Review: John Mayer and Dawes @ Budweiser Stage – Toronto

Multi-talented musician/songwriter, John Mayer, made a pass-through Toronto for the second occasion this year as part of The Search for Everything Tour. This time to get some final summer feels at the outdoor Budweiser Stage while promoting his latest album of the same title.

Opening the evening were Los Angeles folk rock quartet, Dawes, who set a precedent for the quality of song you’d be hearing throughout the evening. Their vintage, tightly-knit, instrument-focused sound was a perfect warmup for an audience that came to be concealed with warm vocals and bluesy guitar.

As the sun set and the night sky became illuminated by the neighbouring carnival lights of the CNE, Toronto’s search for everything kicked off with one of Mayer’s latest tracks, “Helpless.” An upbeat melodious song that contains a classic Mayer mixture of enduring choruses and impressive bluesy guitar solos. A concoction that we would be treated to for the next 120-minutes.

Mayer has enjoyed musical success in many formats: with a full band, as part of a trio, and acoustically on his own. So fittingly his set was split into four sections. The First of which was with his full band. After about a dozen tunes, his band exited and Mayer stripped down to an acoustic for a few beautifully natured songs like “Daughters,” and a graceful cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” The third section of the set featured the Trio and was easily the heaviest and jazziest part of the evening.

As the full band returned to the stage, Mayer took some time to acknowledge the signs in the crowd. Some of which got received some vintage Mayer arrogance, while others even received a serenade. Mayer then played a few other new tracks such as “Rosie” and “In The Blood,” but the fans were treated to at least one song from each of Mayer’s seven album discography. He even took a minute to justify how he felt about some of the songs from his previous album Paradise Valley, which commercially was not a hit.

Every set on Mayer’s tour is at least a little different. This evening would end on a significant high as the full band closed out the main set with the Mayer classic “Waiting on the World to Change.” Then returning to encore with the soothing hit “Gravity.” As the band said their goodbyes, Mayer hopped on a piano for one final number from The Search for Everything, appropriately titled, “Never on the Day You Leave.”

At one point in the evening Mayer explained that although many areas of his life may be notoriously messy, there is a two-foot area on his guitar neck that he can live in and always be good at. No matter what you may have heard about Mayer and the reputation his personality holds, you cannot deny he is a remarkable musician and inspiring song-writer. Toronto’s show was proof that you cannot refuse this man of his many talents.


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Review by Adam Harrison | @AdamRHarrison 

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