Your Body Is A Wonderland
Last night John Mayer played, “Your Body Is A Wonderland” at his show in Denver. I was genuinely surprised. Never thought I’d hear him play this in person, and was honestly okay with that. He put on a wonderful show, as always, introducing the full band, acoustic sets, and the classic JM3 with phenomenal cinematography, and closing the show with an epilogue, stripped down to piano and vocals playing the final song on his latest album, "The Search For Everything," in black and white, exiting through a door in the screen with understated dramatic flare.
The band was as great in person as it has ever been, and what I appreciate about John Mayer is that he's not afraid to share the stage, letting his lead guitarists, background vocalists, and pianist take the lead several times during a two hour show. Chapter 2, the acoustic set was set in John Mayer-ville (see below), with backgrounds that looked like Japan with pink fairies sparkling all around him in as manly a way as possible. The John Mayer Trio (JM3) rocked the house with tones of metal and innovation so that you couldn't help but rock. The band returned, and for every new song they played a hit, and whether the crowd knew the songs or not, the music was incredible, with possibly some of the most talented musicians in the country performing for an excited Denver crowd.
Going back to old school though, I'm still shocked that I heard, "Your Body Is A Wonderland" last night. He even dedicated it to the 15-year-old "birthday boy" in the crowd. What was interesting though, was his introduction.
In his beautifully awkward prose John commented (more than once) that songs are a snapshot of who we were at a particular time, and the meaning of them changes over time, especially to the writer. Who he was when he wrote that song is not who he is now, but returning to it some fifteen years later and performing it now is a different joy than it was then.
And so today, inspired by John to revisit my work, I went back and listened to the mini-album I released a year ago. It is difficult to listen to your own work as an artist. (Maybe this gets easier over time? Here's hoping.) Sometimes it exceeds your expectations, sometimes what you made falls short, and sometimes it’s simply different than what you expected, or you've listened to it so much you don't know what your actual opinions about it are anymore. And for that, I generally don’t listen to my recorded work all that often. I enjoy playing in the moment, making music in real time, going with what it means to me that day, drawing on the memories of where it came from and how I relate to those emotions and feelings now, and putting it forward to audiences in front of me today, and not trying to make it any more than what it can be right now. That's a long complicated sentence to say I like to live and play in the moment. Sometimes I’m playing with a different band, or a duo, or it’s just me – and none of those things can ever be repeated the exact moments and ways of when it was recorded. It often does the music a disservice to try.
But John struck more than one chord in me last night, and today I find myself listening to “Waiting For Another Sky” (a line from an Emily Dickenson poem, by the way), and listening to enjoy it for what it is. Not to critique it, or who I am, or who I was, but just to experience it as who I am now. And I have to say, that while the sound of my voice still surprises me (it’s a much brighter and more pure in timbre than it sounds in my head), it’s been an enjoyable journey, from polished product, to the spur-of-the-moment bonus track.