Concert Review: John Mayer Live In Auckland
I didn’t really know what to expect from John Mayer’s show as I hadn’t seen him live before and hadn’t really looked much into it. It was definitely a wide age range which looked to be 16+. Most of the younger crowd seemed to take their place on the floor seats and the older crowd up on the sides, which is probably best in regards to view. There was no opening act, the crowd was there for nothing but 2 hours of John Mayer.
The crowd took their seats and before you knew it the lights went down. The band & John made their way on to the stage but they weren’t alone. Joining them were Te Wehi Haka and songstress Bella Kalolo Bella and John performed a duet of ‘How great thou art/Whakaaria Mai’. As they finished the males in the roopu came forward and performed ‘Ka Mate’. Being Maori myself I felt it was a beautiful way to start the show and a nice acknowledgment to New Zealand culture. It was hard to hold in the urge to not join in, to be honest. But it was also not that sort of crowd. After the group departed the stage John and his 8-piece band (Aaron Sterling on drums, Aaron Draper on percussion, Pino Palladino on bass, Jamie Muhoberac on keys, David Ryan Harris on guitar, Isaiah Sharkey on guitar and backup singers Tiffany Palmer and Carlos Ricketts) dove straight into the first set.
I really appreciated that John had a full band and a simple tie dye background. It really brought the focus of the night to the music. No theatrics or anything showy, just the music. The lighting accompanied a lot of the music really well. It was multi coloured but subtle and quite ambient. When John first spoke to the crowd he apologised, for missing us on the last tour so that is why he chose New Zealand as the first tour date in 2019.”This is the 1st tour I think I’m actually standing on stage with all my mind”
It was probably a good idea that his show was fully seated because a part front the few upbeat tracks he played, you didn’t really want to stand for too long, well I didn’t. John Mayer really loves his music and now I understand why people appreciate his music. Not only does he really feel it, it is clearly a huge passion for him. John thanked the crowd for continuing to appreciate his music, even if you don’t appreciate all of it. “Some of those you mess with and some of those you don’t. But the fact that you haven’t stopped messing with these songs means the world to me. I just didn’t see it coming. Thank you”
The multiple guitar solos he had and the facials and movements really showed he was doing it because he loved it, not just for the show aspect of it. I’m usually not into instrument solos unless it’s brief and really suits what is happening but this really did. It was incredible! I particularly enjoyed seeing a young guy a couple of rows in front of me losing his mind to the solos. It was as if this young guy was playing it himself and what John was doing clearly blew his mind.
I liked the idea of the theatre-style show, fully seated and 2 sets. And I have to say John kicking off the 2nd set with ‘XO (Beyoncé cover)’ was a fun time! But the real beautiful part of the 2nd set and possibly the night was not only the crowd holding up their phone lights and singing along to ‘Gravity’ but John also played a beautiful tribute to Christchurch and all those affected with ‘The Heart of Life’. “This is a song we didn’t expect to play but I wanted to play it for you and send my love to you. This is 1 from our hearts to you”.
After what seemed like an unforgettable week, I would say John Mayer gave a show that New Zealanders needed. A really nice night out to just feel, enjoy some company and enjoy the music. John also seemed to enjoy himself and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him again “I’m going to go like this until the guy puts his hand on my shoulder and that’s the way it’s gonna be and that’s alright by me. I’m just gonna do this until I can’t do this anymore."