By Christina Croucher
Artist: John Mayer
Date / Venue: Saturday April 26th, Vector Arena, Auckland
NZ fans packed out Auckland's Vector Arena last night for John Mayer who made his way down from Australia after headlining at Bluesfest. To begin the night, the crowd was warmed up by the American rock band from Vermont Grace Potter and the Nocturnal's. The band wowed the audience with their phenomenal energy and high calibre of honest sounding rock music. The positively loose lead singer Grace blew up the stage with an impressive voice and talent for playing numerous instruments with just bare feet and a dress borderline nightgown. The band finished with the entire band playing on one drum set to a rhythmic explosion.
You can imagine the screams as John Mayer came out on stage, opening with Queen of California. His perfectly balanced voice made of smooth, sultry and husky alongside his intricate guitar picking set the mood for the set that followed. John Mayer radiates that live artist quality that cannot be fully captured with recording. His musicianship was showcased throughout the night with his main man (the guitar), harmonica playing, vocal and guitar improvisation and the way he and his band seamlessly but unexpectedly enhanced his well- written songs with lengthy instrumentals that would drift away from the structure of the song.
John Mayer had the majority of the crowd on their feet for the 2 hour set in which fan favourites were generously played. Waiting on the World to Change, Your Body is a Wonderland (screams), I Don't Trust Myself, Paper Doll, Wildfire and the stunning Slow Dancing in a Burning Room which had the whole audience swaying. There were no moments where the crowd fell flat as John and his 6 piece band of backup singers, piano/keys, bass, electric, guitar/strings and drums pieced together exceptional builds and unexpected additions to the studio hits. Some songs were more stripped back such as Neon and a cover nailed by John of Free Fallin which was the sing-along track of the night.
John Mayer's guitar work travels all over the place and in contrary his voice sits quite level in his mid bluesy range with his vocal texture and tone being his stand out charms. Though, toward the end he pulled out some really bass driven vocal runs and stunning falsettos that topped off the satisfaction of the night. The stadium was in a sway of lighters to Dear Marie; an intimate lyric-driven song to his young love before he found fame. Then to say goodbye he did a breathtaking encore of Gravity. Mayer seemed as happy to be there as the crowd was too see him, blown away by the support he had from Auckland.