Maroon 5 Rock the Midwest

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Maroon 5 swept through the Midwest two weeks ago, performing in Chicago on Friday night and in Milwaukee on Saturday night. And now that I've been to quite a few of the shows this summer as the representative for Skittles, Starburst and Maroon 5's sweepstakes promotion, I'm becoming a sort of expert. I'm learning what makes a great show and when exactly the band has chemistry with the audience.

In Chicago the chemistry was there, but you could see that the band had to work for it. Before they came onstage, Frank Sinatra's “Chicago” blared throughout the amphitheater as it became pitch black; you could tell the audience was touched from the noisy applause.

The bandmembers then walked onstage as the song finished up and they tore into their first song of the night, “Harder to Breathe.” The performance sounded much harder and grittier than the actual recordings on their albums. James Valentine's solo during “The Sun” was as manic as ever, while “Won't Go Home Without You” was as sweet as ever, with Adam Levine having everyone in the audience hold up their cell phones to create quite the visual effect. All in all, a solid show.

The next night, Milwaukee proved to be the warmer and more enthused crowd. It was already an emotional show, with it being the last tour stop for Sara Bareilles and her band. During her set, Maroon 5 ran out onstage to adorn her piano with flowers, celery and bananas (yes, bananas). Adam poured her a glass of wine and then they ran offstage with the rest. You could tell Sara was touched and even about to cry from the gesture. Then Adam Duritz joined her for her final song, the Beatles' “Oh, Darlin'.” So from the opening act, the show was pretty unique.

When Maroon 5 came on, they played a set similar to their Chicago one, but this time there was a lot more energy from both the band and the audience. Adam opened up quite a bit, telling us that we were amazing. And then he got pretty personal after they finished “Kiwi,” telling everyone, “That song … that song's about sex.” Lots and lots of screams there.

Maroon 5 ended the show with “This Love,” after which Adam threw his guitar sky high. The guitar smacked down onto the stage, still in one piece and just inches from the singer. He picked it up and the rest of the guys joined him in waving goodbye to the crowd and giving a well-deserved bow.

But they weren't done just yet. Jesse whispered into Adam's ear and pointed toward the crowd. Adam nodded and jumped right in, walking through a wave of grabbing hands and piercing screams. He handed off his guitar to someone. But who? We all looked to the giant screen to see a smiling young girl of maybe 13, clutching the guitar with one hand and a sign with the other. The sign read: “ADAM, GUITAR PICK PLEASE.” It was really a memorable show.

To check out photos from all the shows I've been to, visit my FlickR site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/29081342@N04/.

Next stop for me is Los Angeles and then San Diego … so stay tuned!





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