The work week was exhausting – late nights at the office (and at home), countless meetings and overlapping deadlines from multiple stakeholders. But no matter what came my way, I was committed to treating myself to Jason Mraz’ latest concert. After all, the show promised good vibes and that’s what I needed after losing most of my reserves.
I’m happy to report that the night lived up to its name. It was loaded with positivity, gratitude, love, happiness and amazing music. The energy was infectious and its residue remains as I’m writing this piece. Though I must say that the most rewarding part was watching a real artist perform on stage.
Now, we can go postmodern and argue what a “real artist” means in this day and age. In simple language, I witnessed a man who appears to live and breathe music since he was a little kid.
His songwriting talent was always a given. But his command of melody and words as he wished was impressive. Not to mention, his vocals were stellar (even if he thinks age hasn’t done him any favor). I think of Jason Mraz and the first thing that comes to my mind is his wordplay. But I was blown away by how wide his vocal range was and spot on his notes were. To top it all off, he was able to collaborate and create harmonies that range from sessions with indie quartet Raining Jane, to the audience with “I’m Yours”.
He clearly has the ability to entertain. But when your talent is massive enough, bringing a puppet to represent Meghan Trainor in “More Than Friends” is sufficient. You can tell he has some dance moves up his sleeve. If he wanted top notch choreography, there’s no doubt in my mind that he could’ve pulled it off. But he seemed less interested in going in that direction and made music the center of it all.
The entire show was a breath of fresh air. If you listen to the radio or Spotify today, EDM and hip-hop would dominate most playlists. Here, what I had was a man with nothing but a guitar and his words. You don’t hear about shit that frankly most ordinary people have little luxury of going through – fame, fortune, glory and all the vice that come with it. His artistry was about universal life experiences – overall love, overwhelming fun, some anxiety and a whole lot of gratitude.
With the set design and the musical arrangements, I could picture myself in a tropical island, having a vacation, and enjoying a drink. That’s what he managed to do – take me to paradise even when I was sitting in a chair on a stadium that should’ve been more optimally set up. The next Bali or Phuket trip has Jason Mraz’ music as my soundtrack to having a great time and not worrying life away.
There was one tragedy during the night. The crowd should’ve had their lazy asses out of their seats. Unfortunately, only “I’m Yours” managed to do the trick. If you ask me, the setlist was outstanding and deserved more jamming from the crowd. Yes, I preferred “The Remedy” in its original form. My reverence for the past would’ve liked some “Sleep All Day”, “You and I Both” and “Absolutely Zero” put in the mix. But “Living in the Moment”, “3 Things” and “Shine” were new additions to his catalog that feels as appropriate.
And since we’re on the subject of new material, it’s disappointing that “I Won’t Give Up” was the last time he broke out big on the charts. He probably doesn’t care and he’s made that clear. But when he began the night with “Let’s See What the Night Can Do”, put “Unlonely” in the middle (my favorite from the new album), and ended it with “Have It All”, there’s clearly something wrong with a contemporary audience that doesn’t give it as much listen as most of the crap out there today.
When you’re feeling down and defeated, watching Jason Mraz live in action can do wonders for your spirit. I almost cried when he was singing “The Remedy” and “3 Things”. But even if everything is going well with your life, “Good Vibes with Jason Mraz” can still make it better.