilla; TV stars Joyce Pring and Ruru Madrid; and society scene’s Nico Bolzico and Tim Yap.
With tickets sold out since November 2017, the second night of Bruno Mars’ bombastic “24K Magic World Tour” in Manila unfolded Friday night at the MoA, where it is with certainty that this inimitable music man brought the house down all over again. WITH REPORT FROM IZA IGLESIAS / BY TESSA MAURICIO-ARRIOLA ON