A review of the White River show in Auburn, WA July 11, 2004.
By Melody Alderman
Say what you want about John Mayer but one thing is certain; the boy can play like a seasoned pro. Even through the shrill shrieks of pre-pubescent girls wearing homemade "bedazzled" shirts declaring their love for him, his obvious guitar chops somehow defeated what could easily be disregarded as dreamy teen fanfare. John appears certain, confident and natural as he rips through amazing solos with skill that would make one of his idols, Stevie Ray Vaughn, very proud.
There wasn't an elaborate indication that the show was about to begin. No announcer, no loud music, no 'have the band all walk out first so people know John's about to take the stage. Nope, none of that. John simply walked calmly out onto the stage, picked up his guitar and waved hello. Then he and his band began the night by playing the twenty-something anthem, "Why Georgia."
Then, in clear John Mayer form came the current single, "Bigger Than My Body." This is a strategy he is well known for. He plays the 'singles' at the beginning of the show as opposed to making the crowd wait for them until the end. It seems he would prefer to get the radio hits out of the way as a means of separating the true fans who appreciate the music from those who are there to hear that guy on the radio they kind of like.
"Come Back To Bed," "My Stupid Mouth" and "Wheel" followed, with John's anecdotes filling the space in between. He spoke about his annoyance with people who try to sell themselves to you within the first five minutes of meeting. "It takes all of the fun out of getting to know somebody when they come right off with 'I'm a really great listener, I'm completely there for my friends and I have a great sense of humor,'" he mimicked in an over-the-top girlie voice. Then he launched into "New Deep" admitting that he used to be one of those people.
Of course he played "No Such Thing" and "Your Body is a Wonderland," the latter of which won him a Grammy award. Ironic considering the two songs he is best known for are arguably not the best songs he has written. That seems to be the way it always happens. But, the crowd sang along with an outpouring of energy.
A very rare moment came when John put down his guitar and roamed the stage with only a microphone in hand. He was taller than expected without the guitar hiding him behind it. Opening act DJ Logic came back to the stage to support John on back up for the steamy Marvin Gaye cover "Inner City Blues." It was definitely an unexpected highlight.
"Clarity," a fun, uplifting, soulful song that makes it impossible to be in a bad mood, closed out the set. This made room for an incredible encore. Walking back onto the stage alone, John sat down on a chair, picked up a guitar and launched into "Comfortable" at the request of someone from the audience. The song was perfect for the beautiful outdoor venue. "I loved you. Gray sweatpants, no makeup, so perfect." One of the greatest pick up lines of the century.
John also performed a refreshing version of "3x5," a song that usually has a very full sound, was stripped down to just vocals and an acoustic guitar. Longtime fans got to catch a glimpse of the John Mayer that used to tour the country solo acoustic before breaking through to mainstream success.
Last for the evening was eleven minute version of "Neon" off of Room For Squares. With this, John called it an evening and brought the set to a close. Had it really been over an hour and a half already?
But makes for the heaviest sword
Like punching under water
You never can hit
who you're trying for
Some need the exhibition
And some have to know they tried
It's the chemical weapon
For the war that's raging on inside"
Song * Belief
Album * Continuum
the smile she's fakin'
and poses for pictures
that aren't being taken
But I loved you
grey sweat pants, no makeup,
Our love was comfortable, broken in
she's perfect, so flawless, I'm not impressed, I want you back."
Song * Comfortable
Album * Inside Wants Out
'cause we had enough
but we still said goodbye
Now we're tired, battered fighters
And it stings when it's nobody's fault
'Cause there's nothing to blame
at the drop of your name
It's only the air you took
and the breath you left"
Song * Split Screen Sadness
Album * Heavier Things