Saturday, August 14, 2010

Music Marathon, Day 1: Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson's sleepy, laid back signature song, "Better Together" captured the heart and soul of the swaying, singing crowd at USANA Amphitheater Friday.   Press PLAY as you read and look at the pictures below.

The biggest surprise of the evening happened early when we learned that Jack, an ardent earth-friendly advocate, was so pleased to hear about USANA's all volunteer Green Team program that he paid our admission to the pit for the concert.  

I text'ed to a couple of my concert posse friends on the lawn (who I was planning to sit with before Jack's kind gesture) ... "I'm sooooo ruined."  After hearing the entire concert from the foot of the stage, it will be hard to be on the outskirts for other events, whether as a spectator or a volunteer.

The concert showcased Johnson's latest album, "To the Sea," and with other past favorites from mellow to reggae with a touch of rock.  I fell in love with the lyrics at this concert. Johnson's themes expanded beyond the every day romance to life's dilemmas and the way we treat one another.  And of course, I couldn't write anything down, but I was trying to make lots of "mental notes."  "Staple It Together" particularly resonated with me.

Its really
Too bad
He became a prisoner of his own past
He stabbed the moment in the back
With the round thumbtack
That held up the list of things he gotta do
Its really,
No good
He's moving on before he understood
He shot the future in the foot with every step he took
From the places that he's been cause he forgot to look

Better staple it together and call it bad weather
Staple it together and call it bad weather X3
Mm hmm

Johnson expanded his band's circle to include G. Love, who played a set before Johnson came on stage, and Paula Fuga, who with Johnson, sang "Country Road," a light, swingy tune with powerful lyrics.

Head on Collision on a 2 lane country road,
Lord I pray let them be safe.
No turning back I’m just a mile away from home,
I sit here waiting let me be patient.

Sometimes it’s hard to ease my mind to realize,
you’re always with me waiting, willing
to hear my, thoughts my hopes,
my dreams, my every need

I pray for wisdom and overstanding

What’s meant to be will always be though I control my destiny,

Free will you gave me even though you made me.
Be careful of the things you do it eventually comes back to you,
universal law, Babylon shall fall.

The things you do shall be done unto you.

G. Love wowed with his harmonica serenades and his unmistakable stage presence.  G. Love especially shined in "Rodeo Clowns" a peppy tune which merged the best sides of reggae, rap, and acoustic guitar.

Women keep on dancing with the clowns,
Yeah, yeah, yeah,
They pick me up when I'm down,
Yeah, yeah,
The rodeo clowns
Yeah, yeah, yeah, they pick me up when I'm down

Footage of nature scenes such as oceans, beaches, wildlife, artistic designs, and what appeared to be Chinese symbols projected onto a semi-circle screen that spanned the stage behind the band. At times Johnson and the band were superimposed on the footage, which created an emotional "in the moment, larger than life" expression of the music in progress.

Johnson came out onstage alone for the encore.  He admitted to the crowd he was losing his voice, and with good reason.  He played nearly two hours and with little "chit chat" breaks in between songs.  Not a problem.  My fellow pit dwellers knew most of the lyrics.  Who would've ever thought that helping with USANA's recycling efforts would've led to all this?  {I'm not complaining.}





Disclosure: I was a volunteer at this concert. I received NO compensation for this review.

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