It was a record attendance of 75,175 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on Thursday night, and Bruno Mars knew it.
From the moment he arrived on the dirt of Reliant Stadium in a longhorn-mounted, straight-out-of-the-80s limousine, throughout the duration of his 13-song set, the charismatic Honolulu-born singer-songwriter held the audience in the palm of his hand.
His trademark blend of Motown, pop, gospel, rock and reggae served as a welcome change from typical RodeoHouston concerts — although he admitted to being a fan of the genre.
Bruno Mars and his band — all just as handsome clad in plaid shirts, skinny jeans and Converse sneakers as they were in their slim-fitting suits during the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in December — know how to entertain.
Though he landed on the Billboard charts just over two years ago, between his hip thrusts and high notes and chorus of horns, Mars seems to fit comfortably somewhere between Michael Jackson and the doo-wop greats.
His trademark blend of Motown, pop, gospel, rock and reggae comes across better live than over the radio waves, and it served as a welcome change from the country acts typical at RodeoHouston concerts — although he admitted to being a fan of the genre on Thursday night.
After "Runaway" and before "When I Was Your Man" he dedicated "Young Girls" — a song that he called "my kinda country song" — to all of the heartbreakers and "those vicious Houston women."
It's easy to discount Mars as a pretty face, all fedora and perfect dimples and too-white teeth, but the truth is that his dance moves are formidable, his energy palpable and his sensibilities sort of inspired. Plus, he can apparently wail on the guitar.
By the end of the night, even as the band cruised through the overplayed "Grenade" and "Locked Out Of Heaven" and "Just the Way You Are," the audience continued to sway and scream.
Bruno Mars reminded them that he'd be back in town on August 15. Expect it to be another damned good show.