Friday, August 10, 2007

Concert Coverage - Volume 7: John Mayer

(As seen on MTV's You R Here)

John Mayer feels understood. And he rather be understood than sell a boatload of records, he told the crowd of thousands at the Sound Advice Amphitheatre Wednesday.

Mayer had the entire Florida audience hanging by every fret of his guitar, for a two-hour show heavy on his debut Room For Squares and his recent Continuum. The refreshingly older crowd sat for much of the show, but never hesitated to show appreciation for his chops on the ax.

The stage, designed to look like a grimey music bar set in an abandoned warehouse (think Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” video), evolved with the mood of the song being played: the show-opener, the political “Belief,” had a dull, mellow stage appearance, while fan-favorite “Neon” transformed the stage into a colorful palette of rapid movement.

On this last show of the Continuum tour, Mayer almost completely neglected 2003’s Heavier Things (only performing “Bigger Than My Body” from that album) and didn’t play some of his biggest hits (“Your Body Is A Wonderland” and “Daughters”), but his virtuosity shined on the newer bluesy material like “Gravity” and “I Don’t Trust Myself,” with his seven-piece band often extending the songs into jam-session-like solos.

But in the end, Mayer was the highlight of his show, even crashing opener Ben Folds’ set-closing performance of “Rocking The Suburbs.” Mayer (dressed like Folds, in a tight t-shirt and thick, nerdy glasses), along with some of his band members, played a game of musical chairs with Folds’ band, which started with Mayer on piano and Folds on bass, and ended with Folds on percussion and Mayer ripping a guitar solo behind his back, a la Hendrix.