John Mayer Debuts “Battle Studies” at Intimate New York Gig

November 17th, 2009 by Erica Futterman Leave a reply »

Photograph by Matt Salacuse

As John Mayer strummed the opening riff of his 2003 hit “Why Georgia” at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York, last night, he reassured the crowd of several hundred, “If you were afraid of me ever evolving away from you… if you were afraid that I could never be the guy who still wondered what the hell was going on sometimes like you do… I play this for you as the kid in his mother’s 1991 Plymouth Voyager living in Atlanta, Georgia, trying to figure it all out — and I play it for whoever you were back in 2000.”

With his fourth LP, Battle Studies, hitting stores today, Mayer’s come a long way since the quarter-life crisis he wrote about in “Why Georgia.” Even as his lyrics and banter track his journey to figuring it all out, Mayer’s live persona has settled into a confident blend of his identities: relatable singer-songwriter, nimble-fingered axeman, blues-pop player and stand-up comic. In his first time playing Studies‘ songs at last night’s MySpace Music secret show, Mayer removed the smooth-around-the-edges sound of the recording and let the tracks develop their more gritty (his take on Robert Johnson’s “Crossroads”), funky (album opener “Heartbreak Warfare”) and soulful (relationship anthem “Friends, Lovers or Nothing”) elements.

Get more John Mayer in our Essential Guitar Coverage.

Last night’s gig also served as a warm-up for tonight’s concert at New York’s famed Beacon Theatre (which will be broadcast live on Fuse at 9 p.m. ET) — and Mayer was relaxed and refreshed, confessing, “It’s great to be back onstage with a guitar.” His extended playing on blues-pop nugget “Perfectly Lonely” and in a jam with drummer Steve Jordan...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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