November 6, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 38  

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Orgasmic Mayer has girls wantin' more

John Mayer
John Labatt Centre
Mon., Nov. 3, 2003

By Ashley Audrain
Gazette Staff

Gazette file photo
YOU’RE NOT ON THE DARTBOARD THIS TIME, JOHNNY — AREN’T YOU PROUD? Mayer did his crooning thang for a crowd of... err, excited girls at the JLC on Monday.

We made fun of his new album and we pinned him up on the Celebrity Dartboard next to Barbra Streisand — things weren’t looking good for John Mayer. Lucky for him, Mayer can put on a pretty good show. Playing to a near sold-out crowd of what seemed like Western’s entire female population (and its fraternities’ males) at the John Labatt Centre on Monday night, he delivered a playful and coy performance that just might warrant his Dartboard removal.

He’s the classic unsuspecting underdog who chicks dig and guys don’t get. Mayer’s stage presence is confident and comfortable, but perhaps a little too comfortable: his intense orgasmic facial expressions make you feel like a fly on his bedroom wall, a place the ear-piercing girls in the crowd would love access to. Mayer makes love to his guitar on stage. Nobody can question the man’s passion.

Yet, despite his obvious enthusiasm to perform, Mayer seems confused: it’s as though he has been squished into the generic pop genre against his will, but his true talent undoubtedly shines when he closes his mouth and uses his hands. The best performances of the night were impromptu and heavy blues-inspired guitar solos, which thankfully sounded more genuine and mature than his sugar-coated radio hits give him credit for.

Mayer primarily played from his latest album Heavier Things, starting the show with the album’s opener “Clarity.” Playing the well-known anatomical hits “Your Body is a Wonderland” and “Bigger Than My Body” early in the line-up, Mayer then got down and dirty with some impressive work on the electric guitar, after announcing he was “in the playing mood tonight.” He amazed the crowd with a blues-like set, the highlight including a playful banter in which he personified his guitar as his whimpering girlfriend wanting his affection. The real girl in Mayer’s life must really have to fight to get noticed.

His quickly spoken anecdotes between songs were a nice chance for the audience, — allowing them to get acquainted with the meaning behind Mayer’s lyrics, although it was sometimes difficult to hear what he had to say. He fiddled around with an introduction to the song “83,” testing out what sounded like a bit of Gord Downie-ish vocal gibberish, before setting into a mediocre last set. As the show went on, Mayer played out each song with focused concentration, relaying to the audience the feeling he wasn’t ready to finish. He played an encore of three songs, ending with “St. Patrick’s Day” from his 2001 album Room for Squares.

So yes, he’s a puppy-faced acoustic confessional who pouts his way into girls’ hearts and writes catchy love-pops better than the proverbial guy-next-door. But the world of guitar-friendly commercial music needs a poster boy with a hint of genuine talent and those who witnessed him live and in the flesh will agree it could be one much worse than John Mayer.



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