There was 24-karat magic in the air Wednesday night outside the Sprint Center.
Scores of die-hard fans waited outside more than an hour before the doors opened for Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour, despite foreboding clouds and a light drizzle. And many more would pour through the arena gates by the time the concert began.
“It’s been sold out for quite a while,” said one man working at the box office, dashing hopes of finding a seat at the last minute.
One young fan, Canvas Kephart, 10, of Grain Valley, was stationed by the loading dock barricades with her parents, Tabi and Jamie Kephart. Oh, and a miniature Bruno Mars.
Rather, a Bruno Mars portrait, painted by Tabi Kephart and overlaid with gold leaf. Canvas is the megafan of the Kephart family, and she commissioned the work in hopes of gifting it to Mr. Mars himself. She paid for it, too.
“No pro-bono work,” Tabi Kephart said.
As for the rain, don’t worry: The artwork was in a plastic bag, safe from the elements.
The Kepharts revealed that they had a larger, 4-foot version tucked away in their SUV parked across the street — the one meant for Bruno Mars was a scale replica.
Jamie Kephart admitted their plan to hand the portrait to the Hawaiian-born pop star might not be ironclad, but he was optimistic.
“We’d love to see him get dropped off right here,” he said.
The family had never seen Bruno Mars live, but Tabi Kephart said they were expecting a top-notch show.
“He’s the best performer there is,” she said. “Out of everyone who comes through the Sprint Center, he’s the best.”
Short of a specially commissioned portrait, fans came prepared with props, signs and homemade fan wear. Since it was the 24K Magic tour, gold was definitely the new black.
Ava Moxness and Haley Webb, both of Lenexa, were decked out in shiny gold track jackets emblazoned with “Hooligans” — the name of the Bruno Mars fan club — in black letters.
Knowledgeable concertgoers know merchandise can get pricey, so Moxness and Webb got creative with their gear. They said they picked out their matching jackets at J.C. Penney and put the letters on themselves.
They had a sign in tow, too. “I think I wanna marry you,” their sign boldly declared in — what else? — gold marker. In order to further stand out from the crowd, the sign was illuminated with Christmas lights around the border.
“Hopefully he’ll see it,” Webb said.
A local celebrity even stopped by to take in the scene: Michael Wheeler, who Royals fans would recognize for his customary Superman getup and blue-dyed beard, was tossing around a Chiefs football with concertgoers outside the arena.
He said he goes to “all the concerts” at the Sprint Center, not necessarily to go to the shows, but to take photos with the fans outside. And sometimes, he said, he gets tickets for free. He named the Rolling Stones as one such example.
While early comers had waited out rain beneath the eaves of the building, the sun peeked out just before the doors were set to open, washing the Power & Light District in its golden rays. Maybe Mother Nature was showing up in time for the concert, too.