Jason Mraz @ The Enmore, Sydney – 9 August 2008

Jason Mraz

Last night I headed to Newtown to catch Jason Mraz at The Enmore. The theatre was cleverly organized so all the fans could experience the concert their way. The seats in the floor section were cleared out to make way for those enthusiastic young girls who wanted to dance and sing along with their idol. Up in the dress circle the vibe was a lot more mellow, with seats allowing us older folks to properly relax to Mraz’s laidback grooves.

But before all that we were treated to a set from Melanie Horsnell. I’d heard her name before but never any of her music, so I was keen to see what she could do. I was impressed with her instantly accessible lyrics and rich country-tinged voice. Although, as seems to be a common complaint with me, I really could have done without the chatter in the room. Am I the only person who listens to support acts any more? The audience did seem to take a little more notice when she performed a breathtaking acoustic version of Bernard Fanning’s “Songbird,” but this focus was short lived. It’s a shame because she was really very good.

All the chatter was replaced with rapturous applause once Jason Mraz stepped out. He drew everyone in with his easy personality and warmth and didn’t let go. This was my third time seeing him live, but with the first with the full band set up. It’s something I wasn’t sure about as I tend to prefer acoustic sets, but in the end I needn’t have worried. The set was lush and varied. Some songs utilised all the instruments and they were richer for it, while for other songs he knew all they needed was an acoustic guitar.

One thing I love about seeing Jason Mraz is that he really involves an audience. Whether we were standing right down the front or sitting in the back of the auditorium, he wanted to make sure we were having a good time. Sure the choreographed dance moves to The Dynamo of Volition were a little silly, but that was just part of the fun.

My only little gripe was that the set drew heavily from the latest album We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things. It’s not a bad album, but I haven’t embraced it as I did the earlier recordings. Jason has the sort of charisma that means you’d be happy to hear him sing the phone book, and I found myself really enjoying songs I’m ambivalent about on the record. But there presence meant there simply wasn’t enough time for all my old favourites.

But when he closed the night with “You and I Both,” my absolute favourite, all was forgiven. It was stunning, and more than made up for every other song that didn’t make the cut. When your biggest complaint about a show is essentially that you wanted to hear more, it’s a pretty fantastic night out!

If you couldn’t make it, or you just want to relive the magic, here’s Jason wowing me with “You and I Both.”

And here’s the lovely Melanie Horsnell joining Jason for “Lucky.”

Image source: own photo

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    • http://www.myspace.com/lise1184 Lisa

      I agree he was truly amazing, first time I have seen him live and def won’t be the last time. I have to disagree with you with Melanie. I didn’t like her performances. Honestly I could have curled up and gone to sleep, and I didn’t understand a word she said. Having said that there was alot of background noise from the crowd. I love how he worked the crowd into his performances such as when he sung the happy birthday song for fans in the crowd. I also love the fact that he introduced his band members, took polariod pics of them and threw them into the crowd. Another fav bit of the whole night was the men playing the saxaphone/trumpet/trombone up in the top section. Awesome as. Anyway to conclude it was def worth travelling from Albury to Sydney to see one my fav artist and would jump on a plane again in a heart beat to see him perform again :)

    • http://www.ozmusicscene.com lkatulka

      I can definitely see how you got that from Melanie’s performance Lisa. She’s one of those singers that I think would do a lot better in a much smaller venue like a bar or something. Acoustic guitars, solo performers, and original songs don’t tend to do well in those larger venues. Good on you for making the trip from Albury! I’m glad Jason put on an awesome show for you!

    • http://www.myspace.com/lise1184 Lisa

      Thanks! I got lots of short videos of all the songs. There are a few on youtube at the moment. My user name is lthomo84. I would have gone to the Melbourne show(s) if they wern’t sold out as it was closer, but glad i chose Sydney cause I’ve only been there a few times and it was nice to be in a different venue rather than the same ones.
      One thing I was disapointed in was that Jason didn’t sing “Song For A Friend” that is my fav song and would have loved seeing it live rather than the actual “song” or “live videos” off youtube.

    • Joanne

      Thanks for the review! I’ve seen Mraz twice now (Metro & Vanguard) but missed the latest show. Like you, I haven’t latched on to the latest album yet, but seeing the video of him singing “You & I Both” gave me goosebumps. After hearing “Live at Java Joes”, I don’t think I’ll ever get used to hearing Jason perform with a full band- he’s too good in acoustic mode!

      Thanks again..

    • http://www.ozmusicscene.com lkatulka

      Hey Joanne … it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who’s not completely in love with the new disc. At least even in full band mode Jason knows when to let the other guys go and just play solo. It’s not good as it used to be, but I’m so glad to have those acoustic moments!