An Evening With John Mayer in Tuscaloosa
A review of the April 25 show and season opener for the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.
by Judy Smith
Under a gorgeous Alabama full moon, seven-time Grammy Award winner John Mayer opened his show for a sold-out crowd at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater on April 25, singing a very vibrant version of Queen of California from his latest highly acclaimed CD “Born and Raised,” proving that his Shadow Days are finally over. The performance marked Mayer’s return to the stage after an almost three-year hiatus from touring that was plagued with several health concerns, including two medical procedures.
It’s been a long and weary road back to performing for Mayer, but his joy to be back on stage was obvious. When Mayer walked onto the stage wearing his slightly battered cowboy hat – a sign of his new roots in Montana – the energy in the air was electric. And with his unmistakable charm and musical talent, Mayer continued to captivate the crowd throughout the evening.
“I love you, and I’m thinking about you,” Mayer said to the screaming crowd. “It’s just that I’m way too excited to play these songs for you. I’ve been waiting a very, very long time to get on stage and show this idea, have it less about me and more about us.”
Mayer’s set was laden with the heart-wrenching songs from his latest offering and sprinkled with a few classic tunes and some favorites from his own musical heroes. Mayer’s musical genius came through in his mixture of genres, including a new, more folksy take on fan favorite Who Says and his bluesy version of the legendary Muddy Waters’ Got My Mojo Working. The beautiful musical arrangement of his latest anthem Age of Worry started almost like a lilting lullaby and grew into a crescendo of pure musical enchantment that washed over the crowd.
After returning to the stage for an encore, Mayer asked fans to help him out on one of his earlier hits, Why Georgia, and the crowd gladly obliged by hitting the higher notes that his voice won’t allow him to reach yet. The multi-talented Mayer played harmonica on the hauntingly beautiful Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey and finished the show with a magnetic performance of If I Ever Get Around to Living.
Mayer was also quick to praise the talents of his opening act, the Birmingham-based band St. Paul and the Broken Bones, promising the crowd that they would definitely be seeing more of this group.
Throughout his set, Mayer proved that his velvety voice is back and will only improve as his vocal range strengthens in time for the official start of his tour in July. Mayer and company will be traveling to places far and wide for his Born and Raised World Tour. To see if Mayer is headed to a city near you, check out the tour schedule on his website.
The evening also marked the opening of the concert season for the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater. To check out what other amazing shows are headed to this picturesque concert hall, visit www.tuscaloosaamphitheater.com.
Photos by Judy Smith.
Judy Smith is a freelance writer living in Laurel, Mississippi. Her work has been featured in South Mississippi Living, The Talon Magazine and Beach Boulevard Magazine, and she also writes an insider blog on things to do in Jackson for VisitSouth.com.
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