By Christina Croucher
Artist: Jack Johnson
Date / Venue: Tuesday December 3rd, ASB Theatre (Aotea Centre), Auckland
How can you fault a musician that pours his heart into every bit of music that he plays, that writes and works for a good cause and cleans up our beaches while he's at it?
Jack Johnson was, faultless at his Auckland gig at the Aotea Centre last night. As smooth sounding as every one of his radio hits, but backed by a lot of musical edge and dynamic; Jack Johnson and his awesome band kept everyone on their feet for the most of the show.
He started off his generous two hour set steadily and solo, slowing down a few of his well-known hits such asWhere'd All the Good People Go and Taylor and engaged the audience by giving us a bit of a story behind some of the songs and opening the audience up for requests. He really did his best to fulfil every one of the requests that were either shouted out or thrown on bits of paper. The first half hour was predominantly acoustic with beautiful guitar strumming and seamless vocals. Jack Johnson connects with his audience simply with just himself and his guitar with a lot of power and passion in his performance.
The stage lit up and then started his up to 5 piece band, it transgressed through from acoustic, to a few folk covers, to rock, even blues and a bit of jazz. The multi-talented backing vocalist/pianist/ accordion player (and more instruments I couldn't even put a name to) Zach Gill was a standout and added a lot of intensity to the show. We even got a rap from the bass player that made the crowd go wild. Jack played a lot off From Here To Now To You including I Got You, Shot Reverse Shot, and Radiate and performed all the old favourites you would want to hear- I'd be surprised if anyone was disappointed. He bought his Native Hawaiian friendJohn Cruz who performed his song Island Style on the Ukulele, and Cruz also harmonised with Jack again at the end of the show when Jack performed Better When Were Together. We also got a few Christmas songs with Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer that only Jack Johnson could make cool (changing the lyrics to have more meaning) and he also performed his song Angel as a Christmas token.
His environmental based lyrics and stories capturing human emotions and situations blended with a 4 sometimes 5 piece band was a faultless mix and the energy in the room was every bit you'd hope to get at a Jack Johnson show. His positive messages and wholesome, raw performance got everyone young and old smiling and moving.