My friend Jordyn had the bright idea a few weeks ago to buy John Mayer tickets for a couple of us camp folk. So last night, we drove into the pre-planned suburban goodness of The Woodlands, TX (I shed a tear in your memory, Jon Canterbury) and made our way to Mitchell Pavilion to see a modern god of rock. Reccomendation about the Pavillion, though: do not purchase their Grilled Chicken Sandwich Basket. The onion bun is extravagant, but the chicken is quite miniscule. Plus, they stiff you on the mayo. 9 dollars I’ll never see again…
I don’t feel that way about Johnny, though. Nor the rest of the show in general. Brett Dennen opened (we got there late and only heard his final songs from afar), and then Colbie Caillat took over. This was tough, mainly because whenever Colbie asks over the FM radio if someone will count her in before playing “Bubbly,” I respond “YES.” She did not ask last night. She’s lost some of her humility, I think.
Then Johnny started his show. Shirtless (which was weird). Many shots of his guitar and/or pelvis on the video screens throughout the performance.
But when he rocked… he freaking OWNED. He incorporated cuts from U2 (“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”), The Talking Heads (“Once In A Lifetime”), and he totally threw down his own rendition of Tom Petty’s “Freefalling.” At one point, he guitar soloed for, I kid you not, like 10 minutes. Including playing over his head and laying the Strat down on the stage so he could finger-hammer the trash out of it. It was thrilling, like watching a high wire act or something. I was all like, “How the heck is he going to get out of this awesome riff-session and still finish the song?”
Before said 10 minute solo, he shared a little piece of his heart. Told us the story of how he’d practice guitar in long bouts of solitude when he was but a young Mayer, thinking of some far-off day when he’d jam in front of big arenas. “That may sound like overconfidence,” he said, “but it’s not. When you practice 6 hours a day it’s just… cocooning yourself in positivity.”
Then he ended well on “Gravity.” And we the audience asked him to come back, so he graciously did, still shirtless. And he did “Vultures” and “Say.” And there was much crying and happiness. Plus, Houston will have full maternity wards 9 months from last night. But I didn’t type that last sentence.
It was a good way to break up the week. Now we’re off to the last regular week of the summer camp season. And after that, we bring in inner city children for the 11th week. I am getting slightly excited/anticipatory about that notion. It will be good to stretch us, I’m certain. Until then, I will follow a variation on John Mayer’s advice. Time to cocoon myself in dependence on the Lord.