John Mayer, Newton Faulkner @ The Royal Albert Hall, South Kensington, London
17th September 07
After the sun and music soaked Reading weekend, it’s time return to normality and the safety from the elements that are the London gig venues. The Royal Albert Hall is about as far removed from a festival field by the river Thames as you could get. But it really is a spectacular location for live music. The acoustics are amazing and views were great even from the circle high above the stage below.
First to hit the royal stage (decked out with rugs and all), was Newton Faulkner. Not having heard much of him before i was very impressed by the performance. He was alone yet so assured and comfortable on in this grand arena engaging the crowd at every opportunity. His acoustic guitar was superb and lyrically raised many a smile. He was so refreshing in a land of singer songwriters who take themselves far too seriously. Only a character like this could possibly get away with playing a cover version of the Spongebob Squarepants theme tune on the Royal Albert Hall, ooh Raaa indeed! We all throughly enjoyed this and it really set the crowd in motion for the main attraction.
John Mayer, it has to be said … has awful dress sense. A Lairy Red Suit! come on Mr. Mayer, were not in the 70’s anymore! This turned out to be not the only bad decision he made this evening either. After opening with some top tracks from the new LP Continuum (Which I think is amazing) he spoke for first time.
“Thank you for letting me change as an artist and still supporting me in what I’m doing”
Which, when you cut through the mumbo jumbo means, I’m gonna concentrate on my new material with little regard for any older gems. Boy was this the case though, as much as I love the new album i couldn’t help but feel a little bit let down by the set choice.
What he did play on the whole was great, he was strutting and flairing on his guitar like a true elder blues statesman. Extended jams, incredible solos and a plenty of catchy rythmns made for compelling viewing. So few were the older tracks he played, I can name them all with minimal recollection, Bigger Than My Body from Heavier Things, half of No Such Thing and Why Georgia from Room For Squares.
This was a good gig in a grandeur venue, despite the distinct lack of a half decent set list… I’m not bitter about this…Honest!