It’s a music journalism cliche to call a gig ‘explosive’, but when you use as many fireworks as Bruno Mars, it’s probably justified.
Last night’s headline set on Roskilde’s main Orange stage saw the singer convert this rock faithful crowd from thinking of him as another pop radio botherer, and instead a Bona Fide Entertainment Legend to pick up the mantle of His Royal Badness, Prince.
Roskilde had been scheduled a visit from Cardi B this year, but like Wireless, had to do without as the artist went on maternity leave. But even without rap’s brightest star, Mr Mars still managed to get the vast audience feeling funky with ‘Finesse’ as his first track. Then heading straight into ‘24k Magic’, the crowd as one dropped en masse, as they literally got down to Bruno’s infectious pop. The rockets at every chorus line probably helped too.
“This one’s called ‘Treasure’,” he cooed into the mic. Drunken strangers blushed and hugged as they declared “you’re my golden star,” to one another, flushed with the corny abandon that Mars had on show. It was moving.
“Sorry baby, I can’t pick up the phone right now. I’m playing a festival. A festival called Roskilde,” he said, during a dial tone break in ‘Calling All My Lovelies’. “I don’t know what that means, but it sounds sexy,” he purred. He probably says that to all his festivals, so why did our collective hearts surge at the thought of being Bruno’s number one? It’s a track about being a fuck boy, and we were all submerged in Bruno’s dick sand.
Suddenly the lights dimmed, and a jazz spotlight settled on Bruno for ‘Versace On The Floor’, a sharp change in vibe from a second before, when the words “DAISY DUKES” and “CHUNKY” were emblazoned on the side-screens for ‘That’s What I Like’. It was about as cheesy as a Dorito chip dipped in fondue, but hey, that shit is delicious, and Bruno is the authority on pop songs about ripping off designer clothes and fucking.
Bruno’s guitar during ‘Grenade’ got a little heavy handed, reverb crashing through the rough festival sound system. But great puffs of flame shooting through the back of the stage every time he sang “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” was a novel distraction.
Rounding off the set with ‘Just The Way You Are’, Bruno genuinely made the crowd forget about the festival grime crusting around their ankles and believe for a second that this sex obsessed popstar loved their filthy aesthetic. ‘Uptown Funk’ made for a banging, if predictable encore, but that’s what proper show-stoppers are for. The pyrotechnic budget could well have been 24k, but it was worth it for the magic in the air.