Being the featured attraction in a platinum-selling rock band obviously isn’t enough for Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine, who also finds time to concoct his own fragrance, design a clothing collection, run a record company and mentor wanna-be stars on TV talent show “The Voice.”
That same penchant for diversity also applies to his band. Since its inception a little more than a decade ago, Maroon 5 has become a hit-making machine that manages to blur the lines between rock, pop, reggae, hip-hop and dance-powered anthems.
All of that was represented in a briskly paced, visually engaging 90 minutes on Saturday at Amway Center. Headlining a bill with more recently buzzed-about bands Owl City and Neon Trees, it was a generous night of music for an arena that was packed – and not just in the lower levels.
Standing atop an enormous black-and-white image of the band’s logo, Levine and the band opened with “Payphone,” off the group’s latest album, “Overexposed.” Although rapper Wiz Khalifa wasn’t there to reprise his rhyme-spitting on the studio version, he did it in pre-recorded form on the giant video screens.
In short order, the group shifted into disco mode by lowering a solar-system of mirror balls to illuminate “Makes Me Wonder,” a chance for Levine to channel his inner Michael Jackson. Then, guitarist James Valentine’s distorted solo on “Lucky Strike” offered a nod to rock amid a green laser storm.
The non-Levine members aren’t household names, but Valentine, bassist Mickey Madden, drummer Matt Flynn, keyboardist P.J. Morton and guitarist-turntablist Sam Farrar provided a solid foundation for the stylistic shifts. It’s a versatile unit, even if the result sounds more like a reliable formula than anything more ambitious.
That was easy to forgive, however, when the band rolled out well-crafted pop songs such as “Won’t Go Home Without You,” “Love Somebody,” “Misery” and the signature “This Love.” Levine was endearing in expressing appreciation to the fans in a 4-song encore, which he performed on a platform in the middle of the floor.
Opening acts Owl City and Neon Trees elevated the show in separate 30-minute sets. The former delivered exuberant, keyboard-drenched pop of “Fireflies” and “Shooting Star,” while the latter rocked harder on “Moving in the Dark,” “Animal” and others.
Only Maroon 5 was bold enough to try everything, but why not? Like the lead singer, this band doesn’t like to limit its options.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun