John Mayer is in Canada and has already completed tour stops in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and London. A buddy invited me to the Ottawa show and I'll confess that my knowledge of John Mayer was restricted to hearing just a few of his biggest hits, and someone recently told me he was dating Jessica Simpson. Without knowing what to expect from Mayer both as a musician and a showman, it was interesting to see first-hand who (demographic) listens to John Mayer by scanning the audience, and to discover through virgin eyes, ears whether Mayer was a bonafide musician or just the latest pin-up flavour of the month.
One of the first observations I made was that John Mayer's voice sounds better, has more depth and character live than his recorded voice. It's pretty rare these days with so much post-processing done to recorded vocals, to actually here a pop sensation sound better on the live stage. Again, I haven't been exposed to much of Mayer's song collection, but for those who buy his albums or tracks, attending his concert is worth the price of admission because they will get a better appreciation for his vocal talent. On the musicianship front, Mayer also displayed some prolific strumming on his guitar and when combined with his golden vocals, it was obvious to me that he is the 'real deal' and has the full package. Talent, good looks and a likeable roster of songs figures to be a combination that keeps Mayer on the music radar for many years to come.
Personally speaking, I was a little disappointed that he didn't go into any really lengthy jams. Almost all of his songs and their lengths are built for iTunes. He has the talent and craftsmanship to get into some serious jam sessions and grooves, but it just seemed whenever he was close to really going with it, he would cut the song short. That's the difference between a Dave Matthews Band and a John Mayer. Matthews will jam, Mayer not so much.
Overall, I would highly recommend anybody familiar with John Mayer's music to check him out when he next rolls into your city - he still has Canadian tour stops in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. I can see how his fans would really appreciate the live experience, and speaking of fans, it was nice to see a wide-range of age groups from young to middle-aged and up enjoy his show. Mayer's music clearly has widespread appeal.
Here's a little clip of Mayer's recent concert in Toronto...
I left John Mayer's concert with only one question left unanswered...what the heck is he doing with Jessica Simpson?
Actually, I kind of know the answer to that one too :-)
Image credit: [Mike Itchue]