The event: Pop juggernaut Bruno Mars kicks off his Moonshine Jungle summer arena tour Saturday night with a sold-out D.C. show in support of his second album, Unorthodox Jukebox.
Location: Verizon Center, Washington.
Opening act: Soul sextet Fitz & the Tantrums starts things off. (The group is tag-teaming the opening slot with London's "folktronica" star Ellie Goulding.)
The merchandise: Many fans turn out wearing Bruno-inspired fedoras, but brothers John Montgomery, 45, of Covington, Va., and Monty Montgomery, 49, of Roanoke, are eyeing camo Moonshine Jungle caps to replace their John Deere ones. (Their assessment of Mars: "In between Michael Jackson and Prince.") Also on sale: plush gorillas, T-shirts with Mars' Afroed head and dark blue running shorts emblazoned BRUNO MARS in bright yellow caps across the seat.
I heart Bruno: Sophia Nadder of Richmond, Va., 11, wears her heart on her black walking cast. The superfan, herself a singer, neon-painted the star's name on the Velcroed boot she's sporting.
Confident fan: Prettany Overman of Abington, Md., here in a "Doo-Wops" tee to celebrate her upcoming 20th birthday, credits Mars hit Just the Way You Are with boosting her low self-esteem.
Lots of heart: Fitz frontman Michael Fitzpatrick and his band assemble in front a red LED heart that turns psychedelic as the band breaks into Breakin' the Chains of Love.
Audience participation: The crowd claps, stands, waves its arms and does call-and-response to a cover of Sweet Dreams as vocalist Noelle Scaggs and Fitz rock MoneyGrabber and show off fancy footwork in The Walker.
Busted: Scaggs is on the ground taking pictures with fans before security swoops in to take her away.
Golden: Loud screams erupt at the sight of a giant curtain with sparkly golden palm trees. Lights dim, the crowd stands and monkey sounds are heard over an African drum beat. An eight-piece band, plus Mars, all clad in red suits and cheetah-print shirts, dive into Moonshine. Some parrots join the fun on the video screen.
She got me for everything: Closeups of fire, panthers and a tattooed woman? Must be Natalie.
'Treasure' time: The performance looks just like the song's new throwback music video, complete with Jackson 5 moves and a disco ball. Mars slings on a guitar, sweating, which he emphasizes with a big brow wipe.
Money mashup: Billionaire (which Mars wrote), then Aloe Blacc's I Need a Dollar, to deafening screams.
It's getting freaky in this room: For Show Me, the band shows off Caribbean sounds and synchronized moves, then segues into Our First Time with gyrating and purple mood lighting.
Heating up: Marry You gets a new bass line. Jumping and spinning is in order, as the guys sweat through their jackets and peer-pressure the crowd to wave. "I'm hot as hell," Mars says. "I should have thought about this suit."
Last song from 'Jukebox' is up: If I Knew goes out to Bruno's special someone.
Stage patter: Mars teaches the crowd how to say "damn" with feeling, before finding "a lucky lady to serenade tonight." He fakes one out by nearly picking her, moving on, then returning. "Allow me to introduce myself, I'm the dude on the ticket."
Light 'em up: Things heat back up - with fire - and Runaway Baby. The stage lights up with moving squares of LEDs. Mars breaks out a megaphone and sings into it.
The disco ball is back for 'Young Girls': He sings of "young wild girls, making a mess" of him, and intercuts a line of Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
Sing-along: "The next song is the hardest for me to write and the hardest for me to sing." Of course, it's When I Was Your Man, with just Bruno, a piano and emotional notes.
I'd do anything for you: After teasing us earlier, Mars goes into a drum- and trumpet-heavy Grenade. Red mood lighting illuminates the stage as he sings "if my body was on fire." He's all about the electric guitar solos and sings the chorus in pieces before dozens of lights strobe. Big finish. Boom!
Time for 'Just the Way You Are': Girls sing, no, shriek, the words. "I've been suffering," he tells the audience. "Thank you guys for giving me the strength to come out here and sing" - a reference to his mom, Bernadette Hernandez, who died unexpectedly earlier this month.
The chants of "Bru-no" have begun: We still haven't heard Locked Out of Heaven. Mars rises from the stage on drums, wearing a Hawaiian shirt. He holds up his sticks and runs to center stage. The bandmates have their casual clothes on as they hop across the stage to Locked. Gold and red glitter falls from the sky.
More sexy songs: Fire blasts from the stage for Gorilla. Everyone in the mood now? Mars strips down to a black tank for a slower, smoother seduction from a high, spotlit platform. Lights out.
Next stops: Philadelphia on Monday, then Boston Wednesday.