Michael McDonald – Executive producer
Lindha Narvaez – Producer
Danny Clinch – Director
Chris Zimmer – Production Supervisor
Vance Burberry – Cinematography
This week’s music video segment is focused on John Mayer. He is better known for his pop/corny/cheesy songwriting skills and the broad audience of listeners generally think they got him all figured out from the start. One thing I can assure you, is that by the end of this show you will have seen a brand new facet of the artist you’d probably never thought you’d see. Mayer is just out right phenomenal in this performance. The show consists of three acts : John Mayer acoustic, John Mayer trio, and the John Ensemble. With this approach he is able to showcase the full spectrum of his musical abilities. The opening act is him interpreting some of his famous acoustic songs from some earlier days. You find songs such as Free Fallin’, Stop this Train, Daughters, Neon, and In Your Atmosphere. The second act features Mayer, Pino Paladino (world-class bassist), and Steve Jordan on drums (Steve also helped Mayer produce some of his studio work); and no one grooves quite like Jordan. The set-list for this act is more blues-jazz oriented, with covers of Hendrix (a flawless rendition of Bold As Love if it weren’t for the overly corny interlude) as well as Mayer originals. There his Stevie Ray Vaughan-esque playing blended with BB. King and Albert King licks just ooze out of the man’s fingertips. From single line hooks, to wah-powered rapid fire licks and phased out triplet double-stop runs, he covers it all. It is almost unreal the tone this guy gets. And I’m going to have to be honest; this show is probably the reason why I got a Fender Strat. This part of the show will definitely hit home for the blues aficionado. In the third act, Mayer showcases his songwriting forte and directs a 10+ man ensemble. The big band plays songs from Mayer’s Continuum mainly, but also Room for Squares. And again, his tone, feel and interpretation are without comparison. The band exchanges solos on I Don’t Need No Doctor and show-off a funk/jazz end of their repertoire. The final song to close off the ceremony is I’m Gonna Find Another You, a Mayer take on a jazz/blues standard. In other words a blues/jazz song about yet another failed relationship. But regardless, Mayer solos through the chords as an introduction and the man’s playing is just as impressive in jazz as it is in blues. This performance just goes to show how much of an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician and guitarist John Mayer is.
The opening and ending credits see John Mayer on a hill that overhangs the city of Los Angeles, sat on a stool, with an amp set-up and a guitar in his hands. The scenery is just an taster as to what is to come in terms of cinematographic composition. The picture is there to match the quality of the playing, that’s for sure! With travelling panoramic shots, close-up sequences, you get a really good grasp on the dynamic interplay between members and the vibe Mayer was aiming for. The colour palette chosen for the lighting matches the changes in camera angles and the vibe of the performance tremendously. During the trio performance, Mayer, Paladino and Jordan are all dressed to the nines in fancy black suits and ties; bringing back the authentic feel of early blues days. You also get great insights on Mayer’s personality on and off stage; the camera crew follows him around as he prepares for the show, between sets and through off days. And the spectator really gets to see how much of a kick he gets out of being a performing and recording artist. But we also get to see the downside of fame where paparazzi take the fun out of it. But the main point that he is trying to get across is that this performance is about highlighting his talent as a well-rounded musician and to change people’s preconceived opinion that they ‘have seen the whole reveal‘.
A definite recommendation if you’re into guitar-playing, blues in general or even just plain and simple GOOD live music.