Concert Review: Maroon 5

Lead singer Adam Levine pumped up the crowd at Maroon 5's show in Dubai on April 21. Photo by Tara Safaie

By Tom Roth

“What a diva”

Clutching her Nikon, Tara shook her head. “He was pulling that crap the entire time I was shooting.”

I’d brought Tara with me to cover the Maroon 5 concert at Dubai’s World Trade Center on April 21. We had taken turns photographing the opening act, Juliana Down and headliner, Maroon 5 and were settling in for the latter’s set. Simultaneously amused by and skeptical of Levine’s boundless vanity, we positioned ourselves in full view of the stage so as not to miss any of the showboating that was going on.

Levine and the boys had started things off with a grand entrance. As the crowd milled about waiting for the show to begin, the lights in the cavernous hall switched off. From stage-left entered five figures. As they slung guitar straps around their necks and twiddled with drumsticks, the fans craned their necks looking for noticeably absent frontman, Levine. Fashionably late, he strutted out onto the stage, arms extended and hands outstretched, basking in the applause that erupted as he made his entrance.

Then, it was time to get down to business. Levine started things off with a bass-heavy rendition of “Misery”, chanting “why don’t you answer me?” between oohs and aahs from both the stage and the crowd. While the acoustics made discerning any message difficult, Levine’s enthusiastic parading held the crowd’s attention.

Within minutes, the band had teased their way into “Harder to Breathe” followed by the title track off of their latest album, Hands All Over. In a moment of personality, Levine broke off the succession of songs and alerted the crowd to the presence of a young, blonde girl near the front of the crowd. Noting her tears, he explained that it was moments like this that make performing special and it’s not just “going out there and going through the motions”. As the cheers crescendoed, the band started in on their latest single, “Never Gonna Leave This Bed.”

The boys gave an Al Green tribute with their rendition of “Let’s Stay Together” and then promptly livened the arena with a group-sing version of their smash hit “She Will Be Loved”. Levine valiantly attempted to coordinate one side of the crowd to sing the first half of the refrain and the other side to sing the second half, which ultimately failed. This proved once again the cardinal rule of crowd direction: keep it simple, stupid.

The evening wound down with “This Love” which was quickly encored by “Won’t Go Home Without You,” “Really Makes Me Wonder” and “Sunday Morning,” at the end of which Levine invited his humble band to join him at the front of the stage for a final bow. Ensuring they had all left the stage, Levine made a point to be the last one off. And how appropriate! For all the love songs Maroon 5 have penned, it’s not hard to imagine Levine as the group’s beating heart. Like it or not, his peacocking completes not only their concerts, but the group as a whole.



  1. Misery
  2. If I Never See Your Face Again
  3. Harder to Breathe
  4. Hands All Over
  5. The Sun
  6. Never Gonna Leave This Bed
  7. Secret
  8. Let’s Stay Together
  9. She Will Be Loved
  10. Wake Up Call
  11. Stutter
  12. This Love


  1. Won’t Go Home Without You
  2. Makes Me Wonder
  3. Sunday Morning