Magic in the air as Mars begins Aust tour

Bruno Mars.jpg

A supplied photograph of Bruno Mars performing at Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, on Wednesday, March 7, 2018. (AAP Image/ Supplied by Live Nation)

Pop superstar Bruno Mars is on stage talking into a brick phone.

"Hey baby, I'm in Melbourne, right now."

The multi-award winning artist turns to the sold-out crowd at Rod Laver Area on Wednesday night, the first of his Australian shows on his 24K Magic world tour, for a tip on pronunciation.


His heaving mass of followers offer some advice, and he starts again.

"Remember that time you said you wanted to go to the Bahamas or Paris? I was like, nah f**k that, we're going to Melbourne," he says, to cheers before launching into Chunky.

Decked in sports gear and white Nikes, Mars and his coterie of singers and dancers look like they've just come from shooting some hoops.

But instead the slam dunk they deliver is a high energy, hit-laden show that runs for almost two hours.

The funk and soul singer jumps, slides, gyrates, bounces and bodyrolls across the stage.

The arena spectacular carries all the bells and whistles of a big show but the stripped back version of When I Was Your Man is where Mars really shines as his never-failing voice, honeyed and soulful, mourns about his baby dancing with another man.

Not that he has much to fret about with the level of female adoration on display on Wednesday night.

Fancy footwork and singalong hits came with That's What I Like, Versace On The Floor and 24K Magic, all taken from the album named for the latter which won three Grammys in January.

He rounded out the set with older hits, the toe-tapping Runaway Baby and Locked Out of Heaven, as golden confetti showered the crowd.

The concert was a nod to the 1980s with a disco-lit stage, rising purple smoke, and electric guitar and saxophone solos.

Mars also took his cues from James Brown and Michael Jackson.

He may have got his start as a four-year-old Elvis impersonator on his father and uncle's Hawaiian variety show, but years on Mars is still borrowing moves from the man they called the King.

If the screams and reaction to encore Uptown Funk, his monster 2014 collaboration with Mark Ronson, were any indication, his showmanship didn't disappoint.

Mars plays three more shows in Melbourne before heading to Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

© AAP 2018