24th June 2008
Birmingham Carling Academy
John Mayer is relatively unknown in this country, or was before his love-life became the interest of tabloids. His bluesy acoustic-rock is effortlessly accessible and coupled with the Santana gig; it was great to see two legends in one week.
British singer-songwriter Jack McManus is an inspired choice for support act. His pleasant piano-centric songs are light and breezy and highlight the pop elements of Mayer’s own guitar driven back-catalogue, providing a good set up for the main act.
Mayer’s set opens with ‘Belief’ extended with a Bluesy ending tainted by misplaced clapping. Like Santana, Mayer descends into jamming on various songs, but adds to the end of his songs rather than a series of instrumentals. The best example of which is on ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ which improves the lamenting sadness of the song more so than the original.
The biggest cheers are for his earlier works, where Mayer is most honest about its contents explaining he wrote Room for Squares when he didn’t know what was going on and how he distanced himself from his older music in order to turn around, look at it and realise how much he enjoyed it – relating to ‘Welcome to the Real World’, ‘Why Georgia’ and ‘Great Indoors’. Yet notably missing was the teenage favourite ‘Your Body Is A Wonderland’.
Mayer’s performance is real, honest and entirely a pleasure to watch. His accessibility as a person as well as a musician make his show more than a guy and his guitar, but rather an understanding of what makes his music.
*This was originally posted on my old blog*