Review: John Mayer still on his ‘Search for Everything’
John Mayer was a kid, or at least looked like one, the very first time he came to town.
That was at the old Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, near Retama Park, in July 2003 with Counting Crows.
The singer-songwriter and guitar hotshot — who on Thursday played for more than 10,000 fans at the AT&T Center — was riding the wave of his debut “Room for Squares” and the buzz of sweet hits “No Such Thing,” “Why Georgia” and “Your Body Is a Wonderland” (which won a Grammy that year).
He was a cuddly boy-toy (Mayer was 25 but looked younger) as far as the female fans were concerned, drawing Elvis Presley-worthy screams for simply smiling.
At the time, Mayer was about to unleash “Heavier Things,” which proved he was, indeed, “Bigger Than My Body” and to offer a little “Clarity.”
Even then, he wanted to prove there was more.
All these years later, and all the bone-headed things he’s said, goofy side projects and tabloid headlines he’s generated, haven’t diminished his formidable talents and the memorable songs he’s delivered.
It began this night at 8:53 when the lights went down and screams began. Mayer opened the show — which would present segments in unplugged, blues trio and full-band formats — with his full group.
At 39, he still looks like a kid. But he doesn’t sound like one.
He opened with the new soulful “Helpless,” unleashing a bluesy Robert Cray-like blues solo.
“Moving On and Getting Over” grooved like Sly & the Family Stone and Al Green, melded with Mayer’s folk-ish touches and his excellent five-piece band and two backup singers.
He tapped his inner James Taylor and Livingston Taylor for the acoustic “Who Says.”
“I’m not done changing,” he sang on the revealing “Changing,” which came with a fiery, echoing guitar solo recalling Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour. Virtuosic.
He returned to “the young me” with the sweet, breathy bouncy acoustic “Why Georgia.” Yes, sometimes searching means looking backward, too.
But the gentle follow-up, “Emoji of a Wave,” showed change isn’t that scary — or that much of a leap. In fact, it’s pretty beautiful.