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Review: Jason Mraz at Radio City Music Hall

Mamma Mia, That'sa Spicy Mraz!

Despite listening to him since his days at Java Joes, Friday night was my first experience seeing Jason Mraz live. I was not alone in my first experience as it was Mr. A-Z’s first show at the legendary Radio City Music Hall, a that fact did not seem lost on him as he pulled out all the stops for what was one of the most entertaining and memorable shows I’ve attended in the last few years.

The evening started with Irish chanteuse Lisa Hannigan. I was really only familiar with her in the context of her work with Damien Rice and really enjoyed her solo set. With a 4 piece band of multi-instrumentalists to back her up, she performed a selection from her debut Sea Sew. “An Ocean and a Rock” was simply beautiful and captivating. “Lille” was delicate and lovely, which seems to be the essence of Miss Hannigan. I will definitely be picking up the record based on this performance.

After a brief intermission it was time for Mraz. The night started with the full 7 piece band taking the stage for “Make it Mine” the lead track from his latest release We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. Wasting no time, the band segued directly into a fresh (and lively) take on Mraz’s first hit “The Remedy”. This was the first of many times that the crowd would fill the hallowed hall with their voices in unison with Jason and he wasted no time in using it to his musical devices and creating a live mash up with the ladies singing the chorus and the boys (what few were in attendance) layering Oasis‘s hit “Wonderwall” over top to great effect.

The band slowly began to recede during “If It Kills Me” and a quiet “You & I Both” and whittled down to the core trio of Ian Sheridan, Toca Rivera and Mraz for the stark and utterly heartbreaking “A Beautiful Mess”. Sheridan even broke out the stand up bass for the occasion bringing to mind the small club feel and making this one of the moments that Jason managed to make Radio City seem like an intimate club for five minutes. This feel continued with the simple and lovely “Life Is Wonderful”.

The rest of the band returned as well as four additional microphones as the back drop took on a decidedly religious slant. It was clear that it was time to go to church! “Live High” came to a grand crescendo with the Broadway Inspirational Voices choir joining in to bring the house down. The choir stayed on for an uplifting rendition of “Oh! Happy Day”. I should mention here that over the band, the crowd, and the choir Jason maintained a presence and a quality of voice that was astounding.

“Dynamo of Volition” brought the crowd to it’s feet for some well choreographed dance moves. It’s interesting to see 5,000 happy fools raising the roof in unison at Radio City. The crowd stayed on its feet for the remainder of the show as Jason kicked into “I’m Yours” to a crowd ready to make a joyful sound. I’ll let the video do the talking on this one.

After and incredibly short encore break Mraz brought Lisa Hannigan back out to play Colbie Caillat’s part in the duet “Lucky” and from there it was non-stop from the rave up of ¬†“Build Me Up, Buttercup” to the ¬†beautiful finale of ¬†“Song for a Friend” the significance of how grand a night it was long on nobody in the room. This was a perfect cap to the concert season and for my wife and I a beautiful way to celebrate our first year of marriage.

Pre-Order A Thousand Things: MusicToday

See the full setlist and the rest of the tour dates after the jump.

Jason Mraz at Radio City Music Hall
New York, New York
October 10, 2008

Setlist:

Make it Mine
The Remedy / Wonderwall
Music to Watch Girls By
If It Kills Me
You & I Both
Beautiful Mess
Life Is Wonderful
Live High (feat. Broadway Inspirational Voices)
Oh! Happy Day (feat. Broadway Inspirational Voices)
Only Human
Dynamo of Volition
I’m Yours / Three Little Birds (feat. Broadway Inspirational Voices)

Encore:

Lucky (feat. Lisa Hannigan)
Build Me Up, Buttercup
No Stopping Us
Butterfly
Song for a Friend

You can catch the Details in the Photos Tour as it rolls across the country through December.

Details in the Photos Tour dates:

10/15/08 Toronto, ON – Massey Hall
10/16/08 Upper Darby, PA – Tower Theatre
10/17/08 Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre
10/20/08 Washington, DC – DAR Constitution Hall
10/23/08 Grand Prairie, TX – Nokia Theatre At Grand Prairie
10/24/08 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Bar-B-Q / Waller Creek Amph.
10/25/08 Houston, TX -Verizon Wireless Theater
10/27/08 Denver, CO -Fillmore Auditorium
10/28/08 West Valley City, UT – The E Center
10/31/08 San Diego, CA – SDSU Open Air Theatre
11/01/08 Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theatre
11/02/08 Berkeley, CA – Greek Theatre
11/03/08 Davis, CA -UC Davis Freeborn Hall
11/05/08 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory Concert House
11/07/08 Spokane, WA – INB Performing Arts Center
11/08/08 Vancouver, BC – Centre In Vancouver For Perf. Arts
11/09/08 Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre
11/10/08 Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre
11/12/08 Portland, OR – Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
11/15/08 Las Vegas, NV – Pearl Concert Theater
11/16/08 Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theatre
11/19/08 Saint Paul, MN – Myth
11/20/08 Saint Paul, MN – Myth
11/21/08 Milwaukee, WI – The Rave Eagles Club
11/22/08 Chicago, IL -Aragon Ballroom
11/23/08 Saint Louis, MO – Fabulous Fox Theatre
11/25/08 Lakewood, OH – Lakewood Civic Auditorium
11/26/08 Richmond, VA – The National
11/28/08 Richmond, VA – The National
11/29/08 Atlanta, GA – The Tabernacle
11/30/08 Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
12/02/08 Jacksonville, FL – Florida Theatre
12/03/08 Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Cafe / Hard Rock Live
12/04/08 Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall
12/05/08 Miami Beach, FL – Fillmore Miami Beach At Jackie Gleason Theater

Published inAcousticRock

4 Comments

  1. Dryben Dryben

    I was at this show and the first time seeing Jason Mraz. The show was awesome, he is a tremendous performer, see him if he is your town.

  2. Marco aka bagan Marco aka bagan

    … very much beautiful report Michael; thank you and best Greetings from Switzerland … Marco

  3. Anonymous Anonymous

    Jason actually opened for Alanis during her Jagged Little Pill Acoustic Tour. They played at Radio City, so this wasn’t his first time playing there, just his first time headlining.

  4. Very cool! And I can’t say I don’t envy your close proximity to NYC… *sigh*

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