It’s hard to believe, but I won yet ANOTHER set of exclusive John Mayer tickets. How is this happening? Why is this happening? What does it all mean? Does he have a friend like Tiger’s who hand-picks girls for him (OH MY GOD, TIGER!)? Does he have a thing for brunettes who look like they shop at J. Crew and Anthropologie? Judging by his audiences, I’d say that there must be someone on his staff who does. I know it’s becoming John Mayer central up in here, but I promise that this is the last of him for a long time . . . unless I win more, in which case, shut up, this is my site, a-hole!
If you’re really sick of him, you can scroll down towards the end where I talk about my sister and I almost appearing on an episode of Law & Order: SVU.
I’d like to first of all thank Wendy for keeping me updated and always re-tweeting these contests. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t find out about these things as quickly as I have, and I think that the rapid speed in which I have entered has been a big advantage. I also think that actually living in NYC (where these shows are taking place) has a lot to do with it. Sure, many people all over the country probably enter, but what is the likelihood of someone from hundreds or thousands of miles away actually showing up, especially on such short notice? I’m here, I’m obsessed, and I have nothing better to do, so they can count on me.
This was a taping of VH1’s Storytellers, where the musicians play their big hits and then tell the story behind them. It was taped at Steiner Studios, which is in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and is conveniently located by, oh, right, um, NOTHING ELSE. My sister, Brighid, came up from Maryland just to go to the show, and as soon as she got into town we took the bus to take the subway to take a taxi to this studio in the middle of nowhere Brooklyn. I should also mention that it was 12 degrees . . . with the wind chill, but still, BUTT-COLD. After about an hour of travel time we got there with time to . . . wait two hours until the show began. Where that time went I will never know, but thankfully it didn’t seem horrifically long.
John Mayer’s music is pretty honest and straightforward, so I wasn’t really expecting any hugely revealing stories, but he did surprise me here and there.
The first song he played was “Comfortable”, which he wrote and first recorded with a friend as a freshman at the Berklee School of Music. One thing I love about his music is that it’s so “in the moment” – I remember hearing this song for the first time when I was 18, and I thought it was so beautiful, so sweet, and that it captured everything that I thought love was supposed to be. Eight years later, I’ve grown out of it and never play it, but when he sang it . . . it was as if I was that sad 18 year old girl again, having never been in love, never been in a real relationship, and just wanting someone to accept me as I am, “grey sweatpants, no makeup, so perfect”. It was so innocent I could have cried. I hope I always feel that way whenever I hear it, even if I know now that that’s only a small part of love.
As much as I enjoyed the performance, I was really surprised that he opened with such a slow, melancholy song. He continued with his big hits (“No Such Thing”, “Bigger Than My Body”, etc.) and for some reason I wasn’t really feeling it. I certainly wasn’t thinking “this sucks” in any way at all, but I wasn’t singing along, I wasn’t dancing . . . something was off, but it wasn’t so obvious that I could place what it was. After an audience Q&A session he took a 5 minute break, and when he came back, he told us that they were having some sound issues, and compared the earlier performances to an NBA player shooting bricks. He was really frustrated and disappointed, and decided that he was going to redo some of the songs. He made a few allusions to the fact that he was really nervous and “inside his head”, and that he decided to have a drink backstage.
Well whatever he drank, it worked, because he then played “Heartbreak Warfare”, one of his new songs, and it was as if someone flipped the switch to “on”. At that moment everything changed. He should open EVERY show with that song. You could tell he was comfortable, happy, and ready to jam, and so the audience was too. When he replayed “No Such Thing”, etc. it was like they were new songs, and I remembered why I love them. I was singing, dancing, and at one point he tried to get everyone to jump up and down, but I think I was the only one who did. We were close, and so he could see me. He looked at me and smiled, almost laughed. That was awesome. He didn’t sing my favorite songs, like “Stop This Train” and “Wheel” and “I’m Gonna Find Another You”, but he did play a few lines of “The Heart of Life”, and that was good enough for me. Pain throws your heart to the ground, love turns the whole thing around – no, it won’t all go the way it should, but I know the heart of life is good. I’ve adopted it as my personal mantra.
I know that this is very Ed Grimley of me to say, but I think that part of the reason that I relate so much to John Mayer’s music is that we have very similar personalities. He talked about how he would love nothing more than to be the mysterious guy, the cool guy who only speaks when spoken to, but he just can’t help opening his stupid mouth, and that Twitter and Facebook only exacerbate the problem. I clearly suffer the same dilemma. He also talked about his fear of coming across as a “sarcastic ass” when really his intentions are always to just be amusing or funny. Hi, here, me too. Oops.
I have a strong sense of self, but at the same time I’m insecure – something kind of like, “I am so sure of who I am that I know I can’t change it, so I’m insecure that people won’t accept or like what is unchangeable about me”. From what he expressed last night, it sounds like he shares the same feeling.
. . . unlike my sister who asked one of the staffers at the show if we could have our seats changed to something better AND went up to John’s producers after the show and said, “oh, hi, I have a message for John, could you give it to him for me?” HA.
They were actually really cool and obliged to play mailman (WHY HAVEN’T I LEARNED TO BRING MY RESUME TO THESE THINGS?!?! WHAT THE?!). During the concert, Brighid and I (being the Beatles freaks that we are) came up with the idea that John should cover “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road”. Much to my shock, the producers actually looked intrigued and impressed and wanted to know what else we thought he should sing. We chatted for awhile and had fun, but what we really should have done was asked them to give us a ride home because OH MY GOD WE FORGOT WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.
Ok, so now the already Arctic temperature has dropped significantly, and we’re like “oh shit, there aren’t any cabs”. When there aren’t any cabs, my strategy is to just start walking in the direction of my destination, thinking that eventually a cab will come by. So we did, underneath the BQE, in the dark, which is breeding ground for thuggish trolls, just like in the fairytale. Ok, so we’re walking, we’re not seeing any cabs, and lo-and-behold, we enter the projects. Number one, I’m NOT the kind of white girl that throws around the word “ghetto”, like “oh my god, you drink Powerade and NOT Vitamin Water, that is sooooooooo ghetto!!!!!!!” or “ew! Aspen Hill is like, soooo ghetto!” No. When I mean “ghetto” or the projects I mean, we were in the PEE JAYS projects.
So there we were, two cutesy little girls in our cutesy little outfits, Brighid in her Juicy Couture puffy coat, adorable little hat and ballet flats, I in my urban cowboy boots and decidedly destructed jeans, with looks on our faces as though we’d, um, just come from a John Mayer concert, walking around looking at the GPS on my iPhone. Um, hello, rape us much?
I could just imagine the episode of SVU: “two girls found raped and murdered near the Brooklyn Navy Yard under the BQE.” “What were two white girls doing in the Brooklyn Navy Yard at midnight?” <click> Everyone would think we were part of a high-end prostitution ring, would blame my boyfriend John for being our pimp, and then arrest him, my parents inevitably turning on him. <click> And then in the last four minutes it would be revealed that the two record producers saw us, offered us a ride, took us to a party with John Mayer who proceeded to reject us and toss us back onto his producers, one of which became angry at always getting John’s 3rd rate leftovers and decided to take it out on us.
But we pressed on, dodging a one-legged woman in a wheelchair, cats, and all sorts of other characters. Meanwhile, my phone was down to 10% juice, and John (my John, unfortch) was yelling at me over the phone for being so stupid and how my parents would certainly blame him if anything was to happen to not only one but TWO of their daughters. Clearly I had to hang up on him – the GPS was OBVIOUSLY A LOT MORE HELPFUL. We finally made it to the Manhattan Bridge, and our tall, dark, and handsome savior was a Pakistani cabbie.
Ok, maybe he wasn’t tall or conventionally handsome, but one out of three ain’t bad, and more importantly, he was on duty.
So in the end we made it home alive, John had ordered us pizza, and we got to dissect and rehash and laugh about every moment of the night. Worth every nerve-wracking, cold second!