Seven time Grammy Award-winner John Mayer brought his World Tour 2019 to Sacramento Tuesday night, closing out the U.S. leg of the tour. Mayer has eschewed an opening band for this tour, instead playing two sets with a break in-between (plus an encore), giving fans more Mayer for their money.
Speaking of fans – is there such a thing as a typical John Mayer fan? The arena was definitely a mix: hard-core fans who knew every song, casual fans who were familiar with the bigger hits, swooning fans, younger fans, older fans, fans who appreciate Mayer’s guitar playing prowess, and everything in-between. It’s a testament to Mayer’s broad appeal that his shows are far from homogenous.
The ten song first set opened with ‘Belief’, which was the second single off his stellar 3rd album, 2006’s Continuum. It was a driving and hard-hitting political statement to open the show, singing “What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand? / Belief can. Belief can. / What puts the folded flag inside his mother’s hand? / Belief can. Belief can.”
Next up was a funkier tune, ‘Moving On and Getting Over’, from his most recent release, 2017’s The Search for Everything. The song was a perfect dovetail (musically) to Belief. Mayer said in an interview “…if you’re waiting for a Continuum thing, it sounds like it fell off the Continuum hayride. The whole thing is in falsetto, it’s got a kick drum, it’s electric guitar, it’s crazy bass, it’s all of that.”
All in all the first set sounded cohesive, effortlessly flowing from one song to the next, with four songs from his latest album, one 2019 single, a second track from Continuum, and the rest from 2009’s Battle Studies, and 2012’s Born and Raised.
After a short break, Mayer came back alone and played three songs with his acoustic guitar: ‘3 x 5’ and ‘Your Body is a Wonderland’ from his 2001 debut album Room for Squares, and ‘In Your Atmosphere’ (aka ‘L.A. Song’) which was only released on the 2008 live album Where the Light Is. The band came back on stage, and several members were featured prominently in the remainder of the set.
The end of ‘Slow Dancing in a Burning Room’ (Continuum) segued into ‘The Beautiful Ones’ by Prince (from the Purple Rain album), sung beautifully by guitarist David Ryan Harris. ‘Gravity’ (Continuum) intertwined ‘I’ve Got Dreams to Remember’ by Otis Redding with backup singers Tiffany Palmer and Carlos Ricketts taking turns soloing. It’s a big crowd pleaser, and the Otis Redding interlude made it all the more special. Tiffany and Carlos can sing and really got to shine during this song.
During other parts of the set, guitarists David Ryan Harris and Isaiah Sharkey showed their stuff with wonderful solos. Along with Mayer himself, this was one formidable trio of guitarists.
The rest of the band was rounded out by Pino Palladino on bass guitar, Aaron Sterling on drums, Aaron Draper on percussion, and Jamie Muhoberac on keyboards. At the end of the second set, Mayer took some time to thank his band, and let the audience know that no matter what else was going on during the 30 night tour: sickness, lack of sleep from kids keeping them awake, or anything else, the band gave 100% each and every night.
Although this was the final show of the U.S. leg of the tour, you’d never know it. The band was full of energy and looked like they were having fun.
The night ended with a two song encore: ‘Roll It On Home’ (The Search For Everything), and ‘New Light’ (a 2018 non-album single).
John Mayer put on a great show with a little bit of something for everyone. The songs spanned his career (with 2017’s The Search For Everything and 2006’s Continuum tied for the most songs performed), and included a good mix of acoustic songs and electrified jams, sending the crowd home happy.
Photos by Tony Cervo