Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

John Mayer - Where The Light Is: Live In Los Angeles (2008)


Recorded in Los Angeles, December 8, 2007.

If you believe the gossip columns, Mayer can be a self-centered jerk and is a love-'em-and-leave-'em kind of guy with the ladies, but he sure can play guitar. Also, he's not a bad pop songwriter. I'm sure that middle-aged men don't make up much of Mayer's fan base, but I enjoy his playing and his music. This set, as one would expect, is heavy on songs from 2005's Try! and 2006's Continuum. The 2 CDs are divided into three sections: the first is an acoustic trio set, the next set he plays with the John Mayer Trio, and the third is a longer set with Mayer's regular touring band. This performance was also released on DVD (but aren't all concert CDs accompanied by a DVD these days? The record companies can double their money that way.).

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #5 (July 19, 2008)

Acoustic trio set (5 tracks): His versions here of Neon, Stop This Train, and Daughters are all good. He picked songs that would work well with just him and guitar. His new song, In Your Atmosphere, isn't very good and stalls the momentum of the show. Just goes to show that Mayer is capable of writing a stinker every now and then. His cover of Tom Petty's Free Fallin' is okay, but not spectacular; he doesn't bring anything new to the song.

John Mayer Trio set (8 tracks): This group is more blues-oriented. Mayer is versatile, but he's not as good at playing blues as he seems to think he is. It takes courage to cover not one, but two Jimi Hendrix songs. Of those, Wait Until Tomorrow is an excellent cover with lots of energy. The other, Bold As Love, is a fantastic classic song that Mayer absolutely ruins with his pointless spoken-word philosophy about love. He completely misses the point that the music should do the talking. Listening to Mayer's original tunes, I prefer Who Did You Think I Was and Good Love Is On The Way.

Full band set (9 tracks): Starts off with Mayer's anti-war anthem, Waiting On The World To Change, which actually speaks to the apathetic nature of his generation. It's a good pop song, inculded here along with other pop gems Why Georgia, The Heart Of Life, and I Don't Trust Myself (With Loving You). The version included here of the often-covered Ray Charles hit, I Don't Need No Doctor, seems a little sanitized at times, but it is still one of the better versions of this classic. I'm not normally a fan of Mayer's slower tunes, but there's something about Gravity that I gravitate to (bad pun intended). This version isn't as good as the one on Try! but it's still one of the better tracks on this disc.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: Every time I listen to Mayer's music, I can't help but think of his bit on Chappelle's Show around 2004 or 2005 in a skit called something like, "Can White People Dance?" I'm sure it's on YouTube or vimeo. That show was hilarious.

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