John Mayer at the United Center in Chicago, IL

John Mayer returned to Chicago to bring his World Tour to the United Center for the first of a two-night engagement.

It’s fair to say that Chicago loves John Mayer. Whenever he is in town, the crowds come flocking. It’s no mean fete to fill the United Center two nights in a row, but this guy managed to do just that. He was in town a mere two months ago as part of the Dead and Company tour, which hosted two nights at Wrigley Field. This time he is back with his own tour. Much to the delight of the Dead & Co. fans, he took the opportunity to pay homage to his bandmates by performing “Fire On The Mountain” while an entrancing, psychedelic video played on the large screens behind him. 

Each night, Mayer changes the setlist, so you’ll never see the same show twice. The set was heavy on songs taken from his 2006 album, Continuum, as well as a healthy dose taken from Born and Raised. “Age Of Worry” was a particular stand-out on the night, with Mayer cleverly segueing from Pete Townshend’s “Let My Love Open The Door” into the track. On this tour, the show is split into two sets, with no opener, so make sure you get there on time to catch the whole show. Addressing the Chicago crowd, he mentioned that if he didn’t cover some songs you were hoping to hear, to come back the next night as they might be included.

This is a show jam-packed with incredible musicianship, not just from Mayer himself, but from the extensive band accompanying him on stage. Particular mention must go to Chicago’s own Isaiah Sharkey who shone with some fantastically tasteful playing throughout the show. Mayer would often step back to let Sharkey take the spotlight. David Ryan Harris received cheers all round when he sang Prince’s “The Beautiful Ones” with what can only be described as one hell of a beautiful voice. Mayer clearly has a lot of respect for the band. While it’s his name on the marquee, he has selected a band that he trusts, and if you get that call from someone like Mayer, you know you’re doing something right.

But let’s not forget, it’s Mayer himself who has pulled this all together. Not many perform past the hour and a half/two hour mark these days (barring the likes of Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam). For two and a half hours, Mayer entertained the audience with effortless intricate playing. Listening to his lyrics from throughout his lengthy career, you can hear how he has grown as both a person and a songwriter. Songs like “Who Says” and “Something Like Olivia” were very well received by the fans, and are always fun, upbeat songs to sing along to. Set two began with an acoustic, stripped-back cover of Beyonce’s “XO” which showed the audience were in fine singing voice.

The US leg of this tour has dates scheduled until September 17, before he performs at the Crossroads Festival and then heads over to Europe. 

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About Kirstine Walton 329 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!

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