Bruno Mars headlined the final night of Poland’s Open’er Festival last night (July 7) with a soul pop spectacular featuring some of the biggest hits of the decade.
With fireworks flying throughout much of the set and the band joining Mars in synchronised dance routines, the 130 million-selling Hawaiian superstar emulated classic soul revue shows over a 90-minute set featuring hits such as ‘Just The Way You Are’, ‘Uptown Funk’ and ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’.
Arriving onto a stage decorated in luminous neon colours to a flume of fireworks and a backing tape of an autotuned voice demanding “let me hear you scream”, Mars slid straight into ‘Finesse’ and ‘24K Magic’ in prime Michael Jackson mode. “We back, Poland,” he told the crowd ahead of ‘Treasure’, “I missed y’all but the same rules apply. I wanna see y’all moving, I wanna see y’all dancing, I wanna see y’all sweating.”
The 60,000-strong Open’er crowd complied, leaping like maniacs during a section of ‘Perm’ in which Mars encouraged each half of the crowd to out-bounce the other “to show them what time it is”. Clearly it was drunk-dial time, as ‘Calling All My Lovelies’ saw Mars fake a phone call to an ex, leaving an answerphone message saying “hey baby, I’m in Poland right now, remember that one time we vacationed out here, you said you wanted to go to Rome or Paris, but I said ‘fuck it, we’re going to Poland’.”
‘Chunky’, Mars’s ode to his love of the bigger buttock, and the high-life funk of ‘That’s What I Like’ gave way to a relatively eclectic mid-section of the set. A saxophone solo and change of baseball shirt introduced slick ballad ‘Versace On The Floor’, a wedding march guitar riff opened surf pop hit ‘Marry Me’ and a drum solo fed into the blazing horn bonanza of ‘Runaway Baby’, complete with air raid sirens, more fireworks and Bruno’s elaborate solo dance routine. Mars introduced big ballad ‘When I Was Your Man’ as “a song that means a lot to me” and left the stage at the end of the song, leaving keyboardist John Fossitt to perform an extended classic piano solo.
Mars returned amid bursts of flames and horn fanfares for ‘Grenade’ and rounded off the set with his biggest hits – ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’, ‘Just The Way You Are’ and Mark Ronson’s ‘Uptown Funk’.
Open’er Festival 2018 had previously seen Arctic Monkeys, Depeche Mode and Gorillaz play headline sets.