Errols Weekly Music Update.

February 27, 2010

Concert Review: John Mayer with Michael Franti & Spearhead at Madison Square Garden on Fri. Feb. 26, 2010

‘No Such Thing’ As a Bad John Mayer Show

(This review was written by my 15-year old son who is a huge fan of John Mayer).

As some of you may know I am an avid John Mayer fan, I am a huge fan of his music and he inspired me to pick up guitar, I was so excited to finally get to see him in concert for the first time. I had always heard about how great he was live and how he sounded even better live than on his albums. Everything I had heard about his live shows is true; there really is “no such thing” as a bad John Mayer concert.

Before the show started my dad and stopped to get some pizza at Sbarro’s. When I walked in I heard the guitar ring from Mayer’s “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.” They were blasting Mayer’s music in honor of his show just hours away. At that moment I knew that this was going to be a night to remember, after hearing that song I knew I was ready to see the show.

Opening for Mr. Mayer was Michael Franti & Spearhead, and they were thrilled to be playing at the famous Madison Square Garden. Their energy was so pure you could tell that they were all on cloud nine. I had never heard of this band before but am really glad that they opened the show because I got introduced to a very talented band. Michael Franti’s music is a fusion of rap, rock, reggae, dance, and “rockabilly.” I know that may sound odd but the experience was very cool, they played an awesome set with their own songs and a few remixes of famous songs like “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson, “Bad” by U2, and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. They had great acoustic songs as well as nice electric guitar songs. Franti had the whole Garden on its feet, jumping and dancing, and my dad said it was one of the best opening acts he’s seen in a long time and I have to agree.

After Michael and his band left the stage everyone in the Garden anxiously waited for John Mayer to come out and play. The stage had been transformed by the crew and there was now a huge clear shower curtain around the stage that would act as a TV screen for a few songs. When the place got dark and the curtain started to lift you could hear the U2 like guitar of Mayer’s hit song “Heartbreak Warfare” and the place went nuts. This was one of the songs I had really wanted to hear because it’s a personal favorite of mine, and he played it perfectly. His vocals were amazing and he changed the song up a little, singing some parts higher or lower than the original recording and I loved it. As he played the short guitar solo it was finally dawning on me that I was really seeing my favorite singer and guitarist in concert, it was really happening.

Next Mayer threw an odd ball by playing a song that most of the crowd didn’t know (well I knew it) and it was called “Good Love Is on the Way.” This song is a B-side that never made it to a studio album but is something Mayer plays live often. This great upbeat song got the crowd going and Mayer continued to keep the crowd moving by played a fan favorite: “Vultures.” The pounding drums and guitar licks are irresistible you have to surrender yourself to the music and just enjoy. The crowd was singing every word while Mayer was having a guitar battle with his fellow guitarist David Ryan Harris. John didn’t miss a beat and went right into “Perfectly Lonely” from his new record “Battle Studies.” John did an extended solo at the end of the song with his other guitarist Robbie McIntosh while they crowd was singing “that’s the way, that’s the way, that’s the way that I want it.” So far the concert was going great!

Mayer decided to slow it down and started playing his signature “jam” before the song “I Don’t Trust Myself.” I was really excited to hear this song; it’s one of my favorites. The familiar guitar intro started and I was lost. I was in my own world where the only thing I heard was the guitar and his voice despite the loud cries everywhere. The guitar solo was so loud it felt like my records I had listen to so many times had come to life. After the awesome solo, John, out of nowhere, says to the crowd “my favorite cereal is “Count Chocula” and I started laughing because it was so random. But then he displayed on the screen that someone in the audience had a sign that had the question “What is your favorite cereal?” on it. John said he always answers questions on signs. After that he pulls out his acoustic guitar and played the last song in the world I thought he was going to play: “Comfortable”. This a really old song from his 1999 EP “Inside Wants Out” and now a days he rarely plays this song and it was a very pleasant surprise. He performed this song excellently and with faster guitar part. I noticed he also changed the lyrics from “I can’t remember what went wrong last September” to “last December.”Coincidence? Maybe. After the last cord was played John went straight into his infamous cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’.” This time he played it closer to the original version than his remake of it. Everyone in MSG was singing along, “She’s a good girl, loves her mama…”

John Mayer then said something like get ready to groove your face off and gave the stage to Steve Jordan his drummer and co-producer. Steve took full advantage of being in the spotlight and he played his heart out! Most people say that drum solos are bad and get old and annoying fast but not this one. I could watch Mr. Jordon play drums all day long and never get tired of it. He played with such energy and aggression he was sweating so much when he was done. It was a good five minutes of drum pounding action and it was one of the highlights of the night. The drum solo eventually led into arguably Mayer’s biggest hit “Waiting On the World to Change.” As the song was ending all of the sudden it just switched into a slow jam and Mayer took out his blues guitar. The band was jamming and then out of nowhere Michael Franti, from the opening act, came on the stage and started rapping while John was playing guitar! He introduced all of the band members in an awesome rap it was so unexpected yet it was so amazing. Then the greatness continued with “Assassin” one of the best songs on the new album. Throughout the whole song there were targets and rifle scopes shown on the screen trying to resemble a real assassin. I was waiting for the moment when the flashy guitar solo would kick in and right before it happened I braced myself, and when it kicked in for a moment I was on top of the world. I have “air guitared” to this song so many times and to hear it live was spectacular.

John embraced his inner blues man and played “Crossroads” a cover of the Robert Johnson song (no it’s not Eric Clapton’s song). After jamming to Crossroads he played “Half of My Heart” which turned into a lengthily jam where John randomly started singing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. He was really in the moment and he is infamous for singing whatever song comes into his head at concerts and “Dreams” worked out really well in the jam. When that finished John talked briefly about how he thought the opposite of love is not hate but is “lovelessness.” Another infamous thing about Mr. Mayer is that is always says whatever he is thinking or feeling at the moment (which is not always a good thing). After the speech he pulled out his acoustic guitar and played his anthem “Why Georgia.” It was amazing how the Garden exploded with cheers when the opening chords started playing; this is one of the songs that will always be associated with him. Sticking with acoustics he played his first hit song “No Such Thing.” Come on how can you not love this song? It’s addicting to sing “Welcome to the real world she said to me…”Mayer then left the stage on a good note and moments later came out for the encore.

John Mayer came back onto the stage playing his new anthem “Who Says” and the verse “it’s been a long night in New York City” really came to life. It was pretty cool to hear the whole Garden singing that verse in New York City. This was a very good part of the show. Then Mayer puts away the acoustic guitar and pulls out his electric and starts fooling around with some solo and then the moment everyone was waiting for happened, he played the soul stirring intro to “Gravity” which is almost always the last song he plays at every show. Literally every person in the Garden was singing this song word for word, at one point John told us to sing it to him. This song never ceases to impress me every version you can find of this song is unique and different. After the first solo John did something amazing he shared some new lyrics he wrote the other day and sang them wonderfully. It was awesome how he just sang a new song right in the middle of “Gravity” and when he finished it he played a fantastic ending solo. It was so loud my ears hurt but it was worth it; the guitar playing was great. Towards the end of the solo he put the guitar on the floor and played slide guitar which looked very difficult. After he finished the solo on the floor he got up and thanked the audience, bowed with the band, and for the last time left the stage.

Overall the show was great. Mayer had a big stage presence and he just owned the Garden. His vocals were even better than on the albums just proving how great an artist he is. He was hitting high notes that I never thought he could hit. Guitar work was very good too and the band members out did themselves as well with Robbie McIntosh on guitar, David Ryan Harris on guitar, Steve Jordan on drums, Sean Hurley on bass, Charlie Wilson on keys, and Julie Delgado and Melanie Taylor on back-up vocals. The set list was well picked as well with some unexpected songs (“Good Love is on the Way”, “Comfortable”, “Dreams”) that I’m very glad were picked for the set. The only song I wish was played was “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” but even without it the set list was great. It really was a night to remember and I think I always will remember it. John Mayer rocked the Garden like I knew he would, he didn’t disappoint. I heard someone say that there’s no such thing as a bad John Mayer show and honestly after seeing that show I couldn’t agree more.

 Set List

1.       Heartbreak Warfare

2.       Good Love is on the Way

3.       Vultures

4.       Perfectly Lonely

5.       Jam / I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)

6.       Comfortable

7.       Free Fallin’ (T. Petty)

           Drum Solo

8.       Waiting on the World to Change (Jam with Michael Franti)

9.       Assasin

10.     Crossroads (R. Johnson)

11.     Half of My Heart/Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)


12.     Why Georgia

13.     No Such Thing


14.     Who Says

15.     Gravity


1 Comment »

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