Turns out the only place that can one-up a party at the Hard Rock is the Hard Rock.
Everybody who’s anybody showed up Friday night to catch Maroon 5 rock a packed house at the culmination of a two-day grand-opening celebration that included the much-anticipated unveiling of the renovated Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood.
In stark contrast to the former 360-degree theater, the new 7,000-seat Hard Rock Live is an intimate clamshell design with two balconies, premium couch seating, VIP suites, and one hell of a sound system.
Drinks flowed as celebs such as Joe Perry, Johnny Depp, Morgan Freeman, Joe Manganiello, and Khloé Kardashian mingled with local glitterati for the unveiling of the $1.5 billion renovation project that has been more than two years in the making.
The Las Vegas-style resort offers high-end shops, gourmet restaurants, art galleries, lounges, a spectacular water sculpture, and a lagoon-style pool meandering around private cabanas in front of a neon-trimmed guitar-shaped hotel with a 20,000-foot fretboard made of lights.
But in the midst of the glitz, glamour, and light shows, the hottest ticket was for the sold-out Maroon 5 concert.
From the first notes of “What Lovers Do,” fans were on their feet dancing while Adam Levine, sporting a buzzcut and multicolored Pink Floyd T-shirt, strolled casually around the stage like he was just hanging out with a bunch of friends.
The audience took over singing during the catchy “This Love” while Levine, best known for a remarkable voice and pretty face, ripped out a guitar solo that confirmed his inequitable apportionment of ungodly talent.
“Misery” ended with a chest-pounding drum solo courtesy of Matt Flynn before Levine, jetting back and forth across the stage while waving his arms and riling up the crowd, lit up for “Sunday Morning” and “Animals.”
The band took it down a notch for “One More Night” and an aching rendition of “Cold,” which ended with some deep, harmonica-esque riffs by guitarist James Valentine.
“Maps” saw the guys kick back into high gear, followed by the edgy “Harder to Breathe,” which turned out to be the best song of the night.
Valentine dropped to his knees for a soulful guitar solo while Levine ricocheted brilliantly between rich tenor and sexy falsetto as fans screeched in comedic futility trying to hit the notes.
“Wait” was followed by “Makes Me Wonder,” during which Levine did an inviting hip swivel for his rabid female fans and performed an extraordinary vocal banter with Valentine’s guitar.
The ordinarily subdued Valentine got his funk on during a tease of the Rolling Stones' “Miss You” before the band broke into its final song, the number one "Moves Like Jagger.”
Levine took another guitar solo, and Valentine arched forward over his guitar in his best Keith Richards before lapping the stage and exiting.
There was zero chance of anyone leaving, and the guys returned fairly quickly with the heartfelt “Forever Young,” melding into their megahit “Girls Like You.”
Fans went nuts for the classic “She Will Be Loved” before the guys wrapped it up on a high note with an explosive version of “Sugar.”
Notably missing was the band’s latest smash single, “Memories.” Though they didn’t serve up the sentimental song, they did something even better: They let fans leave with some great ones.
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