Review: Maroon 5 @ 02 Apollo, Manchester

Kelly Murray enjoys The Adam Levine Show... oh sorry - Maroon 5 - at Manchester Apollo and, egos aside, is drawn into a saucy romp through a back catalogue of catchy hits.

Jayne Robinson

Date published: 4th Mar 2011

Date: 21/02/11

Reviewed by: Kelly Murray

There's no fancy backdrop behind the men of Maroon 5 tonight, no emphasis on digital scenery or giant videos of their most popular songs. But of course, they wouldn't have any distractions while singer Adam Levine is on stage. Donning very skinny jeans (the painted-on, reproductive organ-crushing kind) he's beaming a smile so smug that it's almost uncomfortable - for us, anyway. The majority of the crowd is on the verge of fainting, as Levine opens his mouth and unbuttons his shirt ready for some serious flirting "Hello ladies...!" we hear, instead of the standard "Hello Manchester!", which might be fine for the mums and tweens, but a bit of grit between the teeth would go a long way to prove a more sincere connection with the mixed crowd. 

Opening with 'Misery',  the frustratingly catchier-than-lice-at-a-yeti-orgy unashamedly pop extravaganza, even has the doting boyfriends dancing in the dark. 

We hear all the hits tonight; 'She Will Be Loved', gains the lover's appreciation, as does 'Harder To Breathe', only in a more X-rated fashion. And so the fun begins; rating songs between PG, PG13 and R depending on how many references to sex there are ("No profanity"), Levine only leaves room for talk of intimacy via cheesy lyrics. Now, the whole shirt comes off, revealing a white t-shirt and a small display of tattooed arms. 'Won't go Home Without You' and 'Sunday Morning' are charmed; with the rest of the band (if you don't know what they look like, it's because they're never allowed to star in a video: that's strictly Levine kissing supermodel time), look smart and professional, the way you'd expect any session musician rock band to look.

But for a real-life band, chemistry seems fairly absent. During the slower portions, the result of a down-tempo set list equates to pure boredom, though Levine's choice of attire does definitely help the falsetto arrangements. A cover of 'If I Ain't Got You' by Alicia Keys is turned into a sexy soul number and their own song 'Secret' incorporates a cover of 'What's Love Got To Do With It' by Tina Turner, which undoubtedly makes it more interesting. Shame Levine can't growl like the lady herself, though. 'Wake Up Call' plays out to highlight effect and the electro fizz of 'Makes Me Wonder' reinforces the dirtier elements of Levine's song-writer min. 

After almost ninety minutes of sweating, smirking and sliding under the Apollo's flashing lights, LA's Maroon 5 end on breakout single 'This Love', which needless to say, is taken over by audience participation.

It's a predictable goodbye after a mostly fun night, but where ego meets fans, it's always nice to acknowledge the place that support comes from... after all, the stage would be empty otherwise. 

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