Concert review: John Mayer at Verizon Center last night

Midnight Sun correspondent Patrick Gavin was at John Mayer's show in Washington last night. Here is his concert review:

Given the grief the candid-to-a-fault John Mayer's recent Playboy interview earned him, you might say the tune "My Stupid Mouth" is the most unironic song in hindsight this side of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab."

Googling the lyrics, one might call Mayer prescient, if not for the fact the now famous 32-year-old rocker seems to making the same mistakes – only now in public – that he made when he wrote the song 10 years ago.


But his warranted or unwarranted public perception as a cad/douchebag (his words) aside, musically, mistakes aren't something Mayer makes very often. ...

Sure, Mayer isn't without his share of misfires. When he hit the stage at 9:30 p.m. last night for a near two-hour set at the estrogen-soaked Verizon Center in D.C., almost right out of the chute the audience was subjected to a near techno version of Robert Johnson's "Crossroads" (not nearly as interesting as it sounds on paper), an error compounded when you consider the vanilla cover also appears on Mayer's latest, "Battle Studies."


Occasionally, Mayer even playfully fessed up to a few minute miscues, such as a flat vocal to close out an otherwise welcome cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" and a "shaky acoustic set" (a slightly out-of-tune guitar during a medley of "Room For Squares" hits, including "Your Body is a Wonderland," "Neon" and the aforementioned "My Stupid Mouth").

But it's not hard to forgive Mayer for his mistakes (just ask his all-star lineup of former celeb gal pals including Jennifer Love Hewitt, Minka Kelly, Jennifer Aniston and, batting clean-up, Jessica Simpson). His winning attitude and banter with the crowd in which he hypothesizes about what sorts of fans occupy which seats or muses over the prospect of commissioning the construction of a heliboat (helicopter + boat) are utterly disarming.

And since Mayer hardly showcases his sick-nasty guitar chops on his pop albums, witnessing him in concert lay his instrument on the stage floor and go to work on it, as he did in Saturday evening's finale, is impressive to say the least.

Aside from a few deep cuts which brought the camera phones out, Mayer hardly relented with strong "Battle Studies" tracks like "Heartbreak Warfare," "Perfectly Lonely," "Who Says," and perhaps the most radio- and concert-friendly "Assassins" (think "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" -- the song).

It's easy to see Mayer is in his element on stage. And why wouldn't he be? If his lyrics, onstage chitchat and blunt magazine interviews tell us anything, it's that he just wants to be liked. With a swooning crowd screaming like he's Hendrix reincarnated, he's much more than liked. He's adored.

Here is the set list:

1)   Heartbreak Warfare
2)   Crossroads
3)   No Such Thing
4)   Slow Dancing in a Burning Room
5)   Perfectly Lonely
6)   Medley: 3X5,  Comfortable, My Stupid Mouth, Body is a Wonderland, Neon
7)   Waiting on the World to Change
8)   Belief
9)   Assassins
10) Half of My Heart --> Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams"
11) Bigger than My Body
12) Why Georgia


13) Who Says
14) Gravity --> Martin Sexton's "Glory Bound"

(Photo courtesy of Johnmayer.com)

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