Review: John Mayer at Toyota Center


John Mayer
Sob Rock Tour
Toyota Center
April 23, 2022

Attending a John Mayer concert is like going into therapy. You might start the session quite relaxed, but three songs in you are on the verge of tears, tempted to text your ex, and reminiscent of that time on the beach in Mexico where the sunset warmed your body and margaritas flowed freely. After the tenth song, you continue to block the same ex on Instagram and remind yourself that you are a strong, independent woman who does not need any man to make her happy!

It’s called growth, honey … look it up!

The show at the Toyota Center on Saturday night certainly inspired a wide range of emotions, with Mayer and his band delivering an even mix of 2021’s selections. Sob Rock albums for his classic fan favorites like “Gravity”, “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room”.

click to enlarge John Mayer and his extremely talented band perform during the Sob Rock Tour at the Toyota Center in Downtown Houston, Texas.  - PHOTO: VIOLETA ALVAREZ

John Mayer and his extremely talented band perform during the Sob Rock Tour at the Toyota Center in Downtown Houston, Texas.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

The night began with “Last Train Home”, the first track from the new album. “If you wanna roll me, then you gotta roll me all night long” Mayer sings, while the audience cheers. “And if you want to use me, then use me until I’m gone!” He then goes on to masterfully pick the notes from his electric guitar as if it were Excalibur, and he is King Arthur. He loves his instrument and uses his voice as foreplay and his lyrics as finishing.

The scene was as beautiful as the music, bathed in colorful yet muted tones of indigo, violet, crimson and daisy. The large LED screen alternated between Mayer’s face, his guitar and his backup singers, harmonizing vocals and moods with each track that passed on the set list. Another set of LED panels hovered high above the stage, giving colorful accents like a rainbow of emotions.

click to enlarge The stage design provided a range of colors to complement the range of emotions that John Mayer evokes during his live shows.  - PHOTO: VIOLETA ALVAREZ

The stage design provided a range of colors to complement the range of emotions that John Mayer evokes during his live shows.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

Tonight’s opening act was rounded off with “Shot In The Dark”, “Queen Of California” and one of my personal favorites, “Who Says”. Mayer received high praise when he replaced “Houston” with “Austin” in the lyrics.

Mayer was actually the first artist to perform at The Moody Center, the newest venue in Austin, replacing the famous Frank C. Erwin Jr. Center on campus at the University of Texas.

The second act of the show was an undressed, acoustic trio of songs that began with “Neon” and followed into “Shouldn’t Matter, But It Does.” The audience responded with praise to the third song, which was a cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin ‘.” The entire building served as Mayer’s backing choir, shining with their cell phone flashlights, arms waving back and forth, illuminating the place with glow.

“This next song is what the kids call ‘a vibe,'” Meyer joked as he offered “Wild Blue.” He thanked the audience for welcoming the new songs and letting them be a new member of his musical family.

click to enlarge The stage design was dreamy, ranging from sunrises, sunsets, lunar landscapes and nebula galaxies, with all the colors in between.  - PHOTO: VIOLETA ALVAREZ

The stage design was dreamy, ranging from sunrises, sunsets, lunar landscapes and nebula galaxies, with all the colors in between.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

When he switched from “Wonderland” to “Stop This Train”, he recognized this musical variation. “In a show of evolution and growth, this is also my song,” he declared. “It’s so much different than the last one!”

Mayer portrays a wide range of styles, from rock to R&B, jazz to pop, blues to Americana. His images also provided a mix of lunar landscapes, nebulae, sunrises and sunsets with a few neon rays in between.

“This is my favorite part of the show, will you please sing it with me” Mayer pleaded as he introduced the first few notes of “Gravity”. The audience was happy to commit.

As I’ve written before about this particular issue, it may not be his best, but damn it ever evokes memories. The song should be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame or The Smithsonian, it’s just heck excellent.

The evening ended with an extra number on one song, which was “New Light”, the first single from Sob Rock. It’s a typical John Mayer song … dreamy, smooth and full of full of loving requests from an admirer for his love.

“Because if you just give me one night, you’ll see me in a new light!”

Hell! There I go and unblock my ex again!

click to enlarge John Mayer and his guitar provide a mix of emotion, musical dexterity and generally good times.  - PHOTO: VIOLETA ALVAREZ

John Mayer and his guitar provide a mix of emotion, musical dexterity and generally good times.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

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