Magic! and Maroon 5
Thursday 28th May 2015
Star rating: *****
Baby let your hair down for there is magic in the air tonight. There was no illusion or card trickery in sight, for this was not a night of sleight of hand, but pure musical entertainment in the form of Canadian Reggae – Pop band Magic!
The band shot to fame last year on the back of the Summer hit ‘Rude’ which was a world-wide hit and has been parodied an un-believable number of times on You Tube (573 million!!!). As a result they earned the opportunity to support Maroon 5 on their current world tour. This was a much anticipated show for myself and I daresay many other British fans of the band. I was hugely impressed by their debut album ‘Don’t Kill the Magic’ and eagerly anticipated seeing their first live performances in England.
They opened with a collection of killer songs including a beautiful rendition of ‘let Your Hair Down’ which showcased the lead singer Nasri Atweh’s beautiful voice and created a warm, loving, romantic vibe in Wembley Arena. There were up tempo songs such as ‘Don’t Kill the Magic’, ‘Stupid Me’ and ‘No Way No Way’.
I loved the showmanship of Nasri which was a joy to behold. He really made great use of the huge stage, merrily running around to all sections to ensure all sections of the audience in view were acknowledged. He got everyone waving their hands, singing along to choruses and generally creating a fun time vibe for the Wembley Arena crowd.
Nasri sported a Freddie Mercury t-shirt for this show, which I’m sure will have gone down well with the London audience. It was a nice gesture to the long departed showman who many a time lit up the famous venue right next door to the arena, Wembley Stadium.
There were some lovely surprises in the gig too. The cover version of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Time after Time’ was great and best of all, was when out of nowhere they launched straight into a superb version of ‘Message in a Bottle’ which sent the crowd wild. Never a bad thing to do a cover version of one of England’s most successful bands of all time!
For those familiar with Magic it perhaps should have come as no surprise as the band were set up with the intention of creating a modern day Police. As a huge fan of The Police I have to say they have succeeded admirably in that goal.
It would have been rude if they had not performed a certain hit song and they played an awesome version of the one song they are best known for, ‘ Rude’. That was a real highlight of the whole night and the crowd went crazy for it. It was loud, lively and told the story of the father refusing to give his blessing to a young man asking to marry his daughter. It’s a simple, universal story that people all over the world have embraced and understood. I think that is why it has become probably the most covered song in You Tube’s history. The myriad versions of it are a mix of the beautiful, hilarious and downright awful. If you’ve yet to see it, it’s well worth checking out if you have a moment. The song also featured in ‘The Comedian and his Future Wife – Surprise Easter Egg video (2014)’ and ‘Venus v Mars’ 2015 opening episode. BBC Eastenders, the UK’s #1 soap opera also featured ‘Let your hair down’ in a scene in ‘Beales cafe a few months ago as Kush and Shabnam discussed matters of the heart.
Magic’s short 30 minute set was tremendously lively, vibrant and enjoyable. They really entertained the huge Wembley Arena audience with their unique reggae-pop sound. Musically and vocally they were great, yet I could see there was still some room for improvement when it comes to their live performance.
For the Maroon 5 fans unfamiliar with Magic, I’m certain there will have been many converts to their music after this barnstorming performance.
Star rating: **
I felt that the headline band for the night Maroon 5 didn’t do themselves justice. Musically the sound levels were awful. They were set far too loud such that you couldn’t really hear the songs to their best effect. It also was somewhat unfortunate and unacceptable to have the right side video screen partially blocked by the speakers. That’s not on when people have paid very good money to see a band and are relying on the video screens to see the action up close.
There was an extremely long runway stage set up which lead singer Adam Levine made use of but only partially and only towards the end of the show did he venture past the half-way mark to sing to the fans at that far end of the “runway”.
It was good to hear familiar hit songs like ‘Moves like Jagger’ and ‘She will be loved’ and ‘One More Night.’
I thought the band were OK but they simply didn’t rock my world. Adam Levine worked the “runway” and went through all the “standard” Rock star moves, but I felt he didn’t really connect with the audience at all – he didn’t get them singing along, waving their arms or anything, it was all about him.
Two sold out nights at Wembley Arena is testimony to the enduring popularity of this Los Angeles band who having been formed in 1994, celebrate their 21st anniversary this year. That’s an incredible achievement and an absolute lifetime in the music business!
© Tiemo Talk of the Town