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