McCartney and Timberlake Showcase New Material at iHeartRadio

Bruno Mars, Kesha, Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus round System.Drawing.Bitmap festival’s second night

Las Vegas’ iHeart Stereo offered its audience plenty of fireworks on its second night, using a barrage of pyrotechnics going within the arena, often leaving the phase in a smoky haze. Plenty of music fireworks accompanied those literal springs and flames, from Paul McCartney, who opened the show with an eight-song set that included 3 new numbers, to recently introduced Super Bowl act Bruno Mars.


Sir Paul started in a little after 7: 30, opening with a rollicking rendition of “Magical Mystery Tour, ” which set the tone for a night time that featured truly surreal performances from both Miley Cyrus and Kesha. McCartney’s set was a combination of the old and new with the punk energy of “Save Us” as well as the anthemic sing-along “Everybody Out There” complementing a joyful “Lady Madonna” and the bombastic “Live And Let Die, ” the first song of the night to feature those fireworks.


Onstage with Paul McCartney in ‘New’ Clip


Following McCartney is an almost impossible task, so iHeart’s producers used rising DJ Zedd, who’s a producer on Woman Gaga’s new album, as a link to the rest of the night. Zedd’s short mix of pop and dance arranged the stage for the radio-friendly Maroon 5, who delivered exactly what the particular crowd wanted with songs such as “Moves Like Jagger. ”


Dance beats were another big theme of the night time with closer Justin Timberlake going electro-heavy in his set, from the starting “Sexy Back” to the live debut of “TKO. ” He integrated two other new tracks, “True Blood” and “Only When I Walk Away, ” and switched things up with the moody melody of “Cry Me A River” and the upbeat pop beauty of “Suit And Tie. ”


On almost any other night, Timberlake, who was introduced simply by boxer Floyd Mayweather as the “Heavyweight champion of pop, ” would be the talk of the show, but as the patrons streamed out of the MGM Grand somewhere near one a. m. that night, the popular topic was Bruno Mars.


Using his brief time onstage to deliver a captivating mix of horn-infused funk and soulful vocals, Mars showed a lot of promise for the forthcoming Super Bowl spot. Opening with “Locked Out Of Heaven” and “Treasure, ” he proved a good band leader as he let the horn section lead the songs into a symphony of James Brown-inspired funk and R& B that acquired the whole venue dancing. Mars paid further homage to the “hardest functioning man in show business” whenever he busted out some of his dance moves during “Runaway. ”


Also delivering some soul was Drake, whose set was highlighted by the smooth R& B of his appealing new single, “Hold On We are Going Home. ” But this individual upped the energy for the closing “Started From The Bottom, ” getting everybody pumping their arms as they sang along to the hip-hop hit.


Rock saw portrayal by Phoenix and a grand arranged by Thirty Seconds To Mars that included a thoughtful, gradual cover of Rihanna’s “Stay” and large drum circles on familiar songs like “City Of Angels. ” Rock also showed up whenever Joan Jett made a surprise look in Kesha’s set for a duet on Jett’s muscular and frantically paced “Bad Reputation. ” As strange as some of Kesha’s phase antics might have been, she was obviously having fun, and a finale that showcased her, two people dressed as pets and a line of men dressed because Rocketts kicking up their high heel sandals brought out a lot of smiles in the group.


But Kesha’s set couldn’t match the surrealism of the fishnet-clad Miley Cyrus, which opened with “We Can’t Stop” in a setting reminiscent of a lewd and trippy Willy Wonka film, complete with dancing rainbows and twerking little people. She went on to close out her performance with “Wrecking Ball, ” after offering that new single its reside debut during her iHeart Community daytime set.

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