John Mayer, Rod Laver Arena

Its been a while since John Mayer has toured Australian shores, so not having a support act to open is a pretty gutsy move for the Connecticut native. Splitting the show into two halves,

Mayer has packed out the arena full to the brim; excited fans jubilantly screaming their love for him

With a large tie dye backdrop the only stage prop the singer opens with Queen of California’ flowing nicely into  single ‘I Guess I Just Feel Like’ with relative ease and professionalism. 

As Mayer describes it, playing one of his shows is like having a plate of chocolate, with some of your faves and then the weird jelly chocolates that you sorta like. Its a pretty apt description as he moves through the hits and the not so well known songs, showcasing an array from his catalogue

Where Mayer really shines though is during the guitar solos. Its here that he truly shines and the pure joy of playing an instrument he is so comfortable with shows so clearly on his face. You have to appreciate an artist that can change guitars without missing a beat, his guitar techs almost an extension of himself. Whilst the solos are captivating its the sweet little licks thrown in-between lyrics that are also worth a mention. This is guitar playing at its absolute best and Mayer, like a trained athlete is a delight to experience. 

The guitar duo of David Ryan Harris and Isaiah Sharkey perfectly compliment Mayer’s playing, filling in the notes where needed, adding the rhythm section for a balanced sound.  

Sharkey shines during the bridge of ‘Waiting On The World To Change’ his solo during the bridge highlighting his technique and ability. 

After a brief intermission Mayer gives the band a brief break whilst he takes on a few acoustic numbers solo. Covering Springsteen’s classic “ I’m on Fire” followed by “ Daughters”. Its during “ Daughters” that Mayer leading into “ Neon” which segways halfway through with a snippet of “Tom’s Diner” the Suzanne Vega hit. Its during “ Neon” where Mayer really lets loose on the acoustic, leaving jaws dropped and the audience awed. His technique is nothing short of pure genius and Mayer is a splendour to watch. 

The full band returns and its straight back to business, Mayer relaxing into his playing more and using the time to tell a few stories. He describes what its like to have an obsession when you have a talent “ Like being told you have to remember a phone number but you can’t write it down” and he’s pretty spot on. 

He does get a little excited when introducing “ New Light” a recent track he describes as having that “ new car smell” which gives him an excuse to “ dance like a schmuck” and dance like a schmuck he does, much to the delight of the audience. 

As the band leave the stage, they are welcomed back for the encore to a spontaneous lighting of phone torches and the arena is turned into a sea of small lights creating a magical atmosphere. Its  the perfect way to end what has been an incredible evening of music.

Words by Amanda Lee Starkey  

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