Concert review: John Mayer plays for the first time in Singapore

Reta Lee
Editor-in-Chief, Lifestyle
John Mayer in Singapore. (PHOTO: Marcus Lin)

Listening to the singer-songwriter break out his heartbreak-blues riffs gave me trembles down my spine, never mind that the man was in the news for excessive alcohol consumption, or his preference for wooing famous women. In place of all that sensationalist news, he showed us that beneath it all, he is now a mature, relaxed artist with about 20 years worth – a respectful catalogue – of music. In his most earnest, impressive ways, he wowed tens of thousands of fans Monday night (1 April) at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, backed by his phenomenal band.

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John Mayer. (PHOTO: Marcus Lin)

Without an opening act, John Mayer sauntered on stage around 8.20pm in a breezy blue-white printed shirt; and as the lights dimmed, he jumped right in with “Helpless”, the single from his “The Search for Everything” album. “Good evening Singapore, how are you feeling?” he addressed the crowd with an introduction, “It is good to finally see you; it’s been way too long and I’ve been waiting my entire life (to play).” Screams filled the stadium as the pop singer continued on with “New Light” and an oldie but goldie “I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You)” taken from his 2006 third album, “Continuum”. Ah, “Continuum”, the album I sang along to at the top of my lungs as I drove down the highway to work, still green to the media world back then. Mixing up the setlist with tunes like “No Such Thing” from “Room for Squares” to “Heartbreak Warfare” from the 2009 album “Battle Studies”, John transformed the stadium to a ginormous sing-along set. He even showed off his multi-tasking skills on “Dear Marie” with a mounted harmonica and his guitar. But credit also goes to his two guitarists David Ryan and Isaiah Sharkey, who stole his spotlight with their mastery on the strings.

John Mayer. (PHOTO: Marcus Lin)

In between songs, John acknowledged his fans’ creativity in posters signs, whilst declining a fan’s request to join the musician to play on stage: “I just don’t want to do that, no offence. I still want you to enjoy the show with the sign over your head. I care about the people beside you, next to you, your pipes (sic) let’s just jam and have a good time.”

For his second set, John belted “Badge and Gun”, “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and Tom Petty’s cover “Freefallin” in a stripped-down solo acoustic set. The highlight was when “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” came on, and with his eyes closed, John proved his mettle with the nostalgic reminder of the guitar riffs on the track. It was overwhelming, to say the least. “Waiting on The World To Change”, another song from the album “Continuum” made it to the set, followed by the song “Still Feel Like Your Man”, an ode to his ex-love interest Katy Perry (who’s now engaged to actor Orlando Bloom).

John Mayer. (PHOTO: Marcus Lin)

When the band returned for an encore, John sent love to his fans with the dancy track “Edge of Desire” and finally closed with the hallowed “Gravity”. Backup vocalist Tiffany Palmer simply gave an insanely beautiful closing: “Dreams do remember, hold on to your dreams.” In place of lighters, the stadium lit with a burst of lights from smartphones, roars and guitars, with a strong delivery of rock, blues, soul that fans are going to remember for a very long time.

After the concert, John took to Instagram to share his appreciation: “First time playing Singapore, and nowhere near the last. I enjoyed every second of each song knowing it was the first time anyone in the room had heard them live. Not a moment taken for granted. And what a crowd. Thank you, Singapore.”