Sunday, December 07, 2008

My Seventh John Mayer Concert!

Last year was the John Mayer's second annual charity show at Nokia Theatre in downtown L.A. I couldn't go to last year's show because some dumbass (me) scheduled the office Christmas party for that night and found out about the concert after getting everyone else to clear their schedule for the party. My transmission was screwed at the time anyway, so I was getting around in a rental car on the weekends. I also knew that show would be filmed and watch it regularly.

Last night was just John Mayer. He didn't have any band backing him up but his four track recorder/effects machine that he'd program and run himself. I spent most of the night watching him on the big screens since our orchestra seats weren't as close as we hoped. He was about the size of a finger from where we were sitting. I could've been sitting in the nosebleed section and the show would've been just as awesome. (As a sidenote, I tried getting tickets through the fan club presale at the end of the first day and they were sold out. I had to borrow my boss's American Express card to get tickets through that presale, and the closest seats I could get were at the rear of the orchestra section. I hate the way the fan club presale works.)

Anyway, this show was so fulfilling. Andrew and I talked beforehand about the shows we hoped he played. He wanted covers ("Little Red Corvette" and "Crossroads"). I wanted new songs (didn't get any) and songs I'd loved hearing live before ("Comfortable," "St. Patrick's Day" and "Not Myself"). I also wanted to hear some things solo that he usually did with a full band or the trio ("Something's Missing" and "Who Did You Think I Was"). I think he covered every song from debut album Inside Wants Out, even if it was just one verse. We got so much music. I'm so glad I took my digital recorder because this was a concert I really want to share with others.

It could've been called "John Mayer: Keepin' It Real." He was the same babbling guy with the wry stories and charming life lessons from Any Given Thursday. He was very real, very vulnerable, and very eager to share his music with the fans that got him to where he is today. I don't know how anyone could leave that concert and not dig the guy a little bit more.

The experience is made whole by other factors - the venue, who you're with, the audience. The venue was beautiful and had great acoustics. I think this bootleg will sound cleaner than the others. They had a good selection of bottled beers and some menu options beyond hot dogs and nachos (not that we ate any of them). The audience was interesting. I stood for the whole show and so did a guy two rows ahead of me. Then there was a sea of people sitting in the ten or fifteen rows in front of us. I was beside the best girl friends, one of which was apparently moving away so they kept talking but at least sang along and danced at times. Andrew was beside the couple that apparently didn't have their own place to make a sexy time because they were down each other's throats for a chunk of the show. Of course, Andrew is always a good time at concerts and I think he gets almost as excited as I do about JM shows (which is pretty damn excited). It's great to share something you love with someone you love.

I do have two complaints but they're about the location. We paid $20 to park in a lot manned by surly people. In fact, there was a big hole in the chain link fence that was maybe supposed to keep rapists out of the lot. At least it was easy to drive out of the lot, right? Second, the Nokia Theatre is part of this L.A. Live thing that is supposed to be like Los Angeles's own Times Square. When we walked toward the venue, I felt like I was supposed to have a seizure from all the damn flashing lights and the noise. It was overkill. It was also impossible to get free stuff at the booths in the plaza outside the venue because it was so loud and flashy and psychotic. (You know I like free concert booty.)

But back to my main point. John Mayer rocks just as hard by himself as he does when he has a band backing him. I know we're fans for life.

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