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Concert Review: John Mayer – St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, FL – 2/5/10

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It often seems that to admit to enjoying the music of John Mayer, one must develop certain defense mechanisms in order to deflect criticism from those who give more credence to the drama of John Mayer. Granted, the artist has admittedly done himself few favors in this department, as evidenced most recently with his less-than-flattering Rolling Stone interview. Yet, regardless of however self-absorbed he seems or whatever character flaws he may have, Mayer regards his craft and, perhaps more importantly, his audience, with consummate sincerity.

Friday night at the St. Pete Times Forum, on just the second night of his U.S. tour in support of his latest LP, Battle Studies, Mayer engineered a purposeful and stirring two-hour performance that showcased the album nearly in full (playing nine of its eleven songs) along with a handful of older selections that served the primary material well.

On his most thematically cohesive effort to date, Mayer contextualizes Battle Studies by looking at intimate relationships as having an adversarial dynamic, rife with selfish motives and deep-seated suspicions. And he reflected as such in his performance, inciting "Heartbreak Warfare" at the outset amid an intense, simmering groove. On other album cuts, most notably "Edge Of Desire" and "Assassin," Mayer fared even better, his impassioned sentiments benefiting from the precision and richness of his stellar seven-piece band.

Mayer summoned other highlights with a jazz-flavored version of "Waiting On The World To Change" (that segued into The Police's "Walking On The Moon") as well as with one of his earliest hits, "No Such Thing," which inspired the biggest audience singalong of the night. Capping off the main set with an extended take on "Gravity," Mayer was exhilarating on the guitar, making the inevitable encore—a couple of acoustic moments, with "Who Says" and "Friends, Lovers, Or Nothing"—seem a bit anticlimactic in comparison. Even still, Mayer proved himself an inspiring musician overall, giving his audience one more reason to appreciate his talent.

About Donald Gibson

  • jay-z

    i am embarrassed for john mayer.

  • http://www.alharper.com/ A.L. Harper

    I like Mayer’s music. He’s a twat but so many are in the music business. It might be a requirement.

  • Josh Hathaway

    Well written, Donald, even if you are completely wrong. ;-)

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    I’m with Josh on this one Donald. Your review was very well-written as usual, but Maher just strikes me as such a self-absorbed douchebag (you are correct about that RS article doing him no favors), that I just can’t bring myself to endorse him.

    Decent guitarist I’ll grant you, but good music also requires the presense of having a soul, something which Mayer shows little evidence of having.

    -Glen

  • http://marksaleski.com Mark Saleski

    you guys crack me up. there are bands like Oasis – a whole freaking TEAM of twats – but somehow the standard doesn’t apply there?

    sheesh!

    and where’s pwinn when we need him?!

    ;-)

  • Dr. Jimmy

    Mayer is like school on Saturday…..no class.

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    Maher strikes me as a guy who never met a mirror he didn’t like, and his songs are also kind of samey-sappy to my ears. But that’s just me…

    I also don’t any Oasis albums if that makes a difference.

    -Glen

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Bill Maher writes songs?

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    oops. damn speed typing. but that would be mayer.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    the nay-sayers may have some credibility on the subject of Mayer if they didn’t like Coldplay

  • http://www.kitotoole.com Kit O’Toole

    Is John Mayer a tabloid celebrity? Yes. Is he full of himself? You bet. But he is one hell of a guitarist, which comes through live more than on studio recordings. I actually liked his first album–some solid songwriting is on there–but subsequent efforts have been disappointing. He tends to play it safe instead of letting his inner Buddy Guy fly free!

  • Jane

    John Mayer’s “Your body is a wonderland” was really a hit here in our place. He is a talented person indeed but he’s not perfect. Nobody is.

  • http://everythingisamess.wordpress.com Tom Johnson

    Eh, I think you guys take Mayer WAY too seriously. The guy’s got a pretty great sense of humor and doesn’t seem to think anything is off-limits. He comes across as a pretty genuine guy whenever I’ve seen him. That doesn’t sound like a “twat” to me, but maybe I’m missing something. To use Mark’s example, Oasis never look like anything BUT twats. I also haven’t read anything but some excerpts of the RS interview, but that doesn’t change my mind. (I do agree with him about his new album – Continuum is much, much better. Again, would a “twat” tell you his new album basically sucks?)

    And, as usual, El Bicho nails it.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    looks like Tom nailed it

  • Jordan Richardson

    Don’t mind John Mayer either. And his Twitter feed is fucking hilarious, too.

  • Paul Roy

    Yeah, what Tom said. I’m not the biggest fan of Mayer’s music, but he is a certainly an exceptional guitarist and a huge talent. Just watch is concert DVD. Oh, and he also nailed Jennifer Aniston, and Jessica Simpson, and……

  • http://theglenblog.blogspot.com Glen Boyd

    …yeah, and he refers to his dick as a “white supremacist” in the new Playboy interview. I rest my case.

    -Glen

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    and you still like Coldplay.

  • Elizabeth Brady

    I love John Mayer’s music too. You made me laugh when you said we almost have to hide because people make fun of us. So true. He is a wonderful artist but he behaves like a fifteen year old. Who cares about his escapades with women? Yick.

  • JMfan

    JM Concert- Music was fantastic- Epic even!
    Did NOT like “Owl City”.
    & John… the leather capris- they were gay.

  • Alan Schwartz

    Phillip Phillips was better. Not into the country John Mayer