Before John Mayer ever released his first album, Room For Squares, I was a fan. And as he continued to grow as an artist I continued to grow as a fan. From his pop-rock, acoustic-driven, radio-friendly hits that made him famous, to the matured blues-rock, electric-driven creative sounds that have turned him into a modern-day guitar legend, I’ve been there. And so it was with great anticipation that I waited for his latest creation, Where The Light Is, to be released on DVD. Taking its name from the outro chorus of Mayer’s hit song, “Gravity”, the just-over 2 hours-long concert took place in LA less than a year ago and Mayer gave quite the show. The album version has been playing non-stop on my iPod for over a month now.
Made up of three parts, Mayer starts it off alone, on a stage, in the spotlight, amidst 7,000 people or so, just playing the acoustic guitar. From the dazzling solo of “Neon” to the rare b-side “In Your Atmosphere”, one of my all-time favorites songs, “Stop This Train”, and the Tom Petty cover “Free Fallin”, Mayer does what is perhaps one of the most difficult feats to do in music: playing flawlessly while being virtually alone.
In the second part of the show, Mayer teams up with his blues-rock pals, Steve Jordan on drums and Pino Palladino on bass, the John Mayer Trio rips into a series of loud, electric blues-rock sounds that include the Trio’s hits like “Who Did You Think I Was?” and the complex tracks of Jimmy Hendrix’s “Wait Till Tomorrow” and “Bold As Love”, with its phenomenal solo that few artists can manage to pull off gracefully.
Bold As Love
Finally, the last part of concert is Mayer and his full band, playing mainly hits off his latest studio album, Continuum. Playing crowd-pleasers like “Waiting On The World To Change” and “Why Georgia”, Mayer slips briefly back into blues-rock with a cover of Ray Charles’ “I Don’t Need No Doctor” before giving a highlighting performance of “Gravity”.
Mayer gives it his all in this concert, and proves that he is indeed deserving of being called one of Rolling Stone magazine’s “New Guitar Gods”. The film, directed by Danny Clinch, a rock-photographer who has covered the likes of Cash, Springsteen, Tupac and Dave Mathews. The film starts off with Mayer with a guitar, an amplifier, and a loop pedal, on the hillside of Mulholland Drive, overlooking LA and the Holywood sign. This is cut to him talking about his life as a musician but his performance on the hill is included on the DVD as a special feature called “Slow Dancing on Mulholland Drive”, which you can watch on YouTube.
Every time I see Mayer pick up a guitar, I put mine under my bed and try to forget all about it. A live concert is perhaps one of the greatest thrills a human being can experience, and watching it on a DVD may not always provide that same feeling.
This is one of the rare times that it does.