John Mayer - Any Given Thursday [Live In Birmingham] Disk 2
Original Release Date: 2002
Audio CD: February 11, 2003
Bitrate: 192 kbps
I am not a huge John Mayer fan. I know the radio hits, that's about it. Someone recommended "Any Given Thursday" to me, and much to my surprise I have really come to like this album. Meant as a stop-gap until Mayer would release his second album, and as a quick cash-in to Mayer's quick rise to stardom, this live collection nevertheless delivers.
"Any Given Thursday" ( 2 CDs, 101 min. ) is the complete recording of a September 2002 concert in Birmingham, AL. The set contains, not surprisingly, the bulk of the "Room for Squares" album ( 10 of its 13 tracks are here ), and Mayer delivers them confidently, at times taking his time to "jam" with his band. My favorite tracks include the sublime "Why Georgia", "83" and "Neon" ( all of which are on CD2, clearly the better of CD1 ). There is also the obligatory "John solo" mini-set, which contains a great cover of Sting's "Message in a Bottle" ( I don't miss Sting's whining voice at all! ). Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, there is not a single song previewing the "Heavier Things" album.
In all, I was very pleasantly surprised with this album. OK, John Mayer live invites comparisons to Dave Matthews Band, there's no denying that. But hey, is that such a bad thing? Not in my book! ~ Paul Allaer
I generally characterize John Mayer as a talented chick musician - by which I mean that chicks dig him cuz he's dreamy sounding and handsome in a famous-geek kind of way. In spite of his appeal to the screaming teeny and lower-20's girls, John Mayer is a talented musician and lyricist.
Mayer's band is talented at setting up a solid groove that carries through an entire track. As a drummer, I focus in on drummers of the music I listen to. I love what his drummer lays down on this concert set: he has straightforward grooves that are very musical. They feel right and they fit.
This set has more of a jazzy feel to it than his studio work and it's a good sound. It has more of a natural, earthy feel that I think is missing from his studio work, possibly because it's harder for a producer to get their slimy hands all over the music on a live session.
Mayer's lyrics are several notches above the teeny mulch churned out by Britney et. al. His lyrics are thoughtful, poetic, innocent and at times, quite deep ( how come everything I think I need / Always comes with batteries? something's missing / and I don't know how to fix it ). One reviewer placed JM in the Dave Matthews camp. While not as musically versatile as DMB, JM has lyrics that are of the same level of thoughtfulness and depth, though not as consistently as DMB.
The recording quality is excellent. Very good imaging of the stage: the instruments have spatial presence in the recording and each has a proper and clear voice in the overall mix.
The single detracting feature of this disc set are the screaming girls. Jeez! You really have to focus on tuning them out but occasionally, they scream at wholly inappropriate times or for some inexplicable reason, the engineer boosts them in the mix and they just ruin the moment. What the engineer was thinking when they mixed this set is beyond me. Want to show that john is dreamy and the chicks dig him? Fine. Show pictures of swooning girls in the liner notes. Include a DVD with cuts to starry-eyed girls as JM plays. But man! Leave them out of the mix. Plech. ~ David E. Reynolds
I watched this concert on DVD for the second time last weekend. John has come a long way since this 2002 recording, but even back then he was already a superstar. I've seen him live in concert only once ( can't wait to again, just got tix for his 2007 tour ), but this gives you an alternative concert fix, for sure! Guaranteed to bring you out of a depressive funk!
I don't "get" the folks who thought the chicks screaming was a major distraction and ruined the CD... it's a concert... duh... the whooping only serves to convey the excitement and high energy that was present that evening. I'm on the cusp of 50, and even I scream and swoon when he walks on stage ( or does anything else, for that matter ). I'm not saying it made the music more enjoyable, per se, but it didn't bother me one bit or detract from the music in a major way.
Also, I don't get the folks ( usually the same ones who can't get past the screaming ) who think John has no talent, or can't sing, or can't write lyrics. The way I see it, hasn't even hit 30 yet, and he's already destined to be up on the pedestal with Clapton, Stevie Ray, Sting, BB King, and Hendrix with his guitar prowess. I can't wait for all the stuff he's going to put out over the next thirty years! ( yeah, I plan to keep rockin' out to him until I'm 80 or so! ) I love his voice too, and his looks, and I think his lyrics are just incredible... they demonstrate that he is highly intelligent and mature way beyond his years. The guys out there who think his lyrics are "stupid," "shallow," "meaningless," "vapid," or whatever else.. obviously don't understand the way chicks think, what they want in relationships, or what turns them on... and John gets it. I, for one, am thanking God for sending us all those aforementioned talents in one package!!
If you really want to see him at his best ( 2002 ) playing... fast forward to him making love to his guitar on "Covered in Rain." If the CD version doesn't convince you, watch it on DVD. He does excellent work throughout the concert, but this song in particular is outstanding. The DVD version is better though... John sits down close to the audience and just rocks out. I also loved his version of Sting's "Message in a Bottle" and old standbys "City Love" and "83." Also for the first time this weekend, I watched the "Bonus" tracks on the DVD, including "Any Given Soundcheck" and an intimate interview with John in his hotel room the morning after the concert, bed-head and all. He provides awesome insights into his songwriting inspirations and on-stage antics ... He is one great songwriter, and has a great sense of humor too... if you haven't checked out his web site, go to it and read his weekly blogs. Hilarious! If I could meet any star alive today, it would be John C. Mayer... anyone know what the "C" stands for? Post a comment if you do... ~ Bunkster Brown
John Mayer - Any Given Thursday [Live In Birmingham] Disk 2
01 Why Georgia
02 Your Body Is A Wonderland
03 My Stupid Mouth
04 Covered In Rain
05 83 Medley