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Concert Reviews:
Maroon5 Opens Tour With Plenty Of Polish At Palace
 

By GARY GRAFF
Of the Oakland Press

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AUBURN HILLS -- It was a night for polish and passion at the Palace. Just not from the same band.

Maroon5 brought the polish on Saturday night (Sept. 29), opening its North American tour with a stylish if stoic 80-minute show that had the crowd of 9,000 women of all ages (and the men who brought them) swooning and singing along to the multi-platinum quintet's lovelorn paeans and the smooth funk-pop arrangements of hits such as "This Love," "She Will be Loved," "Sunday Morning" and "Makes Me Wonder." It was a comfortable kind of show, overcoming some initial first-night tentativeness to achieve a genially consistent cruising speed.

There were a few surprises within the 14-song set -- a segment of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" that closed "Secret," for instance, and the Led Zeppelin-styled riff from the White Stripes' "Icky Thump" slyly inserted at the end of "Shiver." And a performance of "The Sun," an album track from 2002's "Songs About Jane," stood out as the show's best overall performance, even amidst the more familiar singles.

It was no surprise, however, that high-pitched frontman Adam Levine -- looking all '80s in a leather jacket with rolled-up sleeves and a mesh T-shirt -- was a commanding first among equals. His bandmates seemed perfectly happy to yield the spotlight, and Levine embraced his role, working the two ramps that jutted into the audience, playing guitar solos on "Shiver" and the show-closing "Sweetest Goodbye," and even dominating the short drum solo that began the concert's encore. It hardly hampered the show, but it certainly didn't create an ensemble kind of dynamic.

That was left to the Hives, the Swedish quintet who played between Maroon5 and evening opener Sara Bareilles. Singer Howlin' Pelle Almqvist declared early on that "this is a robbery -- we are after your hearts!," and the quintet spent a half-hour going for the jugular with a set of raw garage rock and outsized personality.

There was a little bit of polish to the Hives' schtick, too, but it was delivered with a joyful and contagious ferocity. Hard-riffing such as "Main Offender," "Walk Idiot Walk," "Try It Again" and "Hate to Say I Told You So" were still as catchy as anything Maroon5 played, and Almqvist -- who regularly checked to see if the crowd was "getting the Hives" -- prowled the front of the stage (carefully avoiding the ramps he was forbidden to use) and even jumped as far into the seats as his microphone chord would allow him.

The group also previewed a trio of tracks from its next release, "The Black and White Album," due Nov. 13. As the set closed with a new song called "Tick Tick Boom," Almqvist exulted, "We are the Hives, and you ARE our new fans" -- and judging from the screams that may not have been merely wishful thinking.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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