After standing in the shadows of the music scene for the better part of the last few years, John Mayer made it clear Friday night at his Born and Raised show that he is back and won’t be leaving again any time soon. Standing on a stage he hadn’t claimed for the past three years, Mayer sounded better than ever when he dazzled the audience with a tasteful combination of soulful ballads and upbeat jams.
Mayer opened his set with a performance of “Queen of California” that let the Aaron’s Amphitheatre crowd know exactly what was in store for his big return. Following this performance came “Wildfire” and “Half of My Heart,” of radio fame. Mayer’s stage presence came alive with these selections, and his deep connections to the words seemed to grow as he sung, bursting at the seams in spectacular guitar solos that kept the crowd on their toes.
“I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You),” “Waiting on the Day,” and “Something Like Olivia” followed. Mayer showcased his stunning ability to turn these soft, emotion-ridden tunes into musical powerhouses in a way that is uniquely his. Mayer continued to hook the audience with his cover of Henry Whitter’s “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” and a performance of one of my personal favorites, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room.”
Between songs, Mayer seemed humbled at the audience’s acceptance of his return and struck up a conversational tone, giving off his “I’m just one of you guys” vibe. The audience ate it up, enchanted at Mayer’s attempt to make himself seem personally connected with everyone who attended his sold out show. He rewarded their support with his performance of the 2001 hit “Your Body is a Wonderland,” a song that will always be better live. Mayer then turned full circle, trading in his soft and sweet songs for upbeat selections like “Neon” and the very popular “Waiting on the World to Change.” Both songs were pleasant to hear but weren’t nearly as satisfying as Mayer’s performances of “If I Ever Get Around to Living” and “Who Says.”
While the pauses in between songs were at times lengthy and filled with Mayer’s mildly awkward attempts at stalling, he certainly made up for it with performances that seemed to last forever, but never disappointed. The high point of the night was without a doubt Mayer’s performance of “Gravity,” which is arguably why he chose to save it for the end. The audience went wild as he played this crowd favorite, making it obvious that Mayer’s return to Atlanta would be a show to remember.
Pleasing to the ears and to the soul, John Mayer’s show was one that was anything but dull and played out. Mayer continually showed himself to be the artist that everyone first fell in love with, but at the same time never ceased to impress with the new musical approach he has taken in his career. Mayer was never a disappointment. His perfect blend of soulful tunes, epic guitar solos, and powerful riffs combine to make John Mayer’s performance one that should not be missed.