Some call his music corny. Some call him arrogant. Others call him a player. Perhaps all three were once true. Either way, we have shamelessly loved John Mayer for years. We have never cared that the admission of this love for him and the fact that his music dominates our iPod cottage playlist is sometimes met with amused reactions. After his Toronto show at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre last night, presented by Live Nation, our opinion didn’t change. In fact, it was reconfirmed. As part of Mayer’s Born and Raised tour (named after his fifth studio album, which was released last year), the show marked the first time we had seen Mayer play live in way too long. Born and Raised is Mayer’s first tour in three years after undergoing vocal surgery and maintaining a relatively low profile. One thing is for sure: if you weren’t a fan of his before, you were at least more of one after watching him play last night. Here is why you should stop hating on John Mayer…
He is Gracious
Throughout the show, Mayer repeatedly thanked the crowd for “sticking by him” and acknowledged that “people are always like, ‘Why do you like John Mayer?’” (Admittedly, our friend’s response to us attending the show was, ‘He still has a career?’). Right after a flawless and soulful performance of end-of-relationship anthem “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” Mayer told the crowd that he didn’t expect to see so many people, and thanked the screaming fans again, asking the ones way back on the lawn how they were making out. We have never seen him so humble. No joke.
He Embraces His Old Stuff
In his post “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” dialogue, Mayer told the audience, “After me taking so much time off, there is no reason you’d all come out here to listen to songs you can’t sing along to – let’s play some old stuff.” Of course, this was met by more screams from the audience. “I could really do any number for this gig,” said Mayer, “but why don’t we take it back to the start.” And that he did, back to the days that we first fell for him with “Your Body is a Wonderland.” Sigh. To top it off, the song ended with an amazing guitar solo.
He is Still Sexy as Hell
Sure, Mayer has a few more lines on his face when he sings than when we last saw him, but, in our opinion, that makes him all the more raw and masculine. And he looked equally as hot in the black and white retro-looking shots that appeared toward the end of the show as he did on stage. This could be a reason why he kills it with the ladies and has been linked to some of Hollywood’s most sought-after women. He is currently still going strong with Katy Perry, and the pair dined in New York just days ago.
His Music is Better
The Born and Raised album offers a different, more mature, raw and honest feel to Mayer’s music. It’s slower, folkier, more acoustic, harmonica-filled and takes cues from the 60s and 70s. Our favourites? Download “Queen of California,” “Born and Raised,” "Speak for Me," or “Something Like Olivia.”
He Has Style
John Mayer has the type of style we only wish that more Toronto guys would at least try to pull off. He avoids the grimy, greasy, “I haven’t showered in days” musician look, but is far from polished preppy. Last night was no exception. His hair pulled back with a bandana and in a loose denim button down offered an element of “West Coast cool casual,” helping him look as good as he sounded.
He is So Damn Passionate
We’ve said it before; anyone who can sing and play the guitar has our heart. The reason? The passion that resonates through them when they perform. You can see the raw, uninhibited passion in Mayer’s face when he is on stage (and as you can tell from our pics, we were close to him). He remains committed and completely into it, with his eyes closed at times and even does a little turtle-esque neck thing when lost in the song. With that kind of passion, you just know he would be good in bed. Yep, we said it.
He Screws Up Gracefully
Fine, he isn’t perfect. When performing "Who Says," Mayer screwed up the order of lyrics in the chorus. Instead of singing “it’s been a long time since 22,” he started to sing “it's been a long night in Baton Rouge,” but caught himself in the middle, producing a hybrid of the two lyrics. The thing was, it was so smooth and he remained so invested that we bet that we weren’t the only ones in the audience who initially questioned whether it was ourselves that got the order wrong.
He is Super Talented. And Multi-Talented
There is no questioning Mayer’s talent after seeing him live. In fact, the only artist we have seen sing as well live is Adele, and she’s obviously another story. From the vocals to the memorable guitar solos and ample harmonica playing (especially during "Born and Raised"), Mayer definitely gave fans a show worth their money.
Mayer kept the energy high throughout, and in addition to the songs mentioned, played favourites like “Queen of California,” “Fool to Love You,” “Something Like Olivia,” “Paper Doll,” “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You),” “Who Says,” “Neon,” “Half of My Heart,” “If I Ever Get Around to Living,” “Speak for Me,” “Waiting on the World to Change,” “Born and Raised,” and “Age of Worry,” among others.
Earlier this week, Mayer announced that his sixth studio album, Paradise Valley, would be available to stream in its entirety on iTunes in advance of its official release on August 20th. His duet with Katy Perry, “Who You Love,” is naturally blowing up the Internet as we speak.
Our verdict? John Mayer is older, wiser and humbler than he once was and seems to have found a degree of humility. As he sings on Born and Raised’s “Shadow Days,” 'I'm a good man with a good heart; had a tough time, got a rough start; but I finally learned to let it go.’ In a humbled departure before coming back on stage for an encore performance that included “A Face to Call Home” (which Mayer dedicated to Katy Perry at his Milwaukee show last month), Mayer promised the crowd that he "Will come back and see you,” telling us, “We love you, thank you.” No John, we love you.