Concert Review: John Mayer, Sydney (April 24th, 2014)

Last week, I wrote about going to see John Mayer in concert, and last night was the night! The concert was held in Sydney, at the Allphones Arena (located in the Olympic Park Stadium, where the 2000 Summer Olympics took place).

The show started at 7pm but I got to the venue a bit early, since I was planning to buy some merchandise and didn’t want to wait in a long line. I arrived around 5:45 and bought a tour t-shirt that had all of John Mayer’s Australian tour dates on the back of it. As I was buying my shirt, I was thinking about how John Mayer was probably in the back doing his soundcheck. All of a sudden, I heard this music…which sounded like his music, and then I heard him singing. I realized he actually WAS doing his soundcheck and I could hear all of it.

So in what was probably the coolest moment of my life as a John Mayer fan, I wandered over to one of the doors that led to the arena, sat on the floor next to it and listened to John Mayer do his soundcheck for the show! It was really amazing. The acoustics were great where I was sitting and I could hear everything…even him talking about how he forgot some of the words to a song (“FRICK!” was what he said when he messed up on a chord, haha) and chatting with the band about which songs he wanted to play. It felt like I was sitting right across from him, even though I couldn’t really see inside (though I did peek through the door a few times and spotted him). I don’t think many of the other fans that were there early noticed, but I’m glad I did…it was almost like having two concerts at the price of one!

The actual show started at 7pm with Grace Potter and the Nocturnals as the opening act. I’d heard one or two of their songs before, but I was really impressed with their live set. They performed five songs and they put on a really fun/energetic show. Grace Potter has this great Janis Joplin-esque rock voice, and her vocals were fantastic. Though their music is a bit too “hard rock” for me, I did enjoy their set and I would probably check out their album in the future.

Finally, at 8:30 or so, John Mayer came on! He opened with “Queen of California”, which is also the first song on the “Born and Raised” album. Right from the first song, I knew I was in for an amazing concert; his vocals were perfect (sounded just like the studio), and his guitar work was spot-on.

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Mayer and his band performed a nice mix of old and new songs, which is always what a hardcore fan like myself is hoping for during a concert. He performed the first single of his career, “No Such Thing” (and a “fan” behind me didn’t even know what song it was…pfft!), and even performed “Your Body is a Wonderland” after a lengthy, yet comical, explanation/apology about the song’s cheesiness (he blamed it on the time of his life and where he was as a musician…we all laughed). He also performed fan favourites like “Waiting on the World to Change” and “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” as well as newer songs like “Dear Marie” and “Wildfire.”

He did a few covers, the best of which was “XO”, a laid-back, acoustic cover of Beyonce’s current single. Mayer has only been doing this cover during the Australian tour, so I was really lucky to get to hear it live. He also did covers of Eric Clapton’s “Promises” and a blues song, tiled, “Driftin’ Blues.”

My favourite songs of the night were a deconstructed version “If I Ever Get Around To Living” which Mayer performed in three parts, and then showed off by playing his electric guitar behind his back and his acoustic guitar in the front. Truly impressive. Since I’ve seen Mayer in concert once before, I really enjoyed hearing the newer songs like “A Face To Call Home” and “Edge of Desire”, since they hadn’t even been released the last time I saw him.

He closed the show with a three-song encore, including “Gravity”, the aforementioned blues cover, and my personal favourite song, “Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967.” The song is one of my favourites of his and it was so amazing to hear it live.

All in all, Mayer and his band performed 19 songs (including a 2-song acoustic set, performed by Mayer alone) and the show lasted a bit over 2 hours. There was lots of funny banter between sets, the song selection was perfect, and John Mayer and his band performed at the top of their game. It was an amazing night and I couldn’t have been happier with how it went!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qHRRH352zg]
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