Sunday, June 29, 2008

John Mayer is ambrosia to my ears

Listening to: 'Belief' by John Mayer [Continuum]

It almost didn't happen. Thanks to a right royal cock up with the tickets (which was nothing to do with me), I almost missed seeing John Mayer live. But luck was on my side, as the tickets landed in my friend's mail box at 1pm on the day of the gig. We got to the Brixton Academy at 7.30, and I had just about managed to start getting excited again, after pretty much giving up on my hopes of getting the tickets.

Now you might recall that my only previous gig experience was seeing Matchbox Twenty at Wembley. Brixton Academy is nothing like Wembley. Comparatively, the Academy is tiny. And it still has the trimmings of a former theatre, associated more with Shakespeare than Shakin' Stevens. The average age of the audience was about 30, which is a tad older than I'd expected. The supporting act was Jack McManus, who was pretty decent, but not spectacular...he could be a grower though.

And then he arrived. And the first thing I noticed were his arms. You kinda expect a hardcore blues-rock guitarist not to worry about going to the gym, but he clearly does. The second thing I noticed was his hair. Jennifer Aniston's obviously a better influence than Jessica Simpson (who seemed to be happy with him looking like Jack White). At least now he looks as hot as he's supposed to.

Once I had made these extremely superficial (but oh so necessary) observations, I moved on to the music. Oh boy. What came to mind over and over again throughout the gig was that John Mayer loves to play guitar. I know that sounds kinda obvious, but this guy loves to play guitar. So much so that my friend said he looked like he was making love to his guitar...and she wasn't wrong. The riffs were amazing. The vocals were amazing. The live arrangements were completely different to the album versions, but they were as good, if not better. He managed to move seamlessly from 'rock concert' mode (getting the crowd to sing the chorus of 'Bigger Than My Body') to 'blues performance' mode (with an amazing rendition of Duffy's Mercy - she should be honoured) and back again.

I suppose quite a few creative artists tend to be outspoken, and John Mayer proved to be no exception. The lyrics to his song 'Waiting on the World to Change' hint at political discontent, and he preceded his performance of the song with a little introduction:
This is a political song. I wanna say that everything is great back home. Everything is rosy back home, and I'll drink to that. [Drinks out of mug]
You can't print sarcasm!
(Maybe the Dixie Chicks should've spoken to him first?)

Another perfect gig. Maybe my favourite artists are really good performers, or maybe my expectations just aren't very high. Either way, it's got me waiting for my next dose of live music.

UPDATE: Apprently, Jen was there...and I didn't see her. Boo hoo :-(


Speak now, or forever hold your peace (well not really)!