The Fairgrounds seemed to come alive on Friday evening as fans from all over Tampa, including myself, gathered within the Midflorida Amphitheatre to watch not only the headlining act Maroon 5, but the anything but sideline performer, Kelly Clarkson.
Once the sun went down the stage lights went up as Kelly Clarkson kicked off the night performing her most famous songs, starting with “Stronger” and ending with “Since You Been Gone”. As an audience member that had obviously bought tickets to see Maroon 5, I felt as if Kelly Clarkson’s set went on for a few songs too long. A round-about time for an opening act’s performance is 20-30 minutes, and Clarkson’s performance lasted an overwhelming hour and 15 minutes. Although this American Idol contestant turned Grammy winner was nothing short of extraordinary as she showed off her outstanding and powerful vocal range and stage presence, I caught myself and others becoming relentless as I started to feel as if I had just purchased tickets for a Kelly Clarkson concert.
After Clarkson’s performance, the lights in the Amphitheatre turned back on, revealing a very anxious crowd. A hush fell over the audience as crew members began assembling Maroon 5’s set pieces onto the stage.
Without any warning, the crowd went wild once Adam Levine (front man), Mickey Madden (bassist), James Valentine (guitarist), Matt Flynn (drummer), and PJ Morton (pianist) strolled across the stage into their positions, literally. No announcements or music, the band just walked onto stage as if they hadn’t been a group of famous performers for 11 years,which I found quite strange. As the band began to play the first chord of their opening song and current number one hit “One More Night” the audience was a wave of cell phones and video cameras, and as soon as Levine opened his mouth to begin singing, a symphony of screaming fans emerged from the audience, as well as major feedback from the microphone causing myself and everyone else close enough to the speakers to lose their hearing for a few seconds.
There was no break to be taken as the band performed 17 of their most famous hits including “This Love”, “Won’t Go Home Without You”, “Moves Like Jagger”, and many more which all boarded the line of “Adam Levine sounding too annoyed to be singing this song for the 100th time” and “This is too amazing to be happening live right now”.
The Florida heat ended up being no match for all 15,000+ fans as they sang along to every song and played off of the band’s energy from start to finish. Levine also didn’t seem to mind the heat as he gladly removed his shirt halfway through the performance causing what seemed like a Decibel scale-breaking roar from the crowd, as well as an abundance of blinding lights from every camera flash in the audience. Let’s be honest, I feel as if even the weather was below 20 degrees, he still probably would’ve taken off his shirt; he’s got too much pride to not show off those muscles and tattoos.
Overall, Levine and the rest of Maroon 5 proved to be not just a band of pretty boys, but a band of true talent. With instrumentals and vocals sounding just like they would off their albums, and the obvious effort and energy that they put into their 90 minute performance, the band proved that they won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Score: 8.5/10
Gabby Shusterman/Photo Editor