John Mayer @ BOK Center | Tulsa, OK
Words and Photos by B “Café con Leche” Gutierrez.
I love John Clayton Mayer.
I’ve liked his music ever since I first heard him on the radio, but I didn’t fall in love with him as a musician until I had the chance to see him live on Feb. 1, 2007. In fact, before that show in 2007, I had no idea he was such great guitarist. That show elevated him to a completely new level for me. It was not just about cute lyrics and beautiful break-up songs anymore. It was about his passion for music and his glorious guitar riffs (oh yes, I said glorious.)
I knew he was playing in Tulsa on Sept. 3, but I wasn’t planning to attend the show. At least I wasn’t, until I saw the live broadcast of his Sept. 1 show at Colorado’s Red Rocks. That’s when I remembered how great he is and realized how much I’d regret it if I missed out on the Tulsa show. After all, it was just a two-hour drive and a ticket that wasn’t in my budget. But I had to do it. So I bought my ticket the day before the show and got on the road after leaving work on Friday.
All photos by Café con Leche.
Lucky for me, the BOK Center performance wasn’t sold out. The opening act was Owl City. Which was not impressive at all, but everyone did stand up for their hit “Fireflies.” I was fine with sitting down for their entire set. After all, I wasn’t there to see them. When the schedule of shows for Mayer’s Summer tour came out, I thought it listed Train as the supporting act. I would have been a lot happier with Train. Or with Michael Franti & Spearhead, the supporting act for the winter part of Mayer’s Battle Studies tour.
Mayer’s set started out with “Vultures,” from his Continuum album. Which he introduced with riffs from The Band‘s “Chest Fever.” He followed it with the Mayer classics “Clarity” and “No Such Thing.” The entire arena was singing along with these songs, including me. The next song is when I started to fly, because he played “Ain’t No Sunshine” with a reggae-flavored intro and a guitar solo that made me melt. Need I say more?
Later in the show he played The Rolling Stone‘s “Beast of Burden” along with “Perfectly Lonely,” from his latest album, Battle Studies. After that winner combination and an instrumental jam session, which rightfully earned drummer Keith Carlock a prolonged ovation, the show went into a mini-acoustic set. With Bob Dylan‘s “Don’t Think it Twice, It’s Alright” and “Your Body Is A Wonderland,” Mayer kept everyone in the audience happy.
The 7-piece band accompanying Mayer is an impressive one. In addition to Carlock, the band is made up by David Ryan Harris (guitar), Robbie McIntosh (guitar), Sean Hurley (bass), Bob Reynolds (saxophone, flute), Bryan Lipps (trumpet), and Charlie Wilson (keyboards). Each of them had a moment to shine during the show. Like Wilson during “Who Says.” Despite listening to that song (it was the first single of Battle Studies) so many times before, this was the first time I noticed the delicate piano notes in its middle. Those notes really glue the song together. And now when I listen to that song I wait for them — so much soul in just a couple of notes.
Mayer ended with “Edge of Desire” as encore while a video compilation from the winter part of the tour played on the screen behind him. It was perfect. I got out of the BOK Center with the biggest smile, wishing I wasn’t alone, but still so high from the amazing musical evening I had just experienced. I was blown away, as I’m sure you would be, if you get to one of his shows.
The set was a great mixed of old and new favorites. Here’s the setlist of the night. Just in case you want to make a play list, like I did.
Chest Fever/Vultures > Clarity > No Such Thing > Ain’t No Sunshine > Slow Dancing in a Burning Room > Beast of Burden/Perfectly Lonely > Waiting on the World to Change > Don’t > Think Twice, It’s All Right > Your Body Is A Wonderland > Gravity > Can’t Find My Way Home/Who Says > Why Georgia > Heartbreak Warfare > Do You Know Me > Half of My Heart/Don’t Stop Believing > Encore: Edge of Desire
And here are a few of my favorite photos of the night (they’re all from that perfect encore) in black/white.
I’m already looking forward to my next John Mayer concert.
Come with me?
– Café con Leche