Wednesday, September 1, 2010

John Mayer on a Cold August Night

Press PLAY to set the correct mood for this post.
Before the John Mayer concert Tuesday at USANA Amphitheater in Salt Lake City, I saw a young man wearing a button:

My body is a wonderland. Free rides tonight.

Wow.  Nothing like putting yourself out there.  (As I write, Trace Adkins is playing in the background, so everything I write herein may be clouded by that.)

Mayer's music was good, particularly a duel between his guitar and the "voice" of the saxophone player, but he struggled to connect with the crowd and to build toward a climatic conclusion.  The weather probably didn't help.  After the sun went down, it was wrap-in-a-blanket cold ... August 31st and it was anything but a hot August night.

The undulating motion in the VIP section common at previous USANA concerts this summer was stilled with what looked like characters in a wax museum.  Everyone sat motionless and peered toward the stage, except during a few songs.  Part of this was because so many of Mayer's songs were not danceable.  And when people got out of their seats, it wasn't to get a beer, it was to go home.  Early exiters seemed a bit more plentiful than usual.
Like so many musicians, Mayer tried to pace the two-and-a-half hour concert with brief monologue in between songs.  He spoke about his geeky clothing and women who try to change him.  At one point, he singled out a woman in the audience for a possible hookup after the concert, then said, "I'll make this easy and have my agent just give you 50% of everything I have."  The ongoing cynicism about male/female relationships in between songs seemed a little raw at times. 
As with every concert, I am there to focus on the music, not the personal lives of those performing, but somehow this night it was hard.  Really hard. Unless you have been living in a space bubble, you too have seen the grocery store headlines about John Mayer's celebrated and ill-fated romance with Jennifer Aniston.  Perhaps I'll take flack about this, but I could relate to Jen's situation, a divorced woman dating a never married guy.  That was me, times three, with several bachelors I have dated since my divorce.  I'm not sorry for the dance, so to speak, but ... adios, objectivity.

Admittedly, I was on a different planet, and chatted up a friend during nearly the entire set.  Every so often, I gazed at the beautiful free-form designs projecting from the huge screen behind the band, but I didn't take as much time to make either paper or mental notes on the songs, the lyrics, or happenings on the stage. In fact, I was chatting incessantly during "Your Body Is A Wonderland," the most famous of John Mayer's songs and after the concert found myself asking the others, "did he play ... that song??"  Yes, he did, apparently, but I missed it.
As I walked out to the parking lot, I noticed even the trailerhood behind the stage was a bit subdued.  Fewer fans, less commotion, and, uncharacteristic for August, chill was in the air.  {sigh}

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

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