John Mayer brings Love to finish out MSG Run Review by Joel Shover

Sob Rock Tour 2022 is now officially in full swing after last nights amazingly epic performance by John Mayer and his Band. We have arrived at the second night of the sold-out Madison Square Garden Shows. After the super smoker of a Sunday show last night what will the Monday Blues bring us tonight?

The Blues were delivered in a different way with the breaking news of Steve Ferrone testing positive for Covid along with vocalist Carlos Ricketts. This sudden news had all the Mayer fanbase wondering, what would John do? The crowd shuffled into the Garden and Alexander 23 took the stage as the supporting act for Mayer and his band. You can surely tell that he is finding his way through all his stardom through each of these shows. Word was out on the street about their Tears for Fears cover and fans were asking for it. Alexander 23 delivered the eighties classic “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” with a fine new sound.

The stage was now being setup for John Mayer as fans scrambled through their phones on social media to find any clue as to who if anyone would be sitting in tonight. When the lights dimmed for Mayer everyone in that building knew we were in for the most special Mayer show we’ve ever seen as he sat in a chair with his acoustic guitar and proceeded to go directly into the hit song “Neon”. This had fans screaming and cheering.

Could it be an all acoustic night at the famous Madison Square Garden? You can’t make this up, right place, right time. Please pinch me, this opening song has nothing on VH1 storytellers, are we truly ready for this night? We are about to find out as John took the mic and graciously thanked the crowd for still coming and that we were all in uncharted waters tonight.

John Mayer Night One MSG review

John stated that we would see how some of his songs would evolve in this setting and that we were going to hear songs that weren’t even planned for this tour. “Last Train Home” was the second song of the night and it has proven already to be a pop song, a ballad, and now an acoustic anthem for our hearts. The heightened sounds of Lenny Castro flowed throughout the room for the next jam “Shot in the Dark” This song has truly found a permanent place on any setlist John makes. We’ve gone from everything to now emptiness on this tour. “Belief” was next that brought flashbacks of Where the Light Is and we were in it! John called on New York native Lenny Castro to lead us into song with his congas.

“In the Blood” was the next transformed song, and with each one of these songs you really couldn’t help being overjoyed to be part of something this intimate. Who would have thought this night would top Hollywood? The only thing missing was a campfire for the next number “If I Ever Get Around To Living”. Even as I relisten to this show I get those musical chills we long for and the recording doesn’t even capture fifty percent of the energy in that room!

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Now it was time to take “New Light” on its new acoustic ride. Perhaps moving this song to the front of the setlist was John asking us to give him just one night to see him in a new light? I would not be surprised that this song will be played this way many more times. Emotions were running very strong. Were the fans happy, were they blue? John declared long weekend Mondays the new Sunday show.

All of the new songs from Sob Rock were now finding new life in this unique format. “Wild Blue” another new hit was our next song. John then made a Madison Square Garden first during some tuning banter by sitting on the stage with a pouting face, for he had no drummer or backup vocalist on this night, comparing his pout to the smiles of John Lennon and Elton John that have graced the Gardens stage. It was now time for “Your Body is a Wonderland”, we got this sold-out room and we were discovering all the life these songs have. It was another pinch me moment when John broke into “In Your Atmosphere” as everyone sang along with him in hopes of being on the next live album.

John complimented the crowd almost as much as the crowd complimented him, almost. Mayer then went into some banter and did his best to remember one of his first songs “Something is Missing”. Mayer had the whole Garden engaged as we all knew what was missing- were we wrong to be thankful for what we were part of this special night?

One of the beautiful things about the intimacy of this show is learning little tidbits of how the songs came to fruition, like the next song “Daughters” where John went on to tell us how he and Lenny Castro first met while recording the song. Lenny was slapping conga skin and taking names as he put on an amazingly perfect performance that the fans of the Garden have become accustomed.

John Mayer pop up tour opener LA review

John kept checking in with the crowd and could not keep thanking us enough for our understanding, then boom here it was “Free Falling,” the famed Tom Petty song. The Garden was now lit up with everyone’s cell phone lights as they sang the chorus, swaying to the strumming of the acoustic guitar. John’s soothing voice was making the night a-ok with every fan in the room. “Carry Me Away” another new track from Sob Rock was enjoyed so much fans were heard talking about a new live acoustic album. (Hint, Hint, John). “Who Says” found its way deep into the list tonight that rolled right into “Stop This Train”, But nobody wanted to go home, even with the little Simon & Garfunkel tease “Homeward Bound” that John threw in at the end of the song. We were having too much fun.

Where would John take us now with his musical talents, a scrod run? There’s nothing like a good New England scrod run with your friends he explained as “Till the Right One Comes” came along. The song just debuted on the tour last night electrically and was well received with many fans feeling a Paul Simon vibe and sure enough they were right as the band broke into a snippet of “You Can Call Me Al”. Phillinganes had the whole place bouncing even without the use of his ax-synth tonight.

What other tricks did Mayer and his band have up their sleeves? Here we all are in a once in a lifetime moment at The Garden. To everyone’s surprise Questlove appeared on stage with drumsticks in hand ready to play. This changes everything. The band jumped right into a soaring “Vultures” into the classic “Clarity” that John recorded on Heavier Things with Questlove. We were all singing along and dancing again with “Something Like Olivia”.

David Ryan Harris stepped up to the microphone to give us Prince’s classic “The Beautiful Ones”. Fans have welcomed this as the intro to the top ten hit “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” John Mayer so very humbly thanked the crowd for their understanding and appreciation of tonight’s format. The stage went black and the crowd went light, light with phones that was something so special to turn around and see in full circle.

Mayer heard the screams for more and donned his black Paul Reed Smith guitar and at that moment we all knew we were falling to “Gravity”. Keeping where the light is I personally wish a speedy recovery to Steve Ferrone and Carlos Ricketts. Do yourself a favor and go see live music and if you have never been to the venue of all venues, go to Madison Square Garden for at least one show in your lifetime. You never know it could end up like this night!

Till the next show………Joel

John Mayer Night One MSG review

John Mayer Albany NY review

John Mayer pop up tour opener LA review

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