Jason Mraz – 8/18/12 – Aaron’s Amphitheatre, Atlanta
Words by Jakob Ross
“Tour Is a Four Letter Word”
Jason Mraz Invites Atlanta to Keep Calm and Wear Fedoras
Pop music comes and goes. Some songs stand the test of time, others go away after a few months or, in some cases, after a few weeks. That’s just the way it goes in the crazy business of music. One of the most popular songs of the past decade or so is 2008’s “I’m Yours,” which you can still hear on the radio and in your local Starbucks today. This song skyrocketed Jason Mraz to mega-fame, and, as I observed last night while viewing the 15,000-member audience, that fame has yet to subside. Even after the release of this year’s less-than-amazing album “Love Is a Four Letter Word.” A couple weeks ago, Mraz began his North American “Tour Is a Four Letter Word” with fellow singer/songwriter Christina Perri, who you may know was the girl who sings that song that makes you want to punch puppies every time you hear it.
Anyway, after multiple setlist checks, my mom (the biggest Jason Mraz fan in the family) decided what songs she wanted to hear, which ones she didn’t care about, and ultimately we decided we’d leave after the aforementioned “I’m Yours,” which is the last song before the encore break. This show would also serve as way for me and my dad to check out the lawn and get a feel for where we would try and be when we see Phish this Saturday.
We got to our spot and laid down a blanket to relax on about halfway through Christina Perri’s set. Don’t get me wrong, the girl can sing very well, but her music does absolutely nothing for me. All the songs sounded the same, but I only had to sit through about 25 minutes of it.
At about 8:45, his scheduled appearance time, he hit the stage and shifted from an ominous instrumental intro into “Remedy,” a song that I had heard before, but had absolutely no idea was a Jason Mraz song. From our spot on the lawn, we could see everything. The view was spectacular and we didn’t have to actually stand up until the end of the set.
After “Remedy,” he played “Living In the Moment,” a new song. As mediocre as his new album is, a lot of the songs translated really well in a live setting, and made them seem a lot better than they really are. Then he played “a song I wrote while on a plane”: the aptly titled “Plane.” That song had some pretty—I hate using this word—epic moments that really demonstrated Mraz’s vocal skills. Next he played “Be Honest,” a duet that featured the violinist of his band sharing vocal duties with Mraz.
He then played a couple tracks from his most popular album “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.”: “Only Human” and “Lucky,” the latter of which also featured his violinist on vocals, singing the parts that Colbie Caillat sings on the album. He played a few more new songs afterwards, but the highlight of the show was definitely the last four songs of the set. The 13th song of the set was a bonus track from the new album entitled “You Fckn Did It,” a song he performs with his female hispanic percussionist whose name ISN’T Sheila E. Knowing his audience well, he warns the audience beforehand that the song they were about to play featured “a certain short word” that some parents wouldn’t like their kids hearing. “If you don’t want your children to hear this certain word, then I heard a rumor that the Fresh Beat Band are playing in the lobby,” Mraz joked. After him and his percussionist (“The Duo Decimal System,” they called themselves) performed the song, he invited the rest of his band back up to sing another bonus track, entitled “I’m Coming Over,” in which the whole band including Mraz stood as a group in one area of the stage and sang the mellow track.
Afterwards, everyone took their respective spots at their instruments and performed the most energetic song of the night “Butterfly,” which flowed nicely into a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” If you know anything about that song, then you know that the chorus is “Signed, sealed, delivered/I’m yours,” which is either a coincidence or a subtle way of letting his audience know what the next song would be. As soon as the all-too-familiar hammer-on guitar riff hit the ears of the thousands of audience members, we all knew what was coming. Everyone in the lawn stood up and prepared for a massive sing-a-long, because, let’s face it, everyone knows the words to the song.
After the song ended, Mraz left the stage for the encore break, and we left the venue to head home. I heard all I needed to hear, as did my parents and sister. Let’s face it, Jason Mraz has some pretty bad songs, but hearing them performed live actually made some of them listenable and even enjoyable. Overall, not a terrible concert experience. He puts on a good performance and sounds very good live. The sound this time was way better than it was last time I went to Aaron’s Amphitheatre, so not too many complaints from this writer. If you like relaxing music and fedoras, then you might enjoy yourself a Jason Mraz concert (yes, he did wear a fedora). But now I have to spend the next week preparing myself for my second round of Phish, which you’ll hear all about next week.