Central Florida Top 5 is one of our favorite sites. We check it all the time to find out what is happening in our area and are so grateful for this wonderful resource. So to share the love we’ve decided to do a little guest post about attending one of the “Top 5” music events of February for those of you who couldn’t make it.
Last Friday Kamrin and I made the trip down to Tampa to see John Mayer perform at the Saint Pete Times Forum. It has been a few years since Mayer headlined a major tour and we were eager to see if he still had the chops to captivate an arena. Though Tampa is a hike for those of us living in the Orlando area it is certainly worth the trip. The Forum is a great venue for concerts and often grabs acts like Mayer that won’t make a stop in O-town. Plus if you get down there early you can sample some of Tampa’s unique restaurants before the show.
Opening for Mayer was Michael Franti and Spearhead, a reggae infused mix of rock and Jack Johnson’ styled beach music. It wasn’t long before they had the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along as Franti roamed the arena. The band is best known for their Top 40 hit “Say Hey (I Love You)” and they closed with this one, accompanied, on stage, by six enthusiastic fans.
Mayer then took the stage to the uproar of screaming fans, kicking things off with the second single from his Battle Studies CD, Heartbreak Warfare. In light of all the paparazzi hoopla about who he is or isn’t dating it was a apropos choice. He went on to play a nice mix of songs from the new album and best known previous hits. Here is the set-list as I recall it: Heartbreak Warfare / Bigger Than My Body / Belief / Perfectly Lonely / Assassin / Waiting on the World to Change / Edge of Desire / Half of My Heart / All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye / No Such Thing / Gravity and for the Encore: Who Says / Friends, Lovers or Nothing.
Mayer made some great asides during the show where we got to see the man behind the music. Several times he mentioned how thankful he was that as fans we’re still filling stadiums to see him play after his long absence. A cool LOL moment came when he grabbed a neon sign from a fan that read “Mayer, I’m your Joshua Tree,” a reference to a naughty comment he made during his recent Rolling Stone’s cover story. He proceeded to doctor up the sign with a permanent marker while providing a tongue in cheek diatribe about how his “Joshua Tree” comment has become an unlikely rallying point for fans, despite its negative reception by the general public.
We knew Mayer would put on a great show and he didn’t disappoint. He further endeared himself to the crowd when he changed the lyrics of his Encore song to “It’s been a long night in New York City / It’s been a long night in Tampa, too.” It’s a small thing but it nonetheless rallied the troops for the two song encore. This was only the second stop of the tour and it was clear that he was giving it his all and enjoying every minute of it and so were we.
SO….I hope this has inspired you, dear “Top 5” reader, to venture forth and experience all that Central Florida has to offer, even if it means making the trek to the West coast of our lovely peninsula.
John Rife is an ardent champion of Central Florida’s cultural renaissance and shares the stories of the artists, farmers, musicians, small business owners and other pioneers at the heart of this revolution over at his blog A Local Folkus (www.ALocalFolkus.com).