Wednesday, 19 September 2007

John Mayer at the Royal Albert Hall last night...

The secret's out...last night I met the boyfriend at South Kensington tube and took him to the Royal Albert Hall to see John Mayer for his birthday. The support act was someone whose album I've recently seen advertised on TV, Newton Faulkner, and I'll definitely be downl...I mean, buying his album and checking out some of his songs this week because his set doth impresseth me greatly. As well as his own tracks, he covered Jose Gonzalez's song Teardrop and err, even did a rendition of Spongebob Square Pants which you've kinda gotta give him credit for, especially as the whole RAH audience were all singing along...haha...But on with the main event...

...Mr. Mayer and his long awaited two nights at the Royal Albert Hall on the 17th and 18th September. Although I'm not a hardcore, long term fan, I've been dying to see live since first hearing him and his amazing first album Room For Squares last year. On he came at around 10pm: the place was packed, everyone was going nuts and I can confirm that he is, to use my boyfriend's words, a Big Bag of Cool. A Big Bag of Cool with a different guitar for every song. Although he played mostly new songs some of which admittedly I hadn't heard before and are off his album Continuum, oldies such as Why Georgia and Your Body is a Wonderland as well as tracks from Heavier Things got everyone on their feet singing away.

Somewhat naively I assumed that he'd be playing more of his older songs, not realising that the tour was in aid of an album launch when I bought the tickets, so I was a little disappointed not to hear more of the songs I knew and listen to almost daily on the iPod. All credit to him though, I still enjoyed it despite not being able to sing along all the time as I rather like doing in the privacy of my bedroom. In fact, I took a few more videos other than the one below (which is taking an age to upload so I might have to abandon it), but they won't be getting uploaded due to my wonderful crooning which can be heard for a few seconds in the background. Not the sort of performer to yap and make conversation; what he didn't say in between songs was more than made up for by his extensive guitar solos and his band - amazing - both were tight. They played together really well and I loved it, he's a shooper talented geetarist, facto. Then came the encore (as a side note, it took him about 5 mins to come back out...and I wondered if a performer's ever not been called out for an encore? Like what if the crowd just went 'sod this, I'm off' and left? I'm curious. Do you know if that's ever happened?). Happily much clapping, screaming and floor stomping ensured he came out for another 3 or 4 songs, and I thought taking a minute to sign some autographs down at the front was a nice touch to end the show on.

Whilst the show was enjoyable, I think given the fact that he's not exactly hugely well known here in the UK, he could have played a few more oldies, as it's well known that Room for Squares is his most popular album. Although he and America may be fed up of hearing the familiar songs that made him famous (e.g. My Stupid Mouth, No Such Thing, Covered in Rain) I got the impression that those at this show, at least the people seated in the stalls around section M, and away from the massive fans in front of the stage, would have appreciated a few more well known hits. The change in atmosphere when the beginning chords to 'Why Georgia' began to play are testiment to this, instantly electrifying the hall as everyone in the place broke into song along with him.

So all in all, a great concert in an amazing venue - and on the upside, I'm now listening to songs such as Clarity, Bigger than My Body and Gravity with new ears (not literally); as I find there's something about re-listening to songs after you've heard them live, it makes them instantly recognisable and gives them a new quality. Good stuff. And those of you reading this who haven't got a clue who John Mayer is, get on the case: consider this a recommendation.


James said...

Glad like you had a good night. Just a point on the following line:

"As well as his own tracks, he covered Jose Gonzalez's song Teardrop"

Teardrop is an amazing track originally written by Massive Attack, that was covered by Newton Faulkners some time ago on a an EP prior to both his release of his latest album and Jose Gonzalez's version.

If you haven't heard and seen the very highly rated video of the original, I recommend you go and watch it here.

Hannah said...

OH MY GOD. I could not be more jealous. Wonderland is one of my most favouritist songs, ever. Hmph.

Jo said...

James - awesome cheers for the correction. I shall be checking out that video and the massive attack version tomorrow.

Hannah - It was great. I keep trying to upload a video but it takes so long I'm not that patient...I'll try and up it tomorrow (you may have to excuse my dreadful singing)

Steph said...

Can't say I'm a huge fan but those pics are awesome.

London-Lass said...

You know, I thought you'd taken your boyfriend to see John MAJOR first of all.

Am afraid I've never heard of this guy (although the chipster probably has as he's a little more street cred than me) although the Royal Albert Hall must've been an amazing place to go to.

Jo said...

Merci buckets Steph...they're the best of a bad bunch. If anyone knows the optimum setting for a digital camera at concerts so you don't get either a good shot of the people in front of you and nothing of the stage...suggestions welcome.

londonlass - haha. My friends said the same thing... 'John Major?' Yes...I'm going to see the ex- PM in concert, you eeedjits.

Perpetual said...

We were at the same concert!

I too thought it was really good and the band seemed to play very very well together. I completely missed Newton Faulkner as I was in the bar and quite gutted when I realised I'd missed him, but John Mayer more than made up for it.

I has also hoped he'd play a few more of his older songs, but hey ho you get what you get and I'm not complaining.


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