John Mayer’s latest live 2CD/DVD combo “Where the Light Is” was released this week. This 2CD/DVD is a recording of Mayer’s charity concert he held on December 8, 2007 at L.A.’s Nokia Theatre. One of the more interesting aspects of the concert is that he played three distinct sets. First, he started off with an acoustic set, followed by a Trio set, and culminating in a set with his full touring band.
The acoustic set features Neon, Stop This Train, In Your Atmosphere, Daughters, and a cover of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. This set was an intimate set with a small number of musicians, and sometimes just Mayer himself. This is a nice, relaxed set, which serves as a good introduction to the concert.
In between each set, the DVD shows some backstage footage of Mayer getting ready for the next set and discussing the last set. Additionally, there are some cut scenes to Mayer discussing life as a well-known musician and him preparing for the show.
The Trio set is the highlight of the concert for me. I really enjoy the sound that Mayer, Pino Palladino and Steve Jordan put together, and Mayer really lets loose more on the Trio than when playing with his full band. The set list for the Trio is Everyday I Have the Blues, Jimi Hendrix’s Wait Until Tomorrow, Who Did You Think I Was, Come When I Call, Good Love is On the Way, Out of My Mind, Vultures, and Hendrix’s Bold As Love. Mayer really digs into his Strat during these tunes, with Come When I Call being one of the highlights of the whole concert for me, although I greatly enjoyed each of the Trio songs. If you enjoyed Mayer’s work on his John Mayer Trio CD Try!, you’ll definitely enjoy this part of the concert.
The final set of the night was with Mayer’s full touring band. The set list for this part of the show included Waiting On The World To Change, Slow Dancing In a Burning Room, Why Georgia, The Heart of Life, I Don’t Need No Doctor, Gravity, I Don’t Trust Myself (With Loving You), Belief, and I’m Gonna Find Another You. Again, Mayer displays some great guitar chops on these songs. I was pleased to see that he doesn’t hold back too much when there are more players behind him, although he does allow his bandmates to shine, as well. The Heart of Life and I Don’t Need No Doctor were two of my favorite songs from this set.
I purchased the 2CD/DVD combo at Target, which has some exclusive features not found on the mainstream release. The features are 200 Guitars: The Collection, and a photo gallery from the night of the performance. I was reminded when watching the 200 Guitars feature that Mayer’s guitar tech is Rene Martinez. Martinez was Stevie Ray Vaughan’s guitar tech from 1985 until Vaughan’s untimely passing in 1990. Part of the 200 Guitars feature involved Mayer receiving the Fender Custom Shop “Lenny” tribute to Vaughan’s famous red Stratocaster. Martinez offers some comments about the original compared to the tribute as part of the 200 Guitars feature, which you can find on YouTube if you don’t get the Target version.
I’ve never seen Mayer perform live, so I can’t comment on how accurately “Where the Light Is” depicts a John Mayer concert. However, I can say that this is an excellent concert performance and a great way to see each of Mayer’s different styles together in one show. There’s some excellent guitar playing throughout the show, as well as some great music. I really enjoyed the whole show would highly recommend “Where the Light Is.” You can watch a trailer for the concert below: