08.22.2003 John Mayer with Counting Crows Tweeter Center, Mansfield, MA
Much of the world of radio friendly music is divided into two philosophies. On the one hand, you have those who question why a band with such a hardcore following like Counting Crows would ever be the opening act for a punk like John Mayer. Then you have the rest who wonder why Counting Crows are there at all? I passed on John Mayer tickets when he toured with Guster in support of his first album. His radio hits definitely appeal to me, but the rest of his first album is unimaginative and immature. But the second album, Heavier Things was a distinct improvement. My friend from college was coming to visit, a self-proclaimed John Mayer fanatic, and so I bought two tickets so we could go to the show. I fall into the category of wondering why John Mayer wasn’t the opening act for Counting Crows. The result of the pairing, although they were listed as co-headliners, was a full set from John Mayer and an abbreviated set from Counting Crows.
We duly trekked down to Mansfield off of route 495 in southern Massachusetts. It’s a hike, and you can actually end up in a line of cars that stretches for miles because there is one entrance to the venue (it’s also the only exit, don’t get me started…) But we had plenty of time, and once we got inside the venue, we were able to walk around and peek at the merchandise onsale and leisurely make our way to the seats.
A lot of times I find that a performer who I’m otherwise ambivalent about, impresses me the most when I don’t recognize the material. This describes my John Mayer experience completely. He opened with a pathetic version of best known tune, “No Such Thing” and then backed his way into “3×5″ with some terrible stage banter that begged for a little lovin’ from his hometown (he went to college in Boston.) But he warmed up a few songs into the set and “My Stupid Mouth” and “Bigger Than My Body” were decent, little more energy, little more love from the crowd.
The best showcase for his work was “Come Back to Bed” which includes a dialogue of sorts towards the end, and humorously segued into the chorus “You can’t always get what you want.” It was playful and performed perfectly with his lopsided “I know I’m adorable” grin even though you just know he does it every night. “Your Body Is A Wonderland” was great, and I probably could have just left then.
John Mayer allows people to record his shows, so during the set change, quite a few mics were hiked into the air. The people who make these recordings are now apparently used to receiving requests from the rest of the crowd, and my friend fearlessly asked for his own copy from the guy closest to us. I got my own copy, and I can tell you that listening to it in the comfort of my home is a much more enjoyable experience than being there.
John Mayer Setlist
No Such Thing
My Stupid Mouth
Bigger Than My Body
Come Back To Bed
Your Body Is A Wonderland
Love Song For No One
Back To You