Late in his Tuesday night show at Talking Stick Resort Arena, guitarist John Mayer turned to metaphor to describe the buoyancy and uplift he was feeling. Sporting a muted tie-dye Supreme shirt and Louis Vuitton Harlem boots, which somehow felt like a metaphor itself, Mayer said the concert reminded him of being in grade school, with the audience hoisting up a big quilt parachute-style so “everyone can hang out underneath.”
You can accuse John Mayer of lots of things: of being terrifically insensitive (even after seven years, his infamous 2010 Playboy interview hovers like an ugly cloud); of being kind of gross (“Don’t you think I was too young,” Taylor Swift sings allegedly about him in “Dear John”); of being sonically vanilla (“Everything that Jerry Garcia ever talked about or stood for – John Mayer is the antithesis,” former Black Crowe Chris Robinson told Howard Stern regarding Mayer’s appointment as guitarist in Bob Weir, Mickey Hart, and Bill Kreutzmann’s Dead and Company). But after Tuesday night’s show, I won’t accuse him of being insincere.
Mayer’s always aimed for profundity. “I just found out there’s no such thing as the real world / just a lie you’ve got to rise above,” he sang all the way back in 2001, when his breakthrough Room For Squares LP was released. I still don’t know what he means by that — though I suspect if R.E.M. sang the same line I’d nod along in solemn awareness — but in 2017, Mayer’s hit the overdrive pedal when it comes to grand statements. His latest album’s titled The Search For Everything, and his current road show is divided into four “chapters,” each designed to showcase the…
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