Most pop megastars end their shows with a firework display. Bruno Mars begins his show with one. It’s a clear statement of intent: the biggest circus ever is in town.
Bruno Mars, Glasgow Green ****
In fact, the pyrotechnics were so insistent during the first 20 minutes of this typically energetic performance from the hardest working man in showmanship, they actually set the lighting rig ablaze.
Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the ten minute delay, during which thousands of bemused fans stared at stagehands extinguishing the fire, rather spoiled the infectious momentum that Mars and his band The Hooligans had worked up during this unofficial climax to the TRNSMT festival.
Still, ever the pro, Mars improvised a funky chorus of “We burned the stage down in Glasgow!” before getting back on track with his slick harlequinade. Styled after the sock it to ‘em soul revues of James Brown – one of his key influences alongside Prince and Michael Jackson – a Mars gig is pretty much irresistible.
It’s easy to see why he attracts such a broad fan-base: everyone from children to grandmas were dancing on Glasgow Green tonight.
The Hooligans groove alongside him in syncopated formation like an instrument-wielding Temptations. Mars, a la Prince, plays amusingly OTT pyrotechnic guitar. His voice, a la Jacko, is mellifluous and gritty. His music moonwalks confidently between rock, soul, hip-hop, R&B and pure pop.
A charmingly self-aware ham, Bruno Mars is a born entertainer who makes most of his contemporaries look like Alan Bennett renewing his library card.