blues rock stunner

The place : Poinciana, Florida (living room)
The Time : 10am one morning in July
The occasion : family vacation

After a bit of a lie in and coming to my senses after a shower, Rachey (my fave and only daughter) was watching TV. I thought it was terrestrial TV, it turns out it was this actual DVD. Trying to be a hip Dad and getting all pally n stuff, I asked who it was because it sounded pretty damn cool.

'Jhn Mayr' was the response, 'WHO?', 'JOHN MAYER! HE'S GOIN OUT WITH JENNIFER ANISTON!!', 'O.K. I just wanted to know!' and so on.

Anywho I was pretty pleased to get the opportunity to listen to this guy in a bit more detail. OK I have no previous with the bloke, but the first impression was good, scratch that, he's damn good. A young bloke, who plays guitar with the maturity well beyond his young (30) years. He's going to be huge. Apparently he already is.

For old and new fans (like me) the DVD is a bit of a treat. The concert was filmed in L.A. and is in 3 parts - first an acoustic set, a trio set, and finally the band set all recorded on one night making it a gig to remember for those who were there to witness Mayer's three personalities unfold as the night goes on. Couple this with some extra features and its one fine package totalling over two and a half hours of footage.

Described as 'A film by Danny Clinch' it’s a concert cum road movie with lots of interviews/vignettes along the way. The quality is excellent, the sound 5.1 as you'd expect make the songs really sing. Mayer is definitely four parts, part Clapton, part Stevie Ray Vaughan, part BB King, part Colin James (check him out, he (James) did stuff like this in the 80s/90's and is well worth a visit). Mayer is no mug either, even though he's good on his own, he has surrounded himself with some excellent musicians for his different projects (Robbie McIntosh - ex Pretenders/Paul McCartney Band, session player for everyone!), (Steve Jordan - drummed for the best, The Stones, Clapton, Cray, Springsteen and The Blues Brothers), (Pino Palladino - bass for Clapton, Genesis, the Who, and he's WELSH!!!).

Reading the back cover, its likely some of his young fans don’t appreciate his influences, as he does covers of Hendrix, Tom Petty and Otis Redding. Mayer is a soulful singer, similar sounding to Windwood, and Cooke, and is one hell of a guitarist to boot. Its all been done before, but Mayers quality really shines and he has cornered and recaptured the market to make this style his own. It's like an intimate performance played just for you the home viewer but recorded before thousands. The songs are captivating, giving Mayer the opportunity to play his songs in three very different environments. Its like watching three different bands. It's great to be able to play support slots on your own gig. He must have raked it on the merchandise.

The acoustic set sets the tone, just John and his guitar (mainly) playing to an attentive audience. Its untypical of yanks as they usually cant keep there gobs shut. Its nice to hear the performance as it should be heard. 'Stop This Train' and 'Free Fallin' ' the highlights of this short set.

More artistes should offer this kind of experience, a chance to aire their songs differently. Especially when you think of the crap I've seen over the years playing support slots.

The John Mayer Trio is a rarity in itself. Without his success the trio would probably never have happened. Its harks back to a time when trios led the way. But is this case they're a blues power trio. Still in their infancy they don’t get the chance to play live very often, but should do! I admire the bloke for keeping the Blues alive and playing it for a mainstream audience. Mayer throws in two Hendrix songs 'Wait Until Tomorrow', and 'Bold As Love', even playing his upside down Strat for 'Everyday I Have The Blues'. There's a good interplay between the trio, looking as if they're all out to impress and outdo each other. It makes for a great performance.

The concert builds to the full-on band set and my favourite Mayer song 'Slow dancing in a burning room' a modern classic and coming to a wedding near you. The band version is more tighter, more relaxed as you can see it's his preferred bread and butter gig. Tight as a gnats chuff, the textures unfold from the band members.

Expand your horizons, go out listen to someone different. I suggest this DVD as your starting point and work you way backwards. Excellent stuff.