Maroon 5 criticised for 'reluctant' festival performance in Chile


Adam Levine

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Adam Levine was “evidently uncomfortable” throughout the performance, said local media

Maroon 5 left Chilean fans disappointed after a strangely lacklustre show at the Viña del Mar festival on Thursday.

After taking to the stage 25 minutes late, singer Adam Levine appeared uncomfortable throughout his band’s set, which was broadcast live on TV.

The star was “cold, reluctant and preoccupied,” observed Santiago’s La Tercera newspaper.

The show lasted a little more than an hour, with the band playing a truncated, 15-song set.

A video shot as Levine left the stage was uploaded to social media and showed him complaining: “That was a TV show. That was not a concert“.

But TV viewers in Chile were not impressed by what they saw.

“Adam sounds awful and he doesn’t have the moves like Jagger at all,” wrote Angelica as she watched the show in Nuevo, Chile.

“Love your music, but your show in Viña del Mar was disrespectful to every fan who paid and waited to see you live,” wrote Ray Beron on Twitter.

“Lousy show,” wrote another Twitter user in Santiago. “Haven’t seen such unprofessionalism in a good while. There are no excuses for doing such a poor job.”

Even politicians got involved. Francisco Undurraga, vice president of Chile’s Evópoli party, who was born without three of his limbs, tweeted: “I apologise for the self-reference but Adam Levine has less voice and soul than my right arm.”

Others were more forgiving.

“His voice is trembling,” observed one fan. “Maybe something happened in his private life, we must be empathic.”

Maroon 5 became a trending topic on social media overnight as fans discussed the concert.

A post by Chilean actress and singer Denise Rosenthal was retweeted 3,600 times, after she claimed Levine had “asked that no-one looked him in the face [and] turned to face the wall” as he entered and left the venue.

‘The monster’

Chile’s Viña del Mar International Song Festival is the longest-running music festival in Latin America, and combines live performances with a Eurovision-style song contest and other awards.

Ahead of the event, Maroon 5 had asked to play their set without interruptions, receiving their “seagull” awards backstage instead of on the live TV broadcast.

This was not an unusual turn of events, according to local media who said artists like Morrissey and Calle 13 had made similar demands in the past.

More problematic was their late arrival on stage, which meant TV presenters María Luisa Godoy and Martín Cáracamo had to “fill in for minutes that became eternal for those present,” reported CHV news.

When they finally appeared, Levine was “evidently uncomfortable” and “his face showed no interest”, CHV said in its review. When the crowd sang along to hit She Will Be Loved, the singer commented: “Well, if you want to do my job, go ahead”.

There was no immediate explanation for Levine’s uncharacteristically low-key performance, although it seems possible there were technical issues affecting his ability to hear the music. Although he was rarely off-key, his vocals sometimes seemed hesitant or timid, particularly during the early parts of the show.

Things improved as the show continued, particularly during the 2004 song Sunday Morning, which sprang to life with a spirited solo from guitarist James Valentine.

Videos from inside the Quinta Vergara arena also suggest the 15,000-strong audience had a better time than those watching at home.

Known colloquially as “El Monstruo” (The Monster) for their ability to decide a performer’s fate, the crowd sang along enthusiastically to hits like Payphone and Moves Like Jagger; and screamed in appreciation when Levine pulled a Chilean flag from his pocket during Makes Me Wonder.

The BBC had contacted Maroon 5 for a comment on the show.

The start the 2020 Vina festival was marred by violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters; with masked demonstrators attacking shops and the O’Higgins Hotel, where many of the artists are staying.

Although the red carpet opening ceremony was scrapped, the concerts have gone ahead amidst tightened security; with Ricky Martin and Pablo Alborán among the headliners earlier in the week.

Puerto Rican star Ozuna will close the festival on Friday night.

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