Wednesday, April 5, 2017

John Mayer at Madison Square Garden

Born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and raised in nearby Fairfield, John Mayer became fascinated with the guitar after watching Michael J. Fox's character play one in Back to the Future. When he turned 13, his father rented one for him, and Mayer started taking lessons from a local guitar-shop owner. After two years of practice, while still in high school, Mayer started performing live, both solo and in a band called Villanova Junction. At age 17, Mayer was hospitalized for a weekend with cardiac dysrhythmia and wrote his first lyrics the night he left the hospital. At age 20, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he played acoustic rock in local clubs. Moving between the worlds of pop, blues and, most recently, playing Grateful Dead songs with Dead & Company, Mayer won seven Grammy Awards and sold over 20 million albums. His seventh and most recent album, The Search for Everything, will be released on April 14, 2017. He currently lives in Bozeman, Montana.

John Mayer's current live show is divided into full band, solo acoustic and trio "chapters," yet features a loose set list. Headlining at Madison Square Garden tonight, Mayer's show was retrospective while highlighting his more recent work. In recent years, Mayer was sidelined at least twice by vocal issues requiring surgery, but he sang well, a slight rasp lending more depth to his bluesy delivery. He performed the hits, deep cuts, covers and mash-ups, showcasing his abilities both as singer-songwriter and blues guitarist. The staging likewise was intricately crafted, as segments were introduced on a screen and, for the acoustic set, the stage at Madison Square Garden visually became a Japanese garden, complete with a small bridge. Indeed, Mayer and company uniquely and successfully bridged the genres that satisfied both younger pop fans and their guitar-loving dads. By the end of the 21-song set, both facets would applaud Mayer's credentials. Next up, Mayer will resume touring this summer as part of Dead & Company.

Visit John Mayer at

Chapter 1: Full Band
  1. Moving On and Getting Over
  2. Helpless
  3. Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
  4. Waiting on the World to Change
  5. War  (Bob Marley & the Wailers cover) (David Ryan Harris singing)
Chapter 2: Acoustic
  1. Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967
  2. Emoji of a Wave
  3. Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty cover)
Chapter 3: Trio
  1. Crossroads (Robert Johnson cover)
  2. Vultures
  3. Bold as Love (The Jimi Hendrix Experience cover)
Chapter 4: Full Band (Reprise)
  1. Who Says
  2. Stop This Train
  3. Queen of California > Fire on the Mountain (Grateful Dead cover)
  4. Still Feel Like Your Man
  5. Why Georgia
  1. Love on the Weekend
  2. Gravity
Chapter 5: Epilogue
  1. You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me