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July 8, 2008

Concert Review: Jason Mraz, Shepherd's Bush Empire

(What is a shepherd's bush, anyway? Inquiring minds want to know!)

For completeness, I should probably mention that Jason had two support acts last night, Bushwalla and Dawn Kinnard. We missed them. Sorry. They're supposed to be decent acts and any other night I'd have been keen to get in there early to check them out, but frankly, our concert stamina was running low so we elected to skip them.

The man himself came onstage promptly at 9pm with a different band set up from previous tours. This time round he'd added a horn section and man did they add a fullness to the sound! Very cool, indeed. The first song, however, was a solo affair, just Jason and his guitar doing the singer-songwriter thing (unless you count the audience, who were singing along). I don't actually remember which song he did, but I thought his voice sounded a little raspy, so I was concerned that he might have vocal issues later on. He didn't! Yay!

The band ran through tunes old and new and really struck a good balance between the slower, ballad-style numbers and the funkier up-tempo ones. After hearing the live versions I think I finally 'got' some of the songs from his latest album, "We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things".

All in all the 90 minute set was great. He's moved past some of the cheesier old stuff and updated his best songs to fit in with the new material. While he played some of his more well-known tunes, like "The Remedy", he steered clear of some of the more obvious hits like "Curbside Prophet".

[Tim was so disappointed by that omission that he asked me to mark Jason down a star in this review. Since I don't 'do' stars, that makes it tricky!]

The band was also joined onstage by up-and-coming recording artist James Morrison, who assisted in a duet during the encore.

Even the crowd were great. Lots of hands in the air, lots of clapping, lots of dancing... though I think we were the only folks there over 30. Hey ho! I even found myself jumping up and down at one point, which probably explains why my back's a bit angry again today.

I'm going to have to put the Jason Mraz concert at the top of the honours list for concerts we've seen so far this year. Really great fun, fun, fun!

And for those who like percussionist Toca Rivera's jokes, his attempted funny last night went something like:

Two muffins walk into a bar. One muffin asks the other, "Do you want a beer". The other one goes, "Whoa! A talking muffin!!!!"

1 comment:

Jasonmrazfanluv said...

Yeah i am going to his concert on Nov. 25 I have never been so excited about anything in my life! I just adore him! I am so happy I will tell you how it went!