Review Summary: A nice assortment of styles all found in Mayer's career. Fans, get this, others, don't bother.
By now, you all know who John Mayer is. We’ve seen him start out as a humble Acoustic Pop guitarist, who engaged in the same lyrical themes that any other blue eyed, suburban kid may write about. We saw him gain national success with this style, and while, at times he dazzled us with his jazzy blues, acoustic playing (See: ”Neon”), many of us simply stood blank faced, and asked, “What’s the big deal?” But then, a funny event occurred, that prompted much of the music community to turn a complete 180, on their views on John Mayer: he released a Blues album. The idea seemed laughable, that an Acoustic Pop artist could pick up a Fender Stratocaster, and evoke B.B. King, and Eric Clapton, but it was true. From then on, with a whole new level of respect from people who once denied John Mayer, he would shift styles over the next several years until Mayer took the next logical step, and released a live album that combined both his love of the Blues, and his blue eyed Acoustic Pop. Enter, “Where The Light Is”.
Indeed, if there was ever a live album made to showcase all of an artist’ talents into one show, then “Where the Light Is” would fit the bill perfectly. Taking place in Los Angeles, California, on December 8th, 2007, this concert shows the progression of John Mayer’s music. It’s a sprawling album, consisting of 22 cuts (with several covers, and two previously unreleased songs mixed in). The acoustic set is up first, with “Neon” beginning the show. Some staccato Jazz lines are improvised by John, and then the song takes off, along with the set. While “Neon” is a definite highlight, “Daughters” makes use of some delicate slide guitar lines, and “Free Fallin’”, a Tom Petty cover, fair just as well. Overall, the acoustic set just seems like a warm up to the actual show, as its only five songs long, until we get to the next set with the John Mayer Trio.
Without a doubt, the Blues portion of this show is what most people will probably be interested in hearing. For the most part, Mayer just lifts the songs he did on his “Try!” album, while adding the Blues favorite “Everyday I Have the Blues”, which actually ends up being perhaps the biggest highlight of the Blues Set. I’ll admit, for someone who doesn’t listen to much Blues, this set will provide to be fairly entertaining, but will prove to be rather average to avid Blues fans. What you have is the standard level of improvisation, decent rhythm section, and basic warm Blues tones throughout. It’s kind of neat to listen to Mayer’s own style (despite all the blatantly stolen Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan guitar licks), but it gets old rather fast.
While the main set may not be too appealing at a glance for most people, it really is the best part of the night. All of Mayer’s recent hits and notable songs are on here. There’s even a swinging cover of “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, which is wonderfully done complete with sax and guitar solos. The funky “Vultures”, mega hit “Waiting On The World To Change”, and soulful (and on this concert, extended) “Gravity”, all provide to be highlights. Everything else on this last set proves to be at least good, and in many ways at least different from their studio versions. This is where Mayer is at his best, not with the Blues, as many people want to believe, but by playing his own brand of Soul, Pop, Funk, and Blues, all mixed into one package.
If you heard that John Mayer was releasing a live album again, and expected it to be just cuts from his newest album, then think again. Mayer takes songs from all the styles from throughout his career, and throws them into three separate sets. No, this album isn’t flawless, as it was turning out to be an average live album until the final set with his full band. But there’s enough notable stuff on here to recommend it to any Mayer fan. If your not a fan, then this release won’t convert you unfortunately, but you can’t go wrong with this is you have enjoyed previous installments of John Mayer’s music.
Wow I'm rusty, my first review since February I believe. Anyway, as usual comments are welcomed. I think my next review will be something other than a pop album as I feel that what I've reviewed on this site, doesn't represent my musical taste completely fairly.
Rereading -- I kind of agree the blues are not the best blues around, but they are Mayer's blues, and like no other. The entire Trio set is downright dirty, but it can drag on. I would also say that the Hendrix influence far outweighs the Clapton or Vaughn influences and not just because of Bold As Love. Slow Dancing and Gravity are downright fantastic. Seriously, I saw Mayer last year and Gravity blew my mind.
And dub, I enjoy Mayer's blues as well, but I know many other players that can do the same thing. I will admit that Mayer has his own unique style, but IDK, just doesn't appeal to me as much. However, I think the material off of Continuum (the Soul, Pop, Blues, hybrid kind of thing), is fantastic, and my favorite style that Mayer uses. Also, Mayer has the rare ability to make some utterly cheesy songs, sound actually genuine, not many artists can do that. A song like Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, sounds nothing out of the norm lyrically, even though it should one of the cheesiest songs ever written.
But then, a funny event occurred, that prompted much of the music community to turn a complete 360, on their views on John Mayer: He released a Blues album.
Pretty sure you mean the music community did a 180. Turning a complete 360 would mean they're back where they started. Also, you dont need that second comma and you can leave the H in "he" after the colon lower case.
I might check this out, but it seems a little redundant at this point.
"Pretty sure you mean the music community did a 180. Turning a complete 360 would mean they're back where they started. Also, you dont need that second comma and you can leave the H in "he" after the colon lower case."
F*cking awesome live record. Probably the best thing to pick up if people are getting into Mayer. Dude has ridiculous talent. I don't really agree that his blues stuff isn't special - his guitar playing is probably some of the best blues material out in the last few years. Even if he clearly bites SRV and Hendrix - and really, every single blues guitarist since has done it - he has his own style with his jazzy inflections, and his chops are incredible. The Trio set is the best thing here, but his extended renditions of his Continuum material are sick.
I'm ashamed to say I havent gotten this yet and I was anticipating July 1st since like May. But I got to see him twice in the last week and man, the two best live shows I've ever seen. I'm really excited to relive it watching this DVD, most of the songs on here are stuff he's been playing on his tour.