Written by Tanya Pedersen
Oct 22, 2010
ImageOn October 22, 2010, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion was offering an “Intimate Evening” with  Maroon 5. An intimate evening at the Woodlands? That tweaked HMR’s interest, so off I went.  What “intimate” really meant was that they only sold reserve tickets. The lawn was bare, which I have to admit created a somewhat different atmosphere. It was a perfect night for an outside show….there was a beautiful moon, starry sky, and a cool breeze. Plus, it was a concert that I have been looking forward to.

One Republic opened for Maroon 5. In all honesty, I really wasn’t expecting much from these guys, but was delightfully surprised.  The band was led by Ryan Tedder, who had a solid voice, mad piano skills, and a passionate demeanor. It was obvious how much he loved the stage.  The entire band was strong, but the standout was Brent Kutzle, the cello and bass player. A cello player in a pop band…. And it works. They don’t have many mainstream hits yet (yes, I said yet), but put some nice twists on a few covers. The one that sticks out most was The White Stripes’ “7 Nation Army”.  I was quite impressed, and expect these guys to have a future in their genre.

ImageAs soon as the opening act cleared the stage and Maroon 5’s crew began the set up, the air became thick with anticipation from the predominately female crowd. Adam Levine, the bands frontman, has long been considered one of the sexier crooners of our time. When he came on stage, it was obvious that he knew his fan base, and completely catered to them.  But don’t underestimate his talent – the man puts on a show and definitely has vocal skills.

The band opened with “Misery”, their current chart-climber off their most recent album, Hands All Over, which was produced by “Mutt” Lange and released earlier this year. It set the tone for an energetic couple of hours. They went back and forth, playing the hits from their first 2 albums then mixing in a few new songs. What I really liked was that this was truly a show…. It wasn’t one of those concerts where the band just plays song after song. Levine led crowd participation, made fun of himself, and told the men in the crowd how lucky they were to be surrounded by “all these beautiful Texas women”. They played their steamy song “Secret”, and before it was over they melded the song into Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It”. Then for a few minutes it almost seemed as though the crowed disappeared as the band grabbed stools and started having a fun, relaxed jam session that included Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together”.

The guys played a beautiful acoustic version of “She Will Be Loved” from Songs About Jane, which Levine extended so that he could lead the crowd into a several thousand person sing-along, even assigning specific parts to different sections of the audience. The band then yet again changed gears to get everyone rocking to “Wake Up Call” from It Won’t Be Soon Before Long. This was followed by a bluesy instrumental mix to “Stutter”, which is a new song hitting the airwaves. Then the band came back for their encore playing under a giant disco ball that shimmered and bounced light all over the stage and crowd. They wrapped the night up a minute before the Pavilion’s curfew with one of their most loved songs “Sunday Morning” from Songs About Jane.

ImageAside from Levine, the rest of the band was rock-solid as well. It was evident that most of the band has been playing together for years- since Jr. High, in fact. Levine, Keyboardist Jesse Carmichael, and bass guitarist Mickey Madden have been playing together since they were kids. In ’01 they picked up guitarist James Valentine, and in ’06, after Songs About Jane had been released and the tour was over, said good-bye to fellow childhood friend and drummer Ryan Dusick and hired Matt Flynn. There was no bad blood; the constant playing aggravated an old injury that became too painful for Dusick.

As the crowd mulled out, everyone was abuzz with talk of how great the show was. I have to agree. Maroon 5 gave it their all, and offered up a little something for any music lover. Their versatility and mainstream appeal should keep these guys in the good graces of pop music lovers for quite some time.