One More Night with Maroon 5
by Liz Cruciani
I always look forward to the summer concert season. Who will be touring? How far will I have to travel, and will it be worth the money I’ll spend on a ticket and a tank of gas? These are just a few of the questions that determine my itinerary. These are decisions studiously made.
After a few shows and travel plans already made, along came the temptation to see Maroon 5 on July 14 at Hersheypark Stadium, in Hershey, Pennsylvania, about a two-hour drive from where I live. I’ve been a fan of theirs since their debut album, Songs About Jane, in 2002. The justification of “Well, I did see them two years ago, so maybe I’ll skip this show” didn’t last very long. A week before the show, I caved and purchased two tickets. My husband and touring “partner in crime” convinced me to spend a bit more money so we could sit on the floor, closer to the stage, rather than relive the experience of sitting in the bleachers yet again. I’m so glad I did! With any outdoor venue, the further back the seats, the more the sound seems to float past you. Being closer to the soundboards was ideal for hearing the music. And of course, it had a better view!
Ever since Songs About Jane, Maroon 5 has occupied a special place in my heart. Five singles from that album garnered success on the Billboard charts. The moment I heard “Harder to Breathe,” I knew this band was different and special. I have seen them many times and have fond memories of them as the opening band for many artists. Now, as a fan from the very beginning, it’s great seeing them as the headliner.
While driving, I always reach for the radio dial and cruise through the stations in search of a good song. What am I searching for? Yes, Maroon 5. But also artists from past decades who had that certain spark to ignite my musical interest. David Bowie, Prince, Michael Jackson, and Aretha Franklin had that spark. Elvis had it. Chuck Berry had it. Sadly, they are all gone, and there aren’t many artists left in today’s music who can rekindle that sensation in me. A handful maybe. And among those, there are artists such as Maroon 5 and Bruno Mars who definitely prove that the history of rock and roll began with rhythm and blues. As I get older it’s so hard to hear of another great musician’s passing or band calling it quits. And many of my favorites are now seventy or older. A big shout out to Steven Tyler and Mick Jagger!
I’ve been to many concerts, and I must tell you this one was definitely in my Top Ten. Adam Levine is a divine artist, but he is also a perfectionist, and this is reflected in Maroon 5’s shows. From the opening tune off their current album, Red Pill Blues, “What Lovers Do,” to the final encore “Sugar,” they tore through every number with power, incredible energy, and precision. The 20 songs they played covered the full span of their 16-year musical career, each more powerful than the last. I sang along to every one of them!
Barely stopping for a sip of his water, as he joked about being sponsored by Deer Park, Adam demonstrated his vast vocal talents. He’s a coach on NBC’s The Voice and he proved this to be well-deserved. Every note was clear and in tune, punctuated with frequent and noteworthy falsettos. The band consists of a very talented group of musicians in addition to Adam: James Valentine on lead guitar, Sam Farrar and Mickey Madden on bass, Matt Flynn and Ryan Dusick on drums, Jesse Carmichael on piano, and PJ Morton on keyboards. PJ did a fantastic job as he and his own band opened for Maroon 5, getting the crowd warmed up. Accompanied by guitars, a drummer, and two female vocalists, he performed originals “Sticking To My Guns” and “Go Thru Your Phone” before ending with a cover of Bob Marley’s “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.”
Tune into any local pop radio station and you will hear songs from Maroon 5. But there’s nothing like experiencing them live! Not just for a dreamy glimpse of Adam Levine, but to “rock out” to an incredibly talented group of musicians. That’s when that spark turns into a two-hour flame!
All photos by Elizabeth Cruciani – from the concert.
Elizabeth is married and a mom of three boys. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Communications - Radio/TV from Marywood University and used to be an associate editor for a long distance education school and an office manager/writer for a local newspaper. She currently lives in Scranton, PA where she focuses on her family and love for writing. She enjoys music, reading, traveling and trips to the beach.