Mayer, Crow a hit with Mom, Pop and the kids
By Christopher Blagg
Wednesday, August 30, 2006 - Updated: 12:16 AM EST
It’s not often that you can find teenagers and their parents enjoying the same concert. Such was the case with last night’s double bill of John Mayer and Sheryl Crow at a sopping-wet Tweeter Center.
Of course, there was some inevitable crossover, but by and large, it was the 40-somethings howling along to Crow, while the larynx-shredding shrieks accompanying Mayer could only come from the high school girl demographic. Good times for the whole family!
Touring in support of his forthcoming new CD, Mayer’s goal seemed to be integrating his earlier sensitive balladeer persona with the more blues-based edge of his recent work leading the John Mayer Trio. For the most part, this balance was realized as Mayer handily traded off busy acoustic strums like opener “Why Georgia” with more complex tunes like the slinky blues-pop of “Vultures.”
More on than any of his other tours, Mayer’s surprisingly formidable guitar prowess threatened to trump his whispery lovelorn vocals. New tunes like the meditative groove of “Belief” began quietly only to build into a slippery soul-rock workout with Mayer ripping off muscular guitar riffs with ease.
Mayer’s maturation as a songwriter was clearly evident with new songs like the sentimental McCartneyesque ballad “Heart of Life” and the undeniably funky, almost gospel strut of his current single “Waiting On the World To Change” showing some impressive new directions. It seems he’s thankfully gotten beyond his Dave Matthews-lite phase.
Preceding Mayer on the bill was a triumphant and clearly refreshed Sheryl Crow, who took to the stage decked out in all white and backed by an eight-piece band, including a string quartet. Along with some cuts from her new record “Wildflower,” the most memorable being the country-flavored “Good Is Good,”, Crow gave the grateful crowd a veritable greatest hits package.
After she opened with a couple rocking burners including “A Change Will Do You Good,” Mayer showed up onstage to lend some guitar to “My Favorite Mistake.” Mayer’s star power must have flustered Crow, who mixed up and forgot some of the tune’s verses. After the song, Crow joked, “He made me nervous up there. He’s cute and talented.”
Despite the gaffe, Crow was in fine form, especially her patented brassy, assured vocals, which got quite a workout on songs like the booming, lung-stretching chorus of “If It Makes You Happy.” After the escapist party anthem double shot of “All I Wanna Do” and “Soak Up the Sun,” Crow ended the set with “Everyday Is a Winding Road.”
Singer-songwriter Mat Kearney began the night with an impressive set that came off like a cross between a less irritating version of Jason Mraz and an Americanized Coldplay.
John Mayer with Sheryl Crow At the Tweeter Center, Mansfield, last night.