It’s been roughly a year, three months, and 27 days since I first saw Maroon 5 in concert during their 'Hands All Over' tour at the SMX. To this day, I fondly remember all the fun I had that night from clapping in sheer glee because my personal jams from their “Songs About Jane” album were performed and the band capped off the night with the audience singing along to “Sunday Morning.” I raved about that concert for days and even considered it as my personal standard for any live performances I wished to see in the future.
With nothing but good memories from that concert experience, my heart skipped once I heard about their Overexposed Tour and I immediately jumped at the chance to have Adam Levine, James Valentine, Mickey Madden, Matt Flynn, and PJ Morton (who was taking over Jesse Carmichael’s keyboard duties this time around) bring out my inner-fangirl and keep me singing all night long again.
Once I arrived at the Smart Araneta Coliseum for the Overexposed Tour’s sold-out Manila concert, I could tell that the people inside were just beyond excited. When the lights dimmed at 8 o’clock, loud screams were heard all throughout the venue and the coliseum lit up in a sea of glowsticks to welcome the opening act, The Cab.
Over 15,000 fans inside the venue
The Las Vegas-based band performed a six-song set of their current hits, which included “Bounce,” “Endlessly,” and “Animal” – a composition they worked on with Maroon 5. Frontman Alexander DeLeon took some time between songs to share how grateful his band is for being given the opportunity to be selected as the opening act for the tour and even promoted their upcoming mall shows here in Manila. The band closed their set with the catchy and good vibe-inducing “La La,” leaving the crowd energized and converting me into a fan as soon as they left the stage.
When we knew that Maroon 5 was going to be onstage soon, the mood inside the coliseum changed. Some were standing on their seats, while others started to move towards the front in anticipation. I, for one, became strangely anxious and started to throw silly thoughts at myself like “how will this gig surpass the last one?” and “I wonder if they’ll include (insert title of non-released song here) in the setlist.” When the lights once again dimmed at 9:15 PM, the crowd’s excitement and eardrum-breaking screams pacified my worries. I knew I was going to be in for a fun night.
Maroon 5’s opening number, “Payphone,” was introduced through continuous telephone rings that echoed throughout the arena. The crowd erupted in sheer joy once the spotlights showed Adam, James, Mickey, Matt, and PJ taking their places and commanding the stage. We all proudly sang that catchy “If happy ever after did exist, I would still be holding you like this” chorus and kicked off the night on a high note.
What followed was a string of their upbeat hits - “Makes Me Wonder” (which was sung after a snippet of Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough”), “Lucky Strike,” “If I Never See Your Face Again,” and “Hands All Over” - and their mid-tempo singles “Sunday Morning,” “Wipe Your Eyes,” and “Won’t Go Home Without You.” Though all tracks were very familiar to any Maroon 5 fan, the band managed to make each song seem fresh and exciting because of instrumental improvisations. This was exemplified during their “Harder to Breathe,” “Wake Up Call” and “This Love” performances, which were decorated with Matt’s manic drumming and explosive (and extended) guitar solos courtesy of Adam and James, and the slow, reggae-like jam that played before they performed “One More Night.”
Half-way through singing “Misery,” Adam took the time to introduce the band to the audience. Warm applause and deafening cheers greeted Mickey, Matt, PJ, and James as they each played little solos to for the crowd. The biggest surprise of the night for me came when Adam introduced the mystery member of their band that night, who turned out to be none other than Phantom Planet’s bassist Sam Farrar. Being a fan of both artists and knowing how Phantom Planet and Maroon 5 are close friends, seeing their worlds collide in the inclusion of Farrar in the tour’s current lineup was delightful to see.
The most memorable moments of the night for me came during the band’s encores, which kicked off with a cover of The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” that showcased James on lead vocals, Adam on drums, and Mickey on bass. Fans of the band will tell you that James is a brilliant guitarist, but who knew that he had smashing vocal chops, as well? This performance was followed with Adam taking a moment to talk to audience and, using his signature irresistible charm, said “This [next] song is dedicated to the ladies.” He generated a sea of swoons after and proceeded to play the most tender and heart-melting rendition of “She Will Be Loved” accompanied by James on acoustic guitar.
'Seven Nation Army' cover
Adam and James performing 'She Will Be Loved'
Before the show, Adam was quoted in an interview saying that he was going to dedicate one of his favorite songs, “Daylight,” to the band’s Filipino fans during the concert. True to his word, he performed it that night with the rest of Maroon 5, but not before he thanked his Filipino fans for their continued support through the years. “There’s much love for our band (here),” he said, “and it feels good to tell you that we appreciate it.”
The full band was also onstage during the “Stereo Hearts” number, in which the audience got to hear Adam flawlessly rap Travie McCoy’s verses. The band then performed a quick mash-up of The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me” and Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” and playfully teased the crowd with the trademark opening beats of “Moves Like Jagger” coupled with a sample of the Oppa Gangnam Style song. Adam didn’t go Gangnam, but jived like Jagger instead (even singing Christina Aguilera’s part of the bridge) -closing the show with us on our feet, jumping around and euphorically dancing because of the show’s undeniable intensity.
I went to this concert with very high expectations and thinking that I’ve already maxed out my Maroon 5 concert experience the first time I saw them. But thankfully, I was proven dead wrong. So here I am – basking in the afterglow from last night’s show and counting the days until the announcement of next Maroon 5 concert in town. The fact that Manila was considered by Adam as “the home of the most energetic, most enthusiastic Maroon 5 fans on earth” not only pulled a heart string but definitely gave me a major concert hangover I don’t think I can recover from anytime soon.