Frontman Adam Levine's abs aside, Maroon 5 is hot right now.
Thanks to the Billboard 100-topping, radio-dominating smash-hit single Moves Like Jagger and Levine's prime-time gig as a judge on NBC's The Voice, the Los Angeles-based pop act is riding a major career high at the moment. And if you ask any one of the 7,000 concertgoers (an overwhelming number of them female) who were at Wednesday night's co-headlining show with Train at the MTS Centre, Maroon 5 brought the heat.
The band wasted no time giving the fans what they wanted, launching right into the sexy, hooky Moves Like Jagger to ear drum-shattering screams of approval. The opening one-two punch was completed by a pounding, club-worthy take on 2002's hit Harder to Breathe, which was re-worked to sample Kanye West's Power. It worked.
Levine proved he does indeed have "the voice." His pipes were in fine form, and all the sing-along hits the fans came to hear -- Misery, Makes Me Wonder, This Love, Won't Go Home Without You -- were transformed into electrified workouts. Maroon 5 may write pop songs, but make no mistake: this show had no shortage of sweat-slicked rock 'n' roll. Radio staple Wake Up Call got the biggest makeover, complete with shredding guitar solos and monster drums. Again, it worked. For 75 minutes, right through until show closer She Will Be Loved, Maroon 5's energy didn't wane. Neither did the crowd's hysteria -- despite Levine never taking off his shirt.
If the teenage girls were there for Maroon 5, their moms were there for Train. While Levine went for full-on rock 'n' roll swagger, Train frontman Pat Monahan exuded nice-guy, aw-shucks charm. Taking the stage promptly at 8 p.m. to the chorus of train whistles (seriously) and screaming fans, the San Francisco radio stalwart kicked off its 75-minute set with the anthemic ballad Parachute. From then on, it was all about the breezy pop and big choruses, with chipper radio rocker If It's Love, laid-back ukulele strummer Hey Soul Sister and a soaring, arena-ready version of Train's mammoth hit Drops of Jupiter being the set's standouts.
Despite having a catalogue full of crowd-pleasers, Train relied heavily on cheesy gimmicks -- which included no less than five costume changes and serenading concertgoers from the stands with a candy-coated version of Marry Me. A crew of fangirls -- dubbed the Trainettes -- was pulled onstage for the 2001 hit She's On Fire, which featured background video of, you guessed it, an actual fire. But the biggest offender was also sadly the set's centrepiece -- a less-than-mind-blowing medley that included mediocre versions of Blondie's Heart of Glass, U2's Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Rihanna's Umbrella.
Train would have been better off sticking to their own hits. But that's just one curmudgeonly concert reviewer's opinion. The Trainettes were having the time of their lives.
Jen Zoratti is music editor at Uptown Magazine.
MAROON 5 & TRAIN
- Sept. 7, 2011
- MTS Centre
- Attendance: 7,000
- 3.5 out of 5 stars