John Mayer

As my domain name might suggest, I like everything to do with live music.

Tuesday night Mary was suppose to go see John Mayer at the O2 Arena in London with a friend of hers. Unfortunately her friend was unwell and couldn't go. So I got invited to go along. I'm not a huge John Mayer fan. I certainly appreciate his talent though. His solo tour just wasn't one that I would have spent my money to go see.

That said, the show was great. I really enjoyed it a lot.

The show was just John. No band, no tracks, just him and his guitar (or piano). Normally these types of musician with guitar shows don't lend themselves to big arenas. The sound usually gets lost. Or the guitar is too piercing and not balanced. Or the vocals are lost. This has none of that. The audio engineering was spectacular. The guitar mix was so full and round that no one part of it was over powering but also in a way that you never realised there were no other people playing along. The bass was full and thumping but not over powering. The fret and string noise was present but not grinding. All of it adding little bits that you would have missed with a full band. On top of that it was all mixed beautifully around the vocals. It just sounded wonderful and pulled you in from the very first song.

The stage production was really good as well. It was enough to draw an entire arena into the show but not so much that it overshadowed the fact that there was only one performer on stage. It was additive and never pulled focus from the performance. It was spot on.

Of course John has a crew that has probably been with him for ages and knows his music as well as he does. That's how you pull of an arena show as a musician with a guitar. It takes everyone really knowing their craft and being completely tuned into the music. This crew was exactly that.

John was a presence unto himself on stage. From the first song you could tell he was in his element. He was having fun and bringing everyone along for the ride. Multiple times he would acknowledge different shouts of song requests between songs. At one point he was so involved in the moment that he said he was throwing out the setlist and going to take requests. He even fumbled through bits of songs that he couldn't quite remember that people had asked for. It seemed like he was really enjoying the time and the music. Like playing for a living room of friends. Whether it was honest or just part of the act it doesn't matter, it worked and everyone seemed to feel it.

I'm grateful that I got to go to the show. I got to experience a true musical craftsman at work. With that experience in mind I know I'll be seeing John's music in a whole new light.

John sitting on a chair stage left playing an acoustic guitar and singing

John sitting at the piano stage right playing

John standing center stage at a microphone holding his acoustic guitar. Bright white lights shining down on him from behind

John sitting on a chair stage left  playing a double neck acoustic guitar

John standing center stage playing his signature Fender Stratocaster guitar and singing