Where The Light Is, Live in Los Angeles
(Three and a half stars)
Even if you’re not a sucker for his pop hits, this is the more mature Continuumed John Mayer at play. The live CD is a leap from Any Given Thursday, a recording of a concert held in Alabama in 2002, two years after he made his debut.
So well, he’s showing off right from start with “Neon” that opens the acoustic set and he’s doing a super-charged rumbling fret run that completely surprises you, taking you where few pop songs go. The folk blues touch to “Daughters” is nice and easy, but the cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin is cloyingly sweet and a version that could have been easily avoided in this set.
But the real highs are in the second set with his Continuum trio ”“ Pino Palladino on bass and Steve Jordan on drums. Of course he’s included his heroes in this one ”“ there’s BB King and Hendrix, but Mayer to his credit has turned BB’s track around. He opens “Everyday I have the Blues” with some heavy chops, brings down the tempo and goes on to prove just how much he loves the song. ”˜Wait Until Tomorrow’ which was originally covered on Continuum is a straight cover but is close to Mayer because Axis: Bold As Love (which includes this track and ”˜Bold As Love’ that’s also covered here) is the first Hendrix album that he bought. Jordan is particularly impressive and manages to live upto Mitch Mitchell’s handiwork.
The trio keeps you hooked onto the striking originals as well, ”˜Who Do You Think I Was’ with its wails, distortion and some flaming leads makes for a fantastic concert scorcher. Ditto with ”˜Good Love Is On The Way’ also from Continuum where Mayer and his trio let it go.
We would have been thrilled if ”˜Great Indoors’ or ”˜My Stupid Mouth’ were included in the third band set which has tracks such as ”˜Why Georgia’ from Mayer’s debut. But we sure as hell don’t miss ”˜My Body Is A Wonderland’ with screeching female fans in the background. Wise decision Johhny boy.