On October 16th, John Mayer is turning 40! Mayer has come of age since he first burst on the scene with “Room for Squares” in 2001. We have watched him grow up and he has taken us through his various life experiences album to album, song by song.
In his latest work, “The Search for Everything”, he has been open and forthright about the melodies he has penned about his former very public relationship. He talks about his visits to his therapist. A more humble John Mayer emerges, life’s struggles will do that to you.
Opening the Tampa gig, 2012’s “Queen of California” from his “Born and Raised” album was a surprise, but Mayer has learned a thing or two from playing with Dead and Company! Keep your setlists changing and fresh!
One of his best new songs on the night’s setlist from“The Search for Everything” is “In the Blood”, Mayer is asking the life questions about himself we all ask. Yes, there are the obligatory hits too, one of the best metaphors for an imploding relationship is “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” and “Waiting for the World to Change” which has become an anthem of sorts to the millennial crowd who were singing along.
John breaks the show up into several acts; full band, an acoustic set and the John Mayer Trio, made up of the incomparable drummer Steve Jordan and bass player for The Who and others, Pino Palladino, who also are part of the band. The trio was a happy accident for Mayer in 2005, working with Jordan and Palladino, they recorded an album “Try” which included “Who Did You Think I Was” which rocked Amalie Arena! “Vultures” another Mayer well known ditty to the diehard fans. The trio usually honors Hendrix in some fashion and for this show it was with “Wait Until Tomorrow” which allows Mayer to school the audience on Jimi. John also has a replica of Hendrix’s Monterey Pop Fender he uses during the show.
During the acoustic set, Mayer travelled back in time to one of his first big hits “Your Body is Wonderland”, then asking the audience, “Who Says”, from his 2007 album “Battle Studies”, his cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” has become a staple at Mayer shows for an audience sing-along. From his best selling live 2008 CD/DVD “Where the Light Is”, a rarely played gem, “In Your Atmosphere” was a lucky win for the Tampa audience!
Taking it to the home stretch was the catchy, new “Movin’ On and Getting Over” to the ever timeless “Gravity” with its haunting melody and JM’s stellar guitar solos, it is one of his greatest pieces of work. Mayer calls it “the most important song I have written”. He’s right. Closing the show, Mayer came out solo in a rare move to an upright piano and a ballad called “Your Gonna Live Forever in Me” awash in white light. Clapton calls Mayer a “master guitarist” Yes, John Mayer is getting older & wiser and proving he is one of his generation’s greatest musicians.
Photos from Vicky Sullivan / Rock the Lens Photography