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Music Review

Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson perfect at work, play

Kelly Clarkson, pictured in Los Angeles last year, had energy to spare in Mansfield.Getty Images/File

MANSFIELD — For a whole host of reasons — from technical cues to curfews to having the right guitar for each song — big shows tend to run with a clockwork-like efficiency.

But as Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson raucously proved here Friday night, some of the best moments at a live concert remain unscripted.

It was a complementary double bill both musically and temperamentally. Both artists boast a passel of singalong hits that fit as comfortably next to each other on the radio as onstage. And both the pop spitfire and the men of Maroon 5, particularly frontman Adam Levine, exude a sense of up-for-anything playfulness. That, combined with a rock solid work ethic and a clear love for their audiences and performing, made for a good, if sweaty night out at Comcast Center.


If Clarkson ever gives bad shows, she has yet to do so in the Boston area, adding this gig to her list of high-energy performances.

Scarcely taking a breath between a baker’s dozen songs during an hourlong set, she powered through soaring ballads “Behind These Hazel Eyes” and “Breakaway,” bounced excitedly through “Catch My Breath” and “Since U Been Gone,” and scorched up the joint with a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” and a Stax-style retrofit of “Walk Away.”

Commenting on the heat and her perspiration, Clarkson joked “This ain’t Beyoncé, y’all.” Perhaps, but with her goofy charm and undeniable pipes Clarkson had the packed house crazy in love.

A tough act to follow but, decked out in matching all-white outfits, Maroon 5 matched Clarkson’s kinetic energy and good-cheer quotient, grinning and bounding around the stage churning out their pop-funk-soul hits over a smartly paced 90 minutes.

Highs included buoyant opener “One More Night,” a slinky “Sunday Morning,” the hypnotic hitching grooves of “Harder to Breathe,” a vampy cover of Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover,” and a dirty disco spin on “Makes Me Wonder.”


Levine was in great voice and even better spirits, joking with the crowd all night and comically instructing women throwing bras at him to refrain from aiming at his face.

Sarah Rodman can be reached at srodman@globe.com.