I missed entirely the first opening act, and quite a bit of Ben Folds. The part of the set that I did catch was frankly not that good. The sound was bad (can any opening act get a good sound crew??), and when he started to riff on the keyboard, we all looked at each other wondering, “is this any good?” Carlton commented that he sounded like Ross. I was nonplussed.
Since last year’s show, there has been a new album that is decidedly bluesey. I was excited to see the performance. As I commented last year, Mayer’s music has evolved from the poppy, earnest rock with great lyrics into … well, still great lyrics, but also John has evolved greatly as a musician.
The set list was heavily new material. I wasn’t disappointed by his talented playing nor by the talent of the musicians surrounding him. The longer instrumental interludes- usually the part of a concert that I find most annoying- were incredible. During one solo, I picked up on some Tim Reynolds-style work with the electric guitar and pedal. But this was not about copying at all.
John’s attitude seems to have evolved as well. He was humbly grateful, not quite as funny as usual, but very engaging. He didn’t talk to the crowd as much. He did, however, insert a 20-second homage into one of his songs to the people with lawn tickets: this one’s for the people on the grass/Here’s to the people on the grass/I can’t see you but you can see me and I can feel you/ Oh yeah, the people on the grass. It was done in sort of a rap style as he played and it was funny and energizing. I could hear the lawn erupt in enthusiasm after the tribute. The best part of his gratitude was when he said that he’s very lucky and no different than the thousands of earnest musicians playing in bars everywhere. Kind of made me want to go see a less popular artist and experience something new.
Because he had selected so many newer songs, this was a less dance-inducing concert. It was more about enjoying the music and less about singing all the lyrics and dancing like mad. That’s not a bad thing…just different. Actually, it’ s a good thing. Because watching me dance might look like this:
Anyway, the show was really good. Gravity was probably my favorite song that he played. I’m not a big fan of Waiting on the World to Change; I find the lyrics far too sad. I hate to think that we are so passive about making changes. Maybe I dislike it because it’s true.