[Herald Review] John Mayer brings warm, groovy performance to Seoul

By Korea Herald
  • Published : May 7, 2014 - 20:10
  • Updated : May 7, 2014 - 20:40
The internationally renowned singer-songwriter John Mayer delivered a heartfelt performance for more than 12,000 fans in Seoul on Tuesday evening, staging his first concert in South Korea since his debut 13 years ago.

Appearing on stage right on time, Mayer was greeted by a large crowd of enthusiastic fans who did not seem to mind the chilly night winds at the outdoor Auxiliary Stadium at Jamsil Sports Complex.

Mayer, backed by his seven-piece band, casually kicked off the evening with the folksy tune “Queen of California” and the hit single “No Such Thing” from his 2001 Grammy-winning debut album “Room for Squares.”

Before launching into the rest of the evening’s program, Mayer, who was wearing a yellow ribbon out of respect for the victims of the Sewol ferry accident, thanked fans in Seoul for inviting him here and allowing him to proceed with the concert despite the recent national tragedy.
John Mayer performs at Auxiliary Stadium at Jamsil Sports Complex in Seoul on Tuesday. (Hyundai Card)

“(I hope that tonight’s music) will help lift you up and change the way you feel maybe for the next two hours ... We are dedicating every note we play tonight to the families (of the ferry victims), those who are lost, certainly, and a nation who has made us feel so comfortable even with a broken heart,” said Mayer.

The singer also added that all proceeds from this concert’s merchandise sales would go toward relief efforts related to the ferry accident.

Throughout his performance on Tuesday, Mayer hopped back and forth between acoustic and electric guitars, delivering diverse tunes from his albums ranging from blues and country to folk and soft-rock.

The gig featured the singer’s earlier hit singles such as “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room,” “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” “Waiting on the World to Change,” “Paper Doll” and “Why Georgia,” as well as more recent songs including “Wildfire” and “Dear Marie.”

With every song performed, Mayer proved his reputation as a musician comparable to guitar legends Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. In any given tune, Mayer delivered not only steady live vocals but a string of flawless guitar riffs played effortlessly on any part of the fingerboard.

During “Vultures,” Mayer delivered a groovy and funky guitar duet with his supporting guitarist Doug Pettibone, while a sea of fluid solo guitar riffs decorated the passionate interludes in “Free Fallin’.”

The artist particularly flaunted his musical finesse during “Neon,” coolly maintaining his melodic vocals, freely driving through intense rhythmic guitar riffs and at the same time perfectly slapping out percussion beats with parts of his hands.

After performing “A Face to Call Home,” Mayer wrapped up the night with a promise to “certainly return to Korea in less than 13 years” and an encore run of his enduring hit “Gravity,” to the delight of the audience.

Though the night’s performance was certainly strong and captivating, many fans still would have appreciated hearing Mayer perform his Grammy-winning singles “Daughters” and “Say” as well as popular hits such as “Stop this Train” and “Bigger Than My Body.” Next time, perhaps.

The John Mayer concert was the 14th installment of the “Hyundai Card Culture Project” series, which has brought big-name acts such as The Killers, Keane, John Legend, Ke$ha, Jason Mraz and Mika, among others.

By Sohn Ji-young (jiyoung.sohn@heraldcorp.com)