Not UTA Basketball: Review of Maroon 5 – Neon Trees – Owl City

So about a week before the show, me and Mrs. Maverick are talking about how cool it is we’re getting to see two good concerts over the next two weeks: Maroon 5 (her favorite band) and Yes (a favorite of mine I’ve been fortunate enough to see twice: in 1991 or so on the “Union” tour at the big amphitheater in Dallas (what’s it called now?), 2009 at Bass Hall in downtown Cowtown). August 14 and August 21, what should two great nights.

Not so fast.

Somehow when we bought seats individually for these shows, we got the dates mixed up…and both shows are scheduled for March 21. Do we go to Maroon 5 or Yes?

I think you already know how this is gonna turn out…

I love being married to this woman and no matter how much I love “Close to the Edge” and watching Steve Howe play guitar, being a good hubby I agree to sell my Yes tickets via one of the major online ticket companies, and she agrees to use the proceeds for a show I really want to see this summer (not sure who yet).

Fair enough, right? Totally.

And besides, as much as I love Yes…this tour features the band doing mostly songs from their first couple of early 70’s albums (not the 90125 or Big Generator era-stuff from the 80’s-early 90’s)–so I’m not sure someone like Mrs. Mav who only knows their poppier stuff like “Owner of a Lonely Heart” or “Love Wll Find a Way” would really enjoy sitting through their longer 20-minute, mostly-instrumental masterpieces like “And You and I” or “Starship Trooper” in concert.

I didn’t know much about Maroon 5, except the fact that Mrs. Mav has about 10 songs in her iPod that she plays a lot for us in the car; I think they played a show at Texas Hall a few years ago; I have seen some commercials on TV advertising that their singer Adam Levine is the host on some prime-time singin’ show; I think they endorse some headphones or something; and a lot of women including my wife find their lead singer to be very hunky (and tend to scream a lot when he’s on stage). In fact, of the 21,000 in attendance (not an empty seat in the house), I was probably only 1 of maybe 500 men in the arena. Which was cool because there were absolutely no lines at the bathroom for me, but Mrs. Mav reported a lengthy wait and wasn’t too happy…

Considering it was a sold-out show, traffic was really easy getting into the arena 15 minutes before the scheduled start. Over the years, one big lesson I’ve learned for going to AAC (assuming you don’t take the train from Fort Worth) is instead of trying to take I-30 and exit off of I-35, you can take Riverfront Blvd. north (it runs parallel to I-35) and then head east onto Contiental…and then take a left north onto Houston so you bypass all the highway exit traffic and wind up on the north/east sides of the arena, then just follow the smooth traffic flow into the “blue” arena parking. And after the show, from that lot you can get out easily back on Houston going north, take a left west onto Victory and from there go easily back onto I-35 heading south (and back west to I-30 shortly thereafter).

So first up was Owl City. The arena was maybe half full for their short set (5-7 songs I think). Wow are these guys good. Just wow. I had heard a song or two on the radio “Fireflies”, “Good Time” and maybe another one. They kind of remind me of “Jimmy Eat World” a little bit. They are definitely skilled musicians, their lead singer has a good stage presence, a good voice live and overall put on a great show. Consider me a huge fan now. Hopefully these guys will be headlining venues like Nokia and AAC in the not-too-distant future.

Next up was Neon Trees. The arena was full for their show. All the fans knew the words to the songs. Dancing in the aisles. Everyone singing along. To me, a song or two of theirs is kinda catchy, but kinda feels like they’re still trying to establish their sound artistically as a band. On a few songs they played pop stuff typical of today’s music, but on others they really tried to sound goth/Depeche Mode/The Cult/80s british stuff on a few songs but for some reason (live, at least) it just didn’t quite work. Don’t get me wrong, I like that kind of music, but only when it’s done well. Their cover of Human League’s excellent “Don’t You Want Me Baby” (which was one of my favorite songs back in the day) didn’t do the original justice. But again, maybe I’m just middle-aged and cranky when it comes to new music.

Anyway…

20 minutes later,  Maroon 5 comes on stage and opens with their catchy “Pay Phone”. From the first note of the song to the last “goodbye Dallas” of the encore, screams and cheers that the Beatles would have been proud of filled the arena. The crowd alone was as loud as the OU-UTA game at College Park Center, or the Dallas Mavs when they were really good at Reunion or AAC. Sometimes you go to a show of a band you don’t know real well but once you get there, you recognize more songs than you anticpated…that was the case here. With an impressive light and laser show, they played a bunch of songs I was already familiar with, like: “Pay Phone”, “Wake Up Call”, “Misery”, “This Love” plus “She Will Be Loved” and “Moves Like Jagger” for the encore.

Even for the non- or casual Maroon 5 fan, it was a really entertaining show and Adam seemed to be having a good time. His voice appears to be holding up very well on tour (he was able to hit all the high notes, especially like on the challenging “She Will Be Loved”) and his sound reminds me a bit of Phil Collins for some reason when he sings. We were seated at the far end of the arena, but with the video screens most bands use these days, every seat in there was  a good one. A second array of speakers was positioned toward middle of the arena, which made the sound really good for a big show like this one.

So overall, as bad as I wanted to see Yes at Nokia that night…it worked out well Mrs. Mav got to see her favorite band, I got a surprisingly good show with a couple of bands I didn’t know much about, and now I get to pick a show I want to see…who’s coming through town that’s good in the next few months?

Click on the pics below for a gallery of a couple of images…

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