Despite three number one albums and four times platinum selling albums Grammy award-winning artist John Mayer tells us he still has his “insecurities”.
But after the opening night of two shows at London’s O2 arena John really doesn’t have anything to worry about.
From the moment the words ‘showtime’ flashed in front of the sell-out crowd and Mayer opened up with the jangly guitar intro to the Stones-esque ‘Helpless’ his fans were happy just to be in the building.
The retro guitar tones being ripped in two by a Mayer signature blues solo half way through wrapped up warmly by Mayer and Tiffany Palmer’s chorus gave an expectant start to the gig.
But still, despite the cheers of ‘we love you John!’, it seemed Mayer was still looking for acceptance from the crowd with his song choice singing ‘If I’m helpless, tell me now, tell me now’.
Love on the Weekend
Waitin’ on the Day
I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)
In the Blood
I Guess I Just Feel Like
Edge of Desire
In Your Atmosphere (acoustic)
Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty cover) (acoustic)
Moving On and Getting Over
Stop This Train
The Age of Worry
Carry Me Away
Slow Dancing In a Burning Room
Waiting On the World to Change
It only took two numbers for us to see John’s famous guitar face in Belief from the 2006 Grammy-winning album Continum. The album marked a change in Mayer’s musical style – moving away away from pop rock and incorporating far more heavily blues and soul elements.
This is something which has come full circle now with his last two albums Paradise Valley and The Search For Everything seemingly following his early career and with it a very different feel to this tour.
Before there has been big chunky intros to songs and, at times, rolling numbers in the set, with endless screaming solos leaving you open-mouthed.
But this time around it was all about simplicity as we were taken on a mellow journey through his career spanning 19 years as he performed songs that he hasn’t in a while.
There was less chat, and the lights would go down after every number making it almost feel more intimate.
A very much relaxed affair, and at times it felt a little too sedate, but then it was a school night.
Every song was still executed with absolute precision and Mayer and his band gave us a masterclass in musicianship thanks to the solid backline of bass player Pino Palladino and Aaron Sterling on drums with Mayer praising his whole band later in the evening for giving him the feeling that he’s ‘flying’ when playing with them.
At one point Mayer even joked he only had two-and-a-half hits and thanked the audience for coming to listen to all 24 songs adding: “You’re putting me at ease. I think it’s nice to still have some nerves in this lifetime.”
Mayer jumped from one album to the next and then back again.
‘Who Says’, ‘I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You), ‘Love On The Weekend and ‘I Guess I Just Feel Like’ all showing the musical journey he has gone on.
A mesmerising Edge of Desire finished the first set before John returned to the stage and his pitch-perfect soft, soulful voice filled the O2 as he treated us to stripped back versions of ‘In Your Atmosphere’, ‘Daughters’ and his incredible take on Tom Petty’s ‘Free Fallin’ followed by ‘Neon’ in which he once again showed off his guitar talent and even managed to sneak in a nod to Suzanne Vega’s Tom’s Diner.
‘Rosie’ grew into a funk explosion thanks to Mayer and Sharkey’s guitar duelling before Slow Dancing In A Burning Room was Mayer at his best later followed by the epic Gravity for his encore.
Mayer had thanked fans for “accepting me” and for “accepting these songs” and after the final note had been played the crowd’s reaction would have hopefully help to chip away at some of those ‘insecurities’.