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Blues & Jazz

Live Review: John Mayer at Wembley Arena

After three years of absence from the road, John Mayer and his band delivered a rousing two-hour-plus show at Wembley Arena yesterday.

“This is our last show in a while”, Mayer says as he comes on stage. “So, we’re really gonna give it to you!” And, mostly, they did.

‘Queen of California’ is revamped as a surprisingly powerful opener with killer piano and guitar solos. Throughout the evening Mayer is in good voice, which is something of a miracle for someone who only months ago wondered if he would ever be able to sing the way he did, before his vocal surgeries.

One thing you sure can’t deny is Mayer’s incredible guitar skills. And he puts them into practice in the form of a breathtaking rendition of ‘Slow Dancing In A Burning Room‘. The complicity with his bandmates is evident and makes for one truly superb moment.

Elsewhere, John Mayer serves more of his trademark blend of blues-infused pop and folk, always with a fair share of improvisation. ‘Something Like Olivia’ live sounds like the most funky thing he’s ever done, with Doug Pettibone joining him in a blazing guitar solo. The gentle ballad ‘I Will Be Found (Lost At Sea)’, off his latest album Paradise Valley, proves a surprising high point of the performance with Mayer at the piano.

‘No Such Thing‘, however, sounds a bit bland compared to his most recent material. Which is actually a good sign. Mayer has matured, and his songs are getting more and more refined.

The main set ends with a triumphant ‘Gravity’, before he comes back to the stage for a three-song encore, including a cover of Clapton’s ‘Driftin’ Blues‘. Decided to make this evening special, Mayer even airs the seldom played ‘Walt Grace’s Submarine Test’, before waving goodbye on the slow-burning, honest ‘Dear Marie‘. As he leaves the stage, the whole arena is still buzzing, chanting in unison.

Here’s to John Mayer, for another ten years!

Written by Brice Detruche

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