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Bruno Mars' Moonshine Jungle Tour in Miami: Sweet Serenades and Lots of Thrusting

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Bruno Mars

Moonshine Jungle Tour

With Fritz & the Tantrums

American Airlines Arena, Miami

Friday, August 30, 2013

It all started with the steady, pounding bass and jungle-like beat of the drums.

As ladies in tribal-printed leggings, floral blouses, and tight royal blue dresses, and dudes in black blazers, blue paisley button-downs, and boating shoes roared, a black curtain embroidered with golden palm trees fell to the ground. And there was Bruno Mars, standing in the middle of the smoky stage, making sweet lyrical love to the mic.

The crowd was already hyped from an energetic and charismatic performance by Fritz & the Tantrums, but when Mars and the Hooligans started jammin' to "Moonshine," fans lost it.

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"Welcome to the Moonshine Jungle tour," Mars said with a pearly-white smile as he gazed out at the jam-packed American Airlines Arena.

"We've been waiting a long time to play for you, Miami, so get your asses up!" he hollered, before going on to perform a smoothly choreographed "Treasure" with the doo-woppin' she-boppin' Hooligans.

After strumming on the guitar to a swing-turned-reggae medley of "Money (That's What I Want)" and "Billionaire," Mars cranked up the freak when he rose on a pedestal and thrust his hips to "Show Me" and a mash-up of old-school sex jams including Aaliyah's "Rock the Boat," Ginuwine's "Pony," and R. Kelly's "Ignition."

Mars teased the crowd some more with swing/gospel/funky twists on hits off Doo-Wops & Hooligans and Unorthodox Jukebox, and showed off his smooth, Michael Jackson-like dance moves.

"This is the part of the show where I gotta find a girl and talk to her," teased Mars. "I'm gonna walk like this, old school," he said as he glided, step by step, to the edge of the stage.

"First, fellas, lemme let you in on a little secret. In R&B, you don't need to know how to sing or dance -- all you have to do is say the word 'damn.' That's it! I've been doing it for ten years and trust me, it works."

Words weren't enough, so Mars gave a demo, and damn, was he right.

"Ladies, I'm so lonely. I just want someone to talk to," he added before picking out one lucky chick from the front row, Melanie.

"Sometimes, after a show, my body gets very weak. But with a smile like that, I can sing all night," Bruno jokingly told Melanie before serenading to her.

After delivering smooth pick-up lines that will only work if you're Bruno Mars and the Hooligans (e.g. "Girl, you're so fine, I'll lick the bottom of your Miami feet"), the pop prince slipped into "Runaway Baby," followed by more hip thrustin' and two-steppin'.

It was during "Grenade," though, when Mars really showed off his talent as a musician and performer, going riff crazy on the electric guitar and hyping the crowd some more, before dedicating the last song "Just the Way You Are" to the 305.

"Thank you so much, Miami," Mars shouted, blowing kisses to the fans and introducing the Hooligans, one by one, to the audience. Then he and the crew did some "R&B poses" and walked out.

Mars may have said the show was over, but his fans knew better. Moments later, a live instrumental version of Baauer's "Harlem Shake" started up with yours truly, Bruno Mars, on the drums.

With confetti falling from the ceiling during "Locked Out Of Heaven" and fire, sparks of fireworks, and flashes of light bursting from the stage to "Gorilla," the show came to an end.

It was a fairly short concert (considering Mars performed only 14 original hits) and a few popular songs were left out, including "The Lazy Song" and a full performance of "It Will Rain."

But after experiencing an entire evening of Bruno Mars, and how he captivated the audience with hip thrusts, smooth crooning, and dance moves, he made us feel like we were locked out of heaven.

Critic's Notebook

Bruno Mars' Setlist:

-"Moonshine"

-"Natalie"

-"Treasure"

-"Money (That's What I Want)"/"Billionaire"

-"Show Me"

-"Marry You"

-"If I Knew"

-"Runaway Baby"

-"Nothin' On You"

-"When I Was Your Man"

-"Grenade"

-"Just the Way You Are"

Encore

-"Harlem Shake"

-"Locked Out of Heaven"

-"Gorilla"

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