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John Mayer shows 15 years of musical evolution in his "The Search for Everything” tour

Photography & Article written by Craig Fleisch

It’s been more than 15 years since John started his musical career, but he is still spends time with his fans backstage before the show. 

John Mayer’s “The Search for Everything Tour” touched down in Vancouver to a packed Rogers Arena to celebrate the release of his seventh studio album. The evening was divided into five chapters. Chapter 1: Full Band, Chapter 2: Acoustic, Chapter 3: Trio, Chapter 4: Full Band (reprise) and finally Chapter 5: epilogue. Each chapter seemed to follow a musical narrative which loosely mimics his musical career.

John Mayer got his start as a solo artist and most of his early records were largely acoustic. That's when I discovered and fell in love with his raw talent on the guitar. He takes you on a musical journey with his songs, his chords complex and his lyrics clever, yet directed towards a mainstream audience. Critics are torn by his pop-idol image and his prowess on the guitar. His talent has not gone unnoticed by his peers, as he performed alongside musical legends such as B. B. King, Buddy Guy, and Eric Clapton as well as toured with bands including Maroon 5, Counting Crows, Sheryl Crow, and Ben Folds.

With his latest album “The Search for Everything,” critics are yet again divided, but if the cheers in Vancouver were any indication, his fans are not.   

The lights dimmed and the large screen behind the stage lit up with the words “Chapter 1: Full Band” as John Mayer and his seven-piece band took the stage. The screen was used throughout the concert for close-ups of the band members, to show scenic clips, and to introduce each new next chapter. His first two songs “Moving On and Getting Over” and “Helpless” are off his latest album. The crowd reacted strongly, the applause was deafening.

In chapter two, when the band left the stage and John Mayer returned with acoustic guitar in-hand sans band. The backdrop changed to a beautiful Japanese garden filled with cherry blossom trees shedding their blossoms in the wind.

He took the audience back to the good old days, playing “3x5” and “Your Body is a Wonderland”. Mayer kept it old school and performed classic covers like Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” and Grateful Dead’s “Friend of the Devil”. John Mayer admits to being a bit of Deadhead and formed Dead & Company with three former Grateful Dead musicians. They’ve toured over the past two years and have committed to doing so again this summer.

Chapter 3: Trio. Bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan join John on stage, the three of them are aptly named JM3. Here John really puts his talent on display, he is a phenomenal guitar player. The three of them rocked out, bringing the entire arena to their feet.

The energy could be felt throughout Rogers Arena as the band returned for the fourth Chapter. He continued with momentum by singing another classic song “Why Georgia Why” off his debut 2001 studio album Room for Squares. It was at this point that John Mayer slowed things down, sharing how he enjoyed watching people sing “Happy Birthday” as they tend to sing an octave too high. After a brief instruction, he orchestrated the crowd as we sung the birthday song for one of his band members. As a big fan of early John Mayer, I was pleasantly surprised when after finishing his set, he came back with two classic encores “No Such Thing” and “Gravity”.

By this time the concert had taken fans on a musical journey that had gone on for over two hours. The final chapter/song brought John Mayer back on-stage solo. This time, he sat at white-washed piano on a white stage performing in front of a white backdrop. The song “You’re Gonna Live Forever in Me” rounded off the night’s narrative. John Mayer bowed graciously and exited the stage through a door that magically appeared on the screen. Credits rolled to signify that the night had finally come to an end. The credits were extensive, they listed every single person who helped put the tour together. The length of the credit list to me is indicative of what kind of man and musician John Mayer is, he cares about his fans and the people he works with. You can feel it in the music. He cares. 

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