Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Gig Review - HMV Hammersmith Apollo - 5th March 2009

Jason Mraz

HMV Hammersmith Apollo

5th March 2009

It’s the tour that all ‘original’ fans begin to dread. The tour that fans fear will see the set list become inaudible because of some screaming nineteen-year old in the crowd behind them shouting the only lyric she knows. It’s the tour where tickets sell out faster than they’ve known because of the success of ‘that song’.

‘That song’ is of course, ‘I’m Yours’, and in the same way that Radio One’s repetition of ‘Sex on Fire’ left Kings of Leon’s long-standing fans feeling like a wife who’s husband suddenly starts getting a lot of female attention, Mraz’s fans seem to mourn the days of intimate gigs when he was their best kept secret.

Yet in Hammersmith, on this uncharacteristically pleasant Sunday evening in April, his audience, both new and long-standing, seem as ready to fall in love with him as ever as Jason starts off his ninety minute set with ‘Song for a Friend’ and intoxicatingly cheerful ‘Dynamo of Volition’.

Amongst a crowd of Jason-inspired-hat toting males, all of course craftily tilted to the side, the atmosphere exudes such adoration for Mraz that the walls seem to bow, or perhaps that’s the floor as a result of the full capacity of the standing area now involved in a mass dance routine to ‘Mary Jane’, choreographed by Jason himself with the hope it’ll continue on London’s streets after the Apollo’s doors have closed.

As soulful as he is charming, Mraz brings on support act, the adorable Norwegian, Marit Larson, to sing with him on ‘Lucky’ before a simplistic and beautiful rendition of ‘Beautiful Mess’ that sees even the audience members who had seemed more interested in watching the gig through the lens of their camera, stop in their tracks.

Jason’s super-band, Sensatious, elevate his second night in Hammersmith to the next level, quite literally during the brass solo of ‘Live High’ which sees the brass section serenade the standing audience from the seated area under spotlight. It is exactly moments like this that demonstrate Mraz’s effortless showmanship and embody what makes Jason so endearing to his his fans.

Bringing the show to a close with ‘Im Yours’, causing as much hysteria as suspected but ever-keen to accommodate for his devoted fans, Jason removes any monotony by turning it into a medley with ‘3 Little Birds’ and ‘Every Little Ending’, to compliment his number one hit. Mraz’s appreciation of his fans is a massively welcomed attribute and something of a seemingly dying out quality in modern music. It is also something further exemplified by the fact that the set list for Sunday’s sold out show is completely different to his previous night in the same venue.

Consequential to the audience’s relentless chanting, on returning to the stage for a four song encore, the band show off their instrumental prowess and the good mood radiates from the stage to the audience and back again. Typically light hearted and tongue-in-cheek, Jason treats his very bewildered but completely impressed audience to a soprano solo during ‘Mr Curiosity’, before ‘Tonight, Not Again’, ‘No Stopping Us’ and ‘Buh Buh Bye (You’ve Got It All)’.

Whilst the secret of Jason Mraz might be out to the possessive regret of some of his long-time fans, the world, or at least Hammersmith on this Sunday night, is undoubtedly a much better place for it.

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