John Mayer’s trying to do something up there

I just got back from the John Mayer/Sheryl Crow show at Shoreline. We showed up about half an hour late and when Crow came on first at around 7:30pm, I was almost afraid that I’d missed Mayer, but it turns out they’ve been alternating the order throughout the tour (Mayer went on first for Friday’s performance at the Pavilion in Concordread the review).

In any case, Crow went on first tonight and did a great set. I’ll admit that I was there to see Mayer, but from what I know about her and what I saw, Crow is a great artist and looks and sounds incredible. While I appreciated the fact that, since I don’t know all her music, she played all her hits– polished and well performed– I enjoyed her best when she let loose and showed us that she can really rock. I especially enjoyed her Kiss encore, including the great guitar solo by (I think) Tim Smith.

But when Mayer finally took the stage, I think everyone was really blown away– he opened with strong songs off of Continuum (the new album) and from his work with John Mayer Trio and my friend, who didn’t really know much about Mayer until tonight, was blown away by his performance. Mayer opened with “Belief” (now there’s a song about our times), which I have been listening to constantly and have been dying to hear live, and he didn’t disappoint. He followed with more great blues-rock performances as well as an acoustic version of his Grammy-winning “Daughters.” Sure, he eventually broke out one or two of the older pop-rock hits like “Why Georgia” and of course, “No Such Thing,” but in the end, even those are enriched by a great live performance because every time it’s a little different and the audience brings its own energy to the stage.

In the end, if you only know John Mayer from his first or even second albums and you’ve written him off as a pop-rock artist, then you’re not doing him justice– he’s an incredible musician and seeing him perform live will prove just that. You’ll see just how talented he is on that guitar (especially playing a sweet Fender Jimi Hendrix Monterey Strat) and just how passionate he is when he performs– at times, it’s like he’s all alone and we’ve been let in to watch some intimate act. Check out a show if you can and if you can’t, at least check out his latest albums– the live album Try! from John Mayer Trio and the latest Continuum.