As part of the Born and Raised 2013 World Tour, on 20th October 2013 John Mayer performed at the O2 Arena, London.
The tour is Mayer’s first since taking a break from performing live due to a serious throat condition, which prevented him from singing for several months. Back and fresh from finishing the North and South American legs of his tour, he has just begun playing shows around Europe before the tour closes in Australia in April 2014. The O2 Arena was completely sold out and the excitement for Mayer’s return to England could be felt as the arena filled just before show time.
Gabrielle Aplin, most notably known for performing a cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s song, The Power of Love, for the John Lewis Christmas advert last year, was the opening support. She did a great job at warming up the crowd, playing five songs including her famous cover, which she did with a new arrangement that was more suitable for the large setting of the O2 Arena.
The Your Body Is A Wonderland singer performed 18 songs in total, including a cover of Grateful Dead’s Going Down The Road Feelin’ Bad and his fan-favourite cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. From start to finish, the audience who were lucky enough to get floor seats were on their feet, as were many who were in the tiered seating around the arena. Most of the arena was singing along through many of Mayer’s tracks, if not all.
Mayer’s technical ability shone through the entire evening as he showed how well he can play guitar. During one track, he played an electric guitar behind his back,whilst still carrying an acoustic around his front. The audience reacted incredibly to this, with many surprised by what they were seeing.
His band were of superb talent as well with guitarist Zane Carney having previously worked with Bono, The Edge and Justin Timberlake. Doug Pettibone has previously worked with Keith Richards and Elvis Costello and backing singer Carlos Ricketts has sung with Michael Buble and Mary J. Blige. These are just a few of the performers in Mayer’s band and their wealth of experience was clear during the concert.
This was the biggest show Mayer has ever played in the UK, having most recently played Wembley Arena in 2010 during the Battle Studies World Tour. John alluded to his struggle to really break the UK market, stating between songs that for a long time he hadn’t known he had fans here and that it had taken them a long time to find and meet each other.
It’s no surprise that the Grammy winning artist is aware that he is less known in the UK, before his last two releases, Born and Raised and Paradise Valley, none of his albums had managed to crack the Top 20 of the UK chart. In some circles he may be better known for his controversies and who he has been romantically linked to, rather than his music. His reputation does not stop him having an incredibly loyal fan base around the world and many of the dates on this tour have completely sold out.
Mayer performed many of his hits and the set list included songs from almost all of the 6 albums he has released. Some of the standout songs of the evening were Slow Dancing In A Burning Room, Something Like Olivia and Belief. John performed the track Age of Worry from his 2012 album Born and Raised, which compared to other songs from that album, may not be the first you’d choose to see live, but as the opening rang out throughout the arena it became obvious that it was going to be one of the best songs of the night. The song impressively filled the arena, whilst it’s poignant lyrics flashed across the screen behind the band.
At times during the concert it really felt like a good old-fashioned rock concert, with incredible guitar solos and plenty of sing alongs. If you get the chance to see John Mayer and his band perform over the course of this tour, you are in for a night of incredible musical ability.
John Mayer will be returning to London to end the European leg of the Born & Raised World Tour on 26th October 2013.
For more information please visit John Mayer’s website: http://johnmayer.com/