John Mayer gives fans everything they search for
Singer-songwriter displays mastery at Darien Lake
It isn’t that far of a reach to say John Mayer is one of the greatest guitarists of our generation.
That statement is even less of a reach for fans who attended Sunday night’s show at Darien Lake.
John Mayer took the stage at the Darien Lake amphitheater for his The Search for Everything World Tour, playing hits from his recent album of the same name and career staples from his previous releases.
Mayer proved himself to be more than just a singer-songwriter, implementing full band sets and sets from his critically-acclaimed John Mayer Trio, along with his moments of acoustic simplicity.
The artist attracted fans both young and old, but every soul in the audience went wild once Mayer appeared in a chill grey crewneck and black jeans combo.
Mayer brought out his full band during the show’s first set, crooning his Search for Everything hit “Moving On and Getting Over.” The red lighting of the song’s performance quickly switched to blue, as “Moving On…” became “Helpless,” another cut off the album.
The production’s changing light colors weren’t as evident as the constantly rotating and stunning background visuals.
Between campfires, stars and city skylines, the show’s eye-catching and ever-changing visuals kept the audience intrigued. One moment, the crowd experienced the wilderness with Mayer and the next they were staring at a vast cityscape.
This artful aspect of the concert paralleled the diversity of the sets Mayer performed Sunday night.
When his full band left the stage, Mayer kept things simple yet nostalgic with “Your Body Is A Wonderland.” He paused to create lyrical gaps for the crowd to sing along as they reminisced with him.
The singer used this golden opportunity to crack a few jokes for the crowd about his feelings toward “…Wonderland.” Mayer compared his 2002 hit to “a haircut frozen in time” and an “old weird pair of jeans from 10 years ago.” Although dry, Mayer’s humor kept the audience entertained even when he wasn’t shredding on the strings.
But when he was shredding, the crowd was in awe.
During “Gravity,” one of Mayer’s encore performances, fans erupted the second he played his famous introductory guitar lick. After the initial response, the audience quieted down to take in the moment.
They did indeed take in the moment, as very few of them had phones in their hands recording Mayer’s unmatched talent.
Mike Gurney, a West Seneca resident, felt a connection to the song.
“‘Gravity’ is my favorite of John’s. It speaks to me and it has words that actually mean something to me,” Gurney said.
Mayer’s lyrics seemed to draw many other faces to Sunday’s show, including Rochester resident Amber Hildebrand.
“John Mayer is my one true love,” Hildebrand said. “I even have one of his songs tattooed on my leg, ‘The Heart of Life.’ I really want to hear that song the most tonight as it reminds me of my grandfather.”
Although Hildebrand’s favorite song didn’t make the set list, the show was laced with a variety of Mayer classics spanning throughout his career.
Most notably, he brought out the John Mayer Trio, a blues rock group consisting of himself, drummer Steve Jordan, and bassist Pino Palladino. Before the men brought the blues, John admitted in an introduction video that they’re “almost mythical as a live act.”
They were, in fact, the real deal.
Jordan, Palladino, and Mayer were all in sync with each other and kept the groove in the pocket as they performed tracks like “Crossroads.” During Mayer’s guitar solo, his fingers moved faster than the audience’s eyes could keep up.
Mayer fans may now be keeping up with opening act Dawes, who served as a solid crowd-warmer when concert goers were making their way in the venue.
The band remained energetic but lacked in stage theatrics. Still, the 5-piece played a short set consisting of folk rock and country-sounding tunes, sounds similar to Mayer’s recent releases.
The band’s casual and cool attire complimented their level of group interaction and unity, making them a quality opener for an artist of Mayer’s caliber.
But Mayer was the real star of Sunday night.
The guitarist brought soul, humor and raw talent to the stage, leaving concert-goers with a lot to remember.
What audience members should remember the most, however, was Mayer’s gratitude for each of them.
“The fact that you guys allowed me 17 years into a major label career to still do as well as I did with my first record,” Mayer said. “That thanks goes to you and you only.”
Brenton J. Blanchet is the asst. arts editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org