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Bruno Mars donates $1 million to Flint during Palace concert

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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AUBURN HILLS -- The water crisis in Flint may have receded from the headlines -- but it's still front of mind for Bruno Mars.

The pop star announced a $1 million donation "to our brothers and sisters in Flint" as he played his hit "Just The Way You Are" during his concert on Saturday night, Aug. 12. The money will go to the Community Foundation of Greater Flint, which addresses both immediate concerns as well as future needs of children exposed to lead in its water supply.

In a statement, Mars says that, "I'm very thankful to the Michigan audience for joining me in supporting this cause. Ongoing challenges remain years later for Flint residents, and it's important that we don't forget our brothers and sisters affected by this disaster. As people, especially as Americans, we need to stand together to make sure something like this never happens in any community ever again."

After announcing the donation in concert, Mars told the Palace crowd that, "This is why we love what we do. We get a chance to go up on stage every night and perform...and the fact that we can show up here and celebrate under one roof together, all this positive energy that's flowing. This is the world we want to live in." Mars added that, "I love this state" and talked about walking around Detroit and visiting the Motown Museum the day before the show."

The donation highlighted a 95-minute party put on by Mars and his tight-playing, tightly choreographed eight-piece band the Hooligans, whose guitarist Phredley Brown was raised in Lathrup Village and graduated from the Roeper School The ebullient 17-song celebration focused on Mars' latest album, "24K Magic," a featured genre-blending assortment of songs that ranged from the pomp of "Grenade" and "Just The Way You Are" to the slick funk of "Finesse," "Perm" and "That's What I Like" and the ambient urban com-hither of "Calling All My Lovelies." Mars and company channeled forebears such as James Brown, Michael Jackson and Prince -- he even referenced a bit of the latter's "Purple Rain" during his guitar solo in "Marry You" -- and the frenetic performance was matched with equally energetic staging that included plenty of moving parts (platforms, lights) as well as pyrotechnics, lasers and a shower of glittering gold confetti during "Locked Out Of Heaven."

Mars and the Hooligans finished with "Uptown Funk," his hit 2015 collaboration with Mark Ronson that had the packed Palace crowd still dancing as fans streamed into the parking lot after the concert -- a memorable night matched by an equally memorable good deed.

More information about the situation in Flint and the Community Foundation can be found at www.cfgf.org.

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