|Adam Levine and Maroon 5 at the Molson Amphitheatre Wednesday night. (Jack Boland, QMI Agency)
TORONTO - The hot, humid weather Wednesday night at Toronto's Molson Canadian Amphitheatre made it feel like fans were packed into a small club.
And for rock band Maroon 5 (well, more like Maroon 6 now with additional touring keyboardist PJ Morton in tow), that steamy, sweaty feel suited them just fine.
The group - led by singer Adam Levine - managed to squeeze the absolute most out of their first two albums Songs About Jane and It Won't Be Soon Before Long. But some of that material took a back seat to tunes from their forthcoming record Hands All Over, including the single Misery which opened the roughly 90-minute show before a roughly half-filled venue.
Levine, who wore a white tank top and jeans, cajoled, amused and worked the crowd throughout while his remaining band mates were quite vanilla on stage during the groove-tinged If I Never See Your Face Again and Harder To Breathe.
"Oh my dear lord it's hot out here tonight!" Levine exclaimed before a disco ball slowly descended for Give A Little More, another new track which left Levine delivering Michael Jackson-ish squeals minus the almost obligatory crotch grabbing.
Although the energy was fairly good starting off, and Levine occasionally delivering over-the-top, barely passable guitar solos alongside the more proficient guitarist James Valentine, things quickly slowed down. Telling the crowd it was time to "sit my geriatric ass down," the singer nailed a cover of Alicia Keys' If I Ain't Got You as Jesse Carmichael sat nearby playing piano.
Almost as good was Secret, another stripped down affair that seamlessly morphed into Tina Turner's What's Love Got To Do With It before returning back to the original tune. Levine joked he was considering hopping on Carmichael's piano a la Michelle Pfeiffer's character Susie Diamond in the Fabulous Baker Boys film.
After splitting the crowd up to sing different parts of She Will Be Loved a cappella, Maroon 5 finally woke up musically with the reggae-tinged keeper Wake Up Call. Fuelled by the tight work of bassist Michael Madden and drummer Matt Flynn, the song had most up and moving along.
Of the three new songs performed, only Stutter seemed to stumble, once which could be a possible single but doesn't exactly scream a major hit. This miscue though was quickly forgotten when the initial notes of This Love began, wrapping up the 13-song main set on a good note.
The danceable vibe continued during the encore as Maroon 5 played a snippet of Queen's Another One Bites The Dust prior to Makes Me Wonder and the jazzy closer Sunday Morning. Levine (who is probably two years' worth of tattooing away from resembling Social Distortion's Mike Ness) introduced the band before the finale, tossing aside a piece of Plexiglass in front of Carmichael after Valentine played part of Rush's Tom Sawyer as a nod to the Canadian fans.
Despite Owl City nixing its support slot due to a medical problem facing singer Adam Young, opener Ry Cuming did okay with his own set highlighted by Some Kind Of Love and Always Remember Me.