Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Maroon 5 Still in the Groove in Tour Opener

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Maroon 5 Still in the Groove in Tour Opener

Article excerpt

Adam Levine has spent so much time on TV's "The Voice" whipping contestants into shape, trading barbs with Blake Shelton and spinning around in big red chairs that it's easy to forget what got the singer there in the first place.

But a sold-out house at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater on Thursday night was a firm reminder as Maroon 5 kicked off its 2013 Honda Civic Tour with special guests Kelly Clarkson and Rozzi Crane (an artist on Levine's label).

The band, whose popularity has been boosted by frontman Levine's four seasons on "The Voice," is still in the groove.

Tour representatives kept local critics and photographers at bay Thursday night without explanation, but if they were worried about opening night glitches, there was nothing to fear.

The show's worst offense was that, at 85 minutes, including the encore, it felt nearly a half hour too short. When the band broke for its encore, it felt like it should've been an intermission.

But the pop band, which features Levine on vocals with guitarist James Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden, drummer Matt Flynn and keyboardist PJ Morton (still filling in for James Carmichael), poured it all into its time onstage.

Opening song "One More Night," from the band's 2012 album "Overexposed," served as a pacesetter for the easy-going show. It was followed by "This Love," "Lucky Strike" and "Harder to Breathe," when fluorescent beach balls were released upon the crowd of more than 20,000.

"It's going to be a pretty damn good night," Levine said, nailing the overall feel of the evening.

The show relied more on musicianship than spectacle, limiting the flash to a huge projection screen and the occasional laser display.

While Levine's voice has taken on a more whiny edge than the band's earlier days a decade ago, he sounded less whiny in concert, if also a little stronger.

Still, he may not fully have the chops to carry off the cover of Prince's "I Wanna Be Your Lover," performed here, but he's perfectly fine on Maroon 5 fare such as "Makes Me Wonder," "Misery," "Love Somebody" and "Wake Up Call," which contained a generous instrumental chunk of Jay Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder."

"She Will Be Loved," highlighted by an audience sing-along, offered an acoustic break. …

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