Maroon 5 Lights Up PPG Paints Arena
Maroon 5's concert at PPG Arena, on Saturday, Sept. 28, was the very first concert I'd ever been to. To say I was excited was an understatement. After spending $40 on a t-shirt we could have made for $10, my friend and I entered the arena with huge smiles on our faces and giddy with excitement. Julia Michaels was the opening act for the band. Breezing through her hits such as “I Miss You,” she also covered a few songs she co-wrote, like Selena Gomez's “Good For You.” She received a loud round of applause when she finished off her set with “Issues," granted that half the stadium had been empty until after she'd walked out. The crowd was diverse, with both families carrying their six-year-olds and teens like us. The majority of the crowd was middle-aged for sure, only reflecting how long Maroon 5 had been in business.
Maroon 5's entry on stage received an energetic welcome, which the band used cleverly as they kicked off the concert with "What Lover's Do," one of the less energetic songs off the setlist for the night. This was followed by “Payphone,” after which Matt Flynn, the band's drummer, had a brief solo. The crowd was back on its feet. With only one brief break in the middle, the concert was seamlessly going through 20 tracks in around two hours. The energy remained electric, with Adam Levine staying on the V-shaped ramp the entire time, occasionally joined by James Valentine, the band's guitarist. Levine and Valentine treated the crowd with guitar riffs between performances and apart from this, every band member had a brief solo as Levine introduced them. The high points of the concert were definitely Maroon 5's older hits including "This Love," "Harder to Breathe," "Makes Me Wonder," and "Sunday Morning," for which the band returned to its old rock sound and the lighting shifted to black and white, creating a nostalgic feel. The setlist was ingeniously carved out, with the lesser fan-favorites like "Don't Wanna Know" and "Cold" interspersed with more popular songs to keep the energy going. Maroon 5's Michael Jackson cover, "Rock with You," was a treat to watch but I preferred their mashup of Alphaville's "Forever Young" and "Girls Like You.” Both songs blended well together and had the crowd standing despite the song's slower beat.
The band took a brief break before performing "She Will be Loved," in which Levine expressed his gratitude to all the people who came out. He pointed out a 6-year old in the audience, more than thirty years younger than him, and talked about how incredible it was that she actually knew him and that the band had managed to remain relevant for so long. During "She Will Be Loved," as the crowd sobered up, Levine could actually be heard completely for the first time since the concert began. Making a few modifications to the song, Levine and Valentine had a single light focused on them while the rest of the stage plunged into darkness as they performed. It was my favorite performance of the night as it not only showed off Levine's vocals but also had an intimate feeling to it. The crowd swayed on its feet as they sang, with less of the fanatical screaming that had been there moments before.
"She Will Be Loved" would have been the perfect ending to the concert in my opinion, but Maroon 5 closed off with “Sugar,” carried effortlessly by Levine's falsetto that always had the crowd screaming. The concert ended on a high note, with fans still on their feet as the band took a bow and departed. Although the stage held the cubes, the symbol of the Red Pill Blues album, the concert was a tribute to everything the band has accomplished over almost two decades. Even after all this time, Maroon 5 still knows how to give a timeless performance.