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Maroon 5 makes its Macao debut at the Cotai Arena

Maroon 5 makes its Macao debut at the Cotai Arena

Veteran LA pop-rock group Maroon 5 makes its Macao debut at the Cotai Arena, writes Amanda Sheppard

The proud recipients of three Grammys, three American Music Awards, and four Billboard Music Awards, sevenpiece Los Angeles band Maroon 5 has had numerous successes. Yet, the musicians are an unstoppable force, now performing across the world in support of their sixth album, "Red Pill Blues". The tour began in March last year, and stretches from Ecuador to Paris over 15 months, including seven Asian cities on its fourth leg.

The septet – which recently welcomed touring guitarist Sam Farrar as an official member – is set to appear in Macao for the first time, but they are no strangers to the region. Having performed in Hong Kong four times, they have earned a loyal following and a reputation as high-octane live performers.

To say that Maroon 5’s rise to fame was stratospheric may be too straightforward. The band – which formed in 1994 as Kara’s Flowers – was signed and dropped in 1997 by Reprise Records.

Until the release of “Songs About Jane” in 2002, the members served as a living, breathing testament to the perennially struggling musician. The record went on to sell a staggering 5.1 million copies, and was certified platinum four times over in the United States and six times in the United Kingdom. Tracks like This Love and She Will Be Loved are now ingrained in the minds of the MTV generation.

Five years on from the release of debut record “Songs About Jane”, the band released its second album, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long”. It surpassed “Songs About Jane”, topping charts in the United States and the United Kingdom.

As its core fan base matured, so too did the band’s sound. Rolling Stone magazine lauded the band’s ability to “update turn of the eighties hit flavours for the age of Katy Perry”. Marking a departure from its initial tone, “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” channelled a retro sound – a prelude to what was to come over the next decade.

Life in the limelight has not prevented the band from staying coy about the origins of its name, leaving its genesis shrouded in mystery.

Frontman Adam Levine has cited Prince as among the main influences for the band’s sound – a blend of pop and rock, led by a heady rhythm guitar section and Levine’s inimitable falsetto. 2010 breakthrough single Moves Like Jagger (featuring additional vocals from Christina Aguilera) showed its staying power, and has become one of the world’s bestselling singles.

The band’s fifth studio album, “V”, debuted at number one in August 2014. The record features hit singles Maps, Animals and Sugar, the latter of which has over 780 million plays on streaming service Spotify, and more than 2.8 billion views on YouTube. Its sixth and most recent album, “Red Pill Blues”, pays homage to the 1999 sci-fi film The Matrix, and features collaborations with rapper A$AP Rocky, R&B soul singer SZA, and singer and rapper Cardi B.

Maroon 5’s global fame has been achieved thanks, in no small part, to the band’s frontman.

Maroon 5 is now a seven-man line-up, rendering the brand's moniker slightly outdated

Ever the showman, Levine’s face is now as recognisable as his trademark vocals. The vocalist has served as a coach on US singing contest The Voice since 2011, and made his acting debut on cult series American Horror Story the following year. Films like the 2013 sleeper indie hit Begin Again have cemented his status as a force to be reckoned with. In 2012, Levine added founder of a record label to his roster of achievements, co-founding 222 Records alongside Julius Garcia, in partnership with Interscope Records. That success has subjected Levine’s personal life to scrutiny and rendered it tabloid fodder. His dating life has been a constant source of creative inspiration for the band – Levine either wrote or co-wrote “Songs About Jane”, which was inspired entirely by ex-girlfriend, Jane Herman. Such personal histories have also been a constant source of speculation and public interest.

Levine, now a happily married father of two, and the band have channelled this conception and transformed into a force for good. The music video for the band’s latest single, Girls Like You, celebrates women from all walks of life. Directed by David Dobkin (who is credited for the creative direction behind the music video for Sugar) features Levine surrounded by 26 female achievers, from Olympic athlete Chloe Kim to Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot and the track’s co-vocalist, Cardi B.

'Red Pill Blues' world tourn began a year ago Quito, Ecuador

Fast forward to 2019. It has been 25 years since the days of Kara’s Flowers, and the band’s line-up has changed considerably. Vocalist Levine, bassist Mickey Madden and keyboardist and rhythm guitarist Jesse Carmichael are the only remaining original performers. Lead guitarist James Valentine, keyboardist PJ Morton, drummer Matt Flynn and multi-instrumentalist Sam Farrar complete the seven-man line-up, rendering the band’s moniker outdated, but nonetheless, a globally recognisable household name.

Almost a year to the day since the “Red Pill Blues” world tour began in Quito, Ecuador, Maroon 5 takes to the stage at Macao’s Cotai Arena. The venue – which boasts a capacity of 15,000 – counts Katy Perry, Beyoncé, and the Mick Jagger-fronted Rolling Stones (who inspired the band’s hit single) among its past performers.

The band made its mark when they headlined the Super Bowl halftime show, alongside rappers Travis Scott and Big Boi at the Atlanta show on February 3. Pulling from a 16-year catalogue of chart-topping hits, they joined Lady Gaga, Bruce Springsteen and the inspirational Prince, all former half-time show alumni.

Maroon 5 can count itself among the most successful bands of the 21st century. With 36 million albums sold, a 100 per cent success rate and a track record for producing platinum records, the group shows no signs of slowing down. Fans of the LA pop rockers can chant along in an evening filled with new and old hits, and a taste of the sounds that helped Maroon 5 rise to the top of the charts.