Energetic buzzing from the crowd could be felt at Cruzan Amphitheater this Saturday night for John Mayer’s show as friends tailgated on the parking lot cheering with open cans of beer and soft drinks on a beautiful South Florida night, parents accompanied their children with towels to the lawn and die-hard fans waited in the merchandise booth to purchase something to represent the last night of the bluesy folk rocker’s Battle Studies tour.
The evening opened with a soothing musical journey as Minnesota-based synth pop band Owl City performed an array of hits followed by a backup orchestra which included their top 40 electrically charged tune, “Fireflies”.
Once the stage went dark around 8:30 p.m., a vision of a red heart appeared onstage and cheers could be heard from the excited crowd. Little did they know this would be the night when the singer vocally presented his set as the “best setlist ever” and most of their song pick wishes would be fulfilled.
For 23 year-old Jill Dickinson, this was her birthday night. “I love him, he’s amazing,” said Dickinson about Mayer. “His music is great and hopefully we won’t be disappointed!”
The Connecticut-raised Mayer played seemingly the most energetic set of the tour, probably on the high that comes with ending a successful run on a high note. As soon as he opened up, with visuals projected on the screen behind him of musical notes and a close-up of him playing his guitar, the “Chest Fever/Vultures” mashup had fans yelling “We love you John!” and the song “Clarity” had them singing along and clapping their hands.
Mayer was fast-paced and in the beginning audience interaction was rare, except for a few “thank yous” as he quickly strummed through hits such as “Why Georgia” and invited a band member, David Ryan, to present an interlude. But it was when he played the Jimi Hendrix cover “Voodoo Child” that he brought down the house as he danced with his guitar, played only with his thumb and placed it gently on the stage as he strummed it, making it a pure presentation of his musical talents.
John Mayer was casual, wearing a bandana and a T-shirt with ripped sleeves, and he wanted the crowd to feel as comfortable as he was onstage. “You having a good time so far,” he yelled at the crowd raising his hands up in the air. “Look at the love just wafting from the crowd this evening.” After conversing, he projected a die-hard fan’s image onto the three screens behind him and pointed out her creative poster where she had drawn herself holding a sign of a sign with some song requests. “At some point you’ll get one of these songs played,” he said with a smile.
The night was for the fans, as Mayer kept strumming along through tunes such as the sweet ballad “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” and “Perfectly Lonely”, an ironic tune about love. In between tunes he would rip into a guitar solo, showing off his skills to the crowd, and would energetically stroll from one side of the stage to the other.
Mid-set on this night of Sept. 11 John Mayer asked fans to please not get mad at him. Apparently, he promised Cleveland he would wear their basketball jersey onstage in Miami. “Boos” were heard from the West Palm Beach crowd which also included Miami fans, until Mayer removed his top to reveal a “half-and-half” jersey showcasing both Miami and Cleveland basketball teams sewn together to create one top. “For one night, such as on a night like tonight, let’s all just get along,” he said as cheers came from the crowd. “God Bless the USA!”
After, John Mayer said he was going to continue presenting fans with the “baddest set list of the tour”. And that he did as he gave fans a choice of three songs twice during the set by playing the beginning of each one and ended up playing popular hits “Your Body is a Wonderland” and lesser-known fan-driven “Stop this Train”. Highlights of the evening included current hits such as “Half of my Heart”, to which he led the crowd in a sing-along, and “Heartbreak Warfare”.
Once the night wound down and it was time for an encore, fans were dizzily caught up in a night which was definitely all about Mayer’s musical knowledge and uncanny stage presence. As he left the stage he was prompted by screams from fans to come sing a few more, and he did as he ripped through “Wheel” and “Edge of Desire”, then presented his band in an onstage “farewell” to the tour.