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Maroon 5 is a pop-music-making machine.
The band is adept at turning out songs that are ridiculously catchy and forever danceable, but with hints of heartbreak bubbling in their lyrics.
Their concert Friday night at Mohegan Sun Arena was machine-like, too — in a good way. It propelled forward with a breathless momentum. There was wave after wave of upbeat hits, with the group often stopping only briefly between songs to allow a bit of applause before powering up again. It was truly a concert without a lull.
Maroon 5 has been enjoying a major resurgence lately, and they bracketed the 90-minute show with two of their most recent — and biggest — hits: the smooth "Payphone" opened, and the jittery "Moves Like Jagger" closed. Cradled in the middle was the reggae-tinged "One More Night." Of course, they also worked in songs going back a decade to their breakthrough release, "Songs About Jane."
Even back in the "Jane" days, Adam Levine was a magnetic frontman, but his recent gig on "The Voice" has upped his popularity. Females in their teens and 20s overran the Sun Arena. Every time he walked to their side of the stage, a group of women responded with tsunamis of shrieks. At one point, Levine told the crowd how lucky the band feels to be able to play music for people who appreciate it. He said they thanked fans from the bottoms of their hearts. To which a woman behind me yelled, "Now take your shirt off!"
He did later on, although just stripping off a long-sleeved white button-down to reveal a white T-shirt underneath. Even that, though, elicited more arena-rattling squealing. All the musicians, by the way, were dressed in white, although Levine opted for some black footwear.
Aside from driving the ladies wild, Levine also — imagine this — sang. His distinctive, slightly nasal voice was in good form. The sustained high note he hit at the end of "Sunday Morning" was impressive, even for the falsetto-loving Levine.
If Levine was the star of the show, guitarist James Valentine was the best supporting performer, churning out some electric solos.
Maroon 5's stage was quite cool — an M-shaped configuration that lit up on command. For the encore, a bridge descended from the ceiling to attach the mainstage to a secondary one on the opposite side of the arena. Levine and Valentine sauntered over the walkway to do a beautiful, simple version of "She Will Be Loved."
Mention must be made of the projections on the huge screen behind the stage. It glistened with crisper and clearer images than most concert video manages. Seeing the water splashing and the waves roiling during "Daylight" felt like watching the 3-D version of "Life of Pi." The sweeping cityscape, seen through apartment windows on a rainy day to accompany "Sunday Morning," made me wish I could live in an apartment with that exact view.
The concert boasted two opening acts, both of which provided very appropriate support — meaning pop-centric and radio-friendly. Owl City's tunes glimmered with a clean-cut sheen, and Neon Trees sparked with a New York City hipster vibe.