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When he took the stage at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles for the Citi/AAdvantage Card Love the Journey Concert Series, Levine’s energy was electric as he sauntered back and forth across the stage, showing off his twisted love lyrics and signature hip-swaying moves.
Perhaps Levine’s ability to rock out without slowing down was because the band was back in front of its hometown crowd.
“Los Angeles, California, my home. Los Angeles, California, is where I’m from,” Levine told the sold-out crowd of 700 people. The band — which is comprised of Levine, lead guitarist James Valentine, drummer Matt Flynn, bassist Mickey Madden and keyboardist PJ Morton — had spent the summer touring in Europe, and hadn’t played a big show in Los Angeles since Wango Tango in May.
Levine and the rest of the band – all dressed in white – played a 90-minute set showcasing their new album, Overexposed (which hit stores on June 26), including current No. 1 hit single “One More Night,” “Lucky Strike” and “Wipe Your Eyes.”
While Maroon 5 has already embarked on a world tour for Overexposed, they have yet to announce a North American tour, meaning that this intimate Los Angeles show was one of the first opportunities in the U.S. to see how the new songs stand up live.
Being in front of his hometown crowd seemed to bring out a special nostalgia in Levine, who decided to share stories with the audience, saying, “I never really talk about where the songs come from. I never talk about this s—t.”
But he did talk about the genesis of some of the pop-rock band’s biggest hits.
It turns out angsty “Harder to Breathe” angered a “very recent ex girlfriend” of Levine’s. She yelled at him for writing a song about her, but Levine revealed that the tune wasn’t about her at all.
“It was actually about a record label,” said Levine. “If my record label didn’t know, the cat’s out of the bag. Sorry guys, but we were pissed.”
Levine also spoke of a time in 2005 when he had terrible writer’s block. He said that one day he pulled into the driveway of the Los Feliz home he was sharing with guitarist Valentine, sat in the car and couldn’t stop humming a melody. That melody eventually became “Won’t Go Home Without You.”
“It never became a popular song, but it’s a very special song,” he told the crowd.
Levine also revealed how the song “Sunday Morning,” which was the fourth single off their debut album, Songs About Jane, came about. When he was 19 years old, he spent a lot of time on the UCLA campus – not as a student, he added. He saw a woman who he became obsessed with, and wrote a song for her. He played it at all the parties on campus, hoping she would hear it.
“And then she heard it,” said Levine, who added that he wasn’t going to tell the crowd what happened after that.
It seems fans will have to wait until Maroon 5’s next U.S. tour to hear the rest of that one.
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