Live: Maroon 5 at Cruzan Ampitheatre, August 30

Maroon 5
With Train and Matt Nathanson

Cruzan Ampitheatre, West Palm Beach
Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Check out a slideshow from the concert here.

Better Than: Seeing boy bands of the '90s.

Almost exactly one year ago, Maroon 5 performed at Bayfront Park Amphitheater during its 2010 North American tour. The acoustics were off, and the opening bands -- 2009 American Idol winner Kris Allen, and a not-so-talented young woman named V.V. Brown -- were boring.

Although last year wasn't great, we decided to chalk it up to M5 lead singer Adam Levine having some sort of cold affecting his vocal chords, and hit Cruzan Amphitheatre fully expecting to hear a powerful show.

Optimism was rewarded. Fortunately, this year's show lived up to the hype of the release of their newest studio album Hands All Over. Many bands commemorate an album release by playing the entire album with a few oldies for good measure, but Maroon 5 did well by playing a decent mix of songs from all four of their albums. 

The young Levine and his bandmates, who were originally known for sweet and sensual songs like "She Will Be Loved," have clearly transgressed beyond sensitive artist personas. Their songs now include blatant references to raunchy sex, sweaty skin, and the feeling of ripping the clothes off of another attractive human being. 

It was more heavy metal (although certainly not anything that the crowd at Summer Slaughter Tour 2011 would approve of) than expected, with the opening riffs of some songs practically bordering on Ozzy Osbourne territory -- really! That must have confused the hell out of the younger members of the crowd.  

Matt Nathanson opened the show behaving much like Heath Ledger's rebellious Patrick Verona character from 10 Things I Hate About You. It wouldn't have been surprising to see him float offstage riding on a whimsical skateboard carried by the desires of innocent children. Unlike Maroon 5, Nathanson attempted to hide his raunchier lyrics by using board game imagery. 
He explained the lyrics of "Come on Get Higher" to the younger crowd by saying "think of this song as being about Miami and being locked in a hotel room with your significant other playing... Scrabble. Think about how much fun it would be to get a triple letter score." 

Train of course played "Hey, Soul Sister," the song that made them famous again, along with songs like "Drops of Jupiter" to remind the crowd that they aren't as new as they like to make people think. 
Adam Levine spent most of his time serenading the crowd with a wide-legged stance and a "come hither" glare because like any sexy rockstar he knows that all he needs to do is stand in one spot and the crowd will swoon. 

Critics Notebook: 

The Crowd: Scantily clad pre-teen girls, loving couples, and people old enough to remember when Train's "Drops of Jupiter" was a radio sensation.

Overheard in the Crowd: "I'd go gay for his voice." - In reference to Adam Levine's performance.

Maroon 5 Setlist: 

1. Moves Like Jagger
2. Harder to Breathe
3. Sunday Morning 
4. Never See Your Face Again 
5. Misery 
6. Makes Me Wonder 
7. The Sun 
8. Won't Go Home Without You 
9. Never Gonna Leave This Bed.
10. Wake Up Call
11. Stutter
12. This Love 
13. She Will Be Loved

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Devin Desjarlais