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[Herald Review] Bruno Mars brings magic to sold-out crowd in Seoul with finesse

By Hong Dam-young

Published : June 20, 2023 - 13:18

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US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card) US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card)

Every moment in Hawaiian-born superstar Bruno Mars' performance in Seoul was delicate and romantic -- and it was his unmatchable finesse that made it all seem so easy.

The iconic “Uptown Funk” singer Bruno Mars, born Peter Hernandez, visited Korea for the first time in nine years for a two-day sold-out concert series at Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium from Saturday to Sunday. The shows were part of the 27th edition of Hyundai Card’s annual cultural project “Super Concert,” which invites iconic artists around the world to Korea. "Super Concert" drew a total of 101,000 concertgoers during its two-day run, the largest audience the global project has ever seen.

“It’s been a long, long way coming here tonight. The last time I was here, it was nine years ago. We came out here with hope that we get everybody here dancing tonight, singing tonight,” belted out the award-winning pop legend to the screaming crowd who replied with frenzied roars. And the magic happened at his will.

US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card) US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card)

Kicking off the grand night was his all-time hit “24K Magic,” which was followed by a string of hits such as “Finesse,” “Treasure” and “Billionaire (Travie McCoy cover).” Although his outfits had no extra glitz or glamor -- he was decked out in a casual red-dotted blouse and matching red pants -- the born-to-be performer mesmerized the audience with his top-notch vocals. The Hooligans, his band, accompanied Mars onstage.

US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card) US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card)

The musician didn’t forget to slip in some thoughtful localized greetings. He sweetly crooned “Bogosipeoyo (I miss you) my baby,” during his groovy hit “Calling All My Lovelies,” changing the lyrics for his beloved fans in Korea, while shouting out “Hey Seoul, I think I want to marry you” during the popular proposal song “Marry You.”

Running at full throttle, Mars reeled off hit after hit with songs such as “Runaway Baby,” “When I Was Your Man” and “Locked Out of Heaven.” When he performed “Versace on the Floor,” the audience waved their cellphone flashlights to vibe with the fantastical atmosphere.

The show featured a total of 13 tracks, a relatively short set list for a concert, but the 100-minute live show was nothing short of perfection. Into the middle of his set, Mars went the minimalist route, crooning to some highlights such as “Talking to the Moon,” “Nothin’ on You” and “Leave the Door Open” while playing the piano. The massive singalongs from the audience created an ear-pleasing harmony with the singer’s dreamy vocals.

US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card) US singer-songwriter Bruno Mars performs during the ″Hyundai Card Super Concert 27 Bruno Mars″ concert held on Saturday and Sunday at the Jamsil Olympic Main Stadium, southern Seoul. (Hyundai Card)

Then switching to a more upbeat vibe, Mars brought everyone to their feet with “Just The Way You Are” and heralded the end of the night with the boisterous encore track “Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson cover).” Explosions of fireworks bedecked the sky above the outdoor stadium, and a tidal wave of flickering gold confetti showered the crowd, as Mars promised the audience that he would be back in the near future.

Living up to the musician’s global reputation, Mars' Seoul show was also attended by a handful of big-name Korean celebrities and K-pop idols, such as Jennie and Rose of Blackpink, RM and V of BTS, G-Dragon of Big Bang, members from NCT, the Boyz, Red Velvet, Le Sserafim and more.

Mars held his first concert in Korea back in 2014 at Olympic Park Gymnastics Gymnasium as a part of his Moonshine Jungle Tour.