Minutes before Bruno Mars took the stage to close out the 148th Preakness, the rain came. It didn’t deter those who were there to see the Grammy award-winning pop singer belt out some of his hits.

Bruno Mars promptly took the stage at 8 p.m. and performed “24K Magic.”

“We not gonna let no rain stop the party, I promise you that,” Bruno Mars declared to the crowd. “We wanna see y’all moving and dancing.”

Backed by guitarists, percussionists and backup singers, Bruno Mars sang fan-favorite singles such as “That’s What I Like” and the Cardi B-assisted “Please Me” to excite the crowd.

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He even interpolated a portion of Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” acknowledging the not-ideal weather. The highlight of his hourlong performance came when he performed “Just the Way You Are” from 2010. The whole crowd sang in unison as raindrops poured over them.

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“Bruno’s a legend,” Baltimore native Kevin Murray said. “Just look at what he’s doing in the rain,” Herb Jenkins chimed in. “It’s pouring cats and dogs, and people are still right here singing word for word.”

Bruno Mars took the Preakness Live stage a little later than artists in years past by design, headlining the event nearly an hour after National Treasure sprinted to win Preakness. Once the race and festivities concluded, fans made their way to the infield, wearing ponchos and holding their specialty mugs filled with wine and beer. Event staff had to force their way through the crowd as fans grabbed any spot to see the star.

Not everyone was going to hang around in the rain. Many made their way toward the VIP tent and the exit. “We’ll try again next year,” a man said while laughing as he jogged to the gated exit.

Murray, 31, and Jenkins, 29, refused to let the rain prevent them from having a good time. Jenkins, who has attended Preakness for the last three years, loves the blend of musical performances and races the event brings.

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“I had to see Bruno Mars, though,” he said, emphasizing the importance that the headlining act holds on the event.

The party for Bruno Mars started at 10:30 a.m. Saturday as DJs from all over the world, including London’s Martin 2 Smoove and Baltimore’s own DJ Quicksilva, hyped the music lovers in attendance as they anticipated Bruno Mars’ performance.

Preakness was a first for Murray, and he was extremely satisfied with the event.

“The racing, the music, everybody dressing in their Sunday’s best and giving each other compliments, the whole culture of this is so cool to me,” he said. “If I can make this an annual thing, I absolutely will.”

Taji Burris has covered the Baltimore music scene since 2015 for outlets such as The Working Title and The 4th Quarter, and now at the Baltimore Banner. 

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