At Rogers Arena on Wednesday, April 19.
“Welcome to the Search For Everything Tour. My name is John and I’ll be your tour guide.”
That was how the talented American singer-songwriter slash die-hard fan-magnet kicked off his sold-out Vancouver show last night (April 19) at Rogers Arena (800 Griffiths Way).
Concert-goers slowly trickled in when the doors opened at 6:30 p.m., and by the time John Mayer’s openers—LANY, a Los Angeles-based alternative band—had finished up around a quarter past eight, most of the venue’s 18,630 seats were filled.
The lights dimmed, and the words “Chapter 1: Full Band” appeared across the stage’s backdrop—a large black screen that served as a visual chameleon throughout the set.
Accompanied by his seven-piece band, John Mayer finally made it on stage and the cheers and applauses for the singer were deafening. The crowd grew even louder when he began singing his first song of the night, “Moving On and Getting Over”. After “Helpless”, he made an effort to connect with the audience and name-dropped Vancouver in his 4/20 appropriate “Who Says”.
Chapter 2 (“Acoustic”) saw the singer reappear onstage, this time alone. Views of what looked like Japan’s Mount Fuji and cherry blossom trees were projected on the backdrop, and a Japanese bridge popped-up on stage (thumbs up to his tour’s creative director).
Tunes like “3x5” and “Your Body Is a Wonderland” made a comeback from his 2001 album Room for Squares. He also performed covers of Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil” and Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’”.
In between every song, John Mayer made sure the audience knew that he had some mad guitar skills. The demonstration of his finger-work mastery was even more prominently showcased when he took the stage with the John Mayer Trio (bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan) for Chapter 3.
The three musicians rocked out to everything from “Who Did You Think I Was” to “Vultures” to a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads”. It was hard to tell which had more energy—the trio or the middle-aged crowd (the latter meant that there were hardly any smartphones whipped out for photos, videos, and social media).
When his full band returned for Chapter 4, Mayer took the time to poke fun at those who sing “Happy Birthday” at an octave too high—right before orchestrating the crowd to sing the song for one of his band members. If this isn’t an example of a musician expertly bonding with fans, then we don’t know what is.
His set list featured mostly oldies but goodies, so “Changing” from his latest album The Search for Everything was a nice and new addition to hear. Of course, his classics such as “Why Georgia” and “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” got the crowd roaring.
When Mayer said “My name is John and it was a pleasure playing for you”, his fans knew that they would be expecting a couple more songs. Hardly anyone left their seats when Mayer and his band departed the stage after Chapter 4.
His encore songs didn’t disappoint—fan-favourites such as “No Such Thing” and “Gravity” kept the crowd going even though it was already nearing 11 p.m. on a Thursday night.
Mayer’s concert may have gone on for over two hours, but it felt like 15 minutes. When it was finally time for Chapter 5 (”Epilogue”), the singer stepped back on an all-white stage and sang his new “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me” while playing on a white piano. Many online-users have commented that this song should be in the next Disney movie, specifically Toy Story, and we can’t help but feel the same way.
After finishing his last piece of the night, the 39-year-old singer took a bow and walked through a door that seemed to magically appear on the screen. It almost felt bittersweet to see him go, but John Mayer played a great show and undeniably pleased his audience with authentic musical talent.