Jason Mraz at the Pearl, Las Vegas, May 9, 2009: Concert Review

It was incredible. Just, incredible. *Hint, hint*

Got to the Pearl a little after 11:00 last night. It’s a really nice venue, not too big, so every seat in the house has a good view, from what I could tell. They even have drink holders/foot rests, which I appreciated.

The Pearl Theater

The Pearl Theater

The show started promptly at midnight, but not in a way I expected. When the lights dimmed and someone came out to do introductions, it wasn’t Jason. It was Bushwalla. Woo hoo! I was really hoping he’d launch into “Psycho Killer”, but no such luck.

Instead, he started to talk about the man coming to the stage, how he was voted most entertaining college of the year (“stop, switch that around”) and his mother voted him most attractive man in the world two years in a row or something, just general goofy stuff, but that didn’t sound anything like James Morrison. But he wasn’t introducing James Morrison.

He was introducing Justin Kredible.

Ha! Already we had a good idea that this show was going to be a little different. At least, I haven’t heard that these two have been traveling with Jason for this past tour, so I’m guessing it was a “Hey, you should come hang out in Vegas with me” thing.

Justin levitated the Music, Magic, Makepeace table and did his balloon sword swallowing, and then we finally got us some James Morrison.

All you need to know about James Morrison is that he’s phenomenal, and his act provides a crazy juxtaposition with Jason’s. Jason shares the stage. He can make even a large crowd feel like they’re hanging out in his living room. He doesn’t need to control the room, he just sort of musically cuddles with it.

James Morrison though could have a big sign behind him screaming, “I’m a fucking rock star, bitch!” I mean, he comes across very likable and charming, but he gives off an insane amount of energy, prowling back and forth, dropping to his knees, never letting up for a second, thrashing and flinging attitude (and a good amount of sweat) all over the room.

Last year, talking about Bushwalla I said:
Bushwalla took over the stage. I don’t just mean he took his turn, I mean he took the stage over his knee and he owned that bitch.”

And that’s James Morrison too.  Just sit back and let him do what he wants with you. Here’s his set list:

1. The Only Night
2. Under the Influence
3. You Give Me Something
4. Broken Strings
, with Beverly Brown (I think)
5. If You Don’t Wanna Love Me
6. Precious Love
7. Nothing Ever Hurt Like You -> Uptight
(This one got going so fast and so intense I thought he might explode. Phenomenal.)
8. Wonderful World

James left the stage around 12:45, but I really didn’t want him to stop playing. It was my first time seeing him live and he absolutely left me wanting more. At least we have YouTube.

About half an hour later, Bushwalla and Justin Kredible came back out to do a little more magic (the bowling ball trick) and introduce Jason. Again I was hoping for some Bushwalla tunes, maybe “Creatures in the Yard” or “Acoustic Rhymer”, but no joy. Instead, it went like this:

1. Fun, Fun Fun/I Want to Thank You (? – Anyone have a better title for this?) – First time I’ve heard this live. A really good, energetic way to kick off a show.
2. No Doubling Back – I love to hear the oldies that none of the new “I’m Yours” fans know.
3. Remedy -> Geek in the Pink
4. Anything You Want? Love, Love, Love?– Ashamed to say I don’t know the name of this one. It was sort of a reggae thing, but I have no idea if it’s a cover or one of his own. Please don’t think less of me.
5. Live High, with three of the ladies from Voices of Prayze in San Diego – More special guests!
6. Details in the Fabric– This is the song I was most looking forward to, since James Morrison was there to do his part, but it was a little disappointing, probably more for Jason than anyone else. At the beginning of the song he did a little rhyming about traveling around and getting messages from people while he’s on the road. Then he held up a walkie talkie. Knowing that Bushwalla was also in the house, it was safe to assume that he was on the other end, doing the answering machine message.

Unfortunately, the walkies didn’t want to talkie, so the very cool, mellow intro was broken up by feedback and silence and technical difficulties. Bushwalla came out on the stage after a while and got a few words in, but when Jason launched into the song he seemed a little annoyed? Thrown off? Disappointed? James did come out for his bit, but it was like the momentum was all off, so it was good, but not as stellar as I imagined it. (Again, at least we still have the YouTube versions.)

I was hoping James would have stayed out to do another song or two with Jason, but that was it for him.
7. Unfold – With an extra long Dave Matthews-style jam in the middle so each musician could have the spotlight for a bit.
8. Beautiful Mess
9. Lucky – Jason started strumming this one, then said what a very lucky man he was… and Colbie Caillat walked out. I’m not a huge fan, but it was very, very cool to see them perform together. She’s very tall.
10. Make It Mine
11. Dynamo of Volition
12. I’m Yours – No sing along or “Three Little Birds” here. Just ended the song in the normal place.
Musical Intermission as Jason left the stage for a few minutes and the rest of the band kept playing a Miami Sound Machine sort of tune.
13. Plane – Finally! Jason and Toca played this one the way I first heard it: intimate, stripped down, almost haunting. I never really got the Mr. A-Z version with the sweeping orchestra behind it. This song made the whole show for me.
14. All Night Long – So good. An oldie, but still a lot of fun, played with the same kind of fun and joy we got on the last tour with “Build Me Up Buttercup”.
15. Fall Through Glass – Thank you! You can’t show us a Bushwalla in Act 1 and not have him go off in Act 3. They even did the freeze frame at the end, although wihtout J Kreds and the Polaroids.
16. Butterfly – Made even better by having Bushwalla and Tricia, Jason’s Joyologist, (at least I think it was her) hoola hooped through the whole song. Their stamina was very impressive. I could see Justin at the side of stage dancing his ass off as well.

Show finished around 3:00 a.m. and I finally got a cab around 3:45. And now I’m at the airport with just three hours of sleep for the night and ready for some lunch.

I’ll remember where the love was found,


7 responses to “Jason Mraz at the Pearl, Las Vegas, May 9, 2009: Concert Review

  • Stephen

    Duuuude, I still love the “Lestat’s” version of “Plane” the best. (I think that’s the one you were talking about, right?)

  • Jessi

    How does the 4th song of the set go? I can’t remember how it goes but I loved it.Thank you

  • Maureen

    This show was so freaking fantastic and I loved every moment of it, tiny technical snafu included. Jason seems so chill that he rolled with the punches beautifully. Loved his duet with James, even without the “ocean of diarrhea” reference…he he. The set list was fabulous and “Plane” was probably my fave jam. Hell, it’s hard to choose a fave, it was all so damn good. When Jason threw his fedora into the crowd (was it a dude who caught it?), I was glad everyone was screaming loud enough to drown out the sound of my heart breaking. Le sigh:(
    Being in love seems to agree with Jason (lucky woman, whoever she is!) and I’m happy for him and also think Tricia, his ‘joyologist’ has done wonders for him on this tour because he seemed healthy, well-rested and chock-full of energy as well. His attitude of gratitude inspires me. This man is such a beautiful human being and his music nourishes my soul in a way I simply cannot describe accurately! Luuuurve him to def 🙂

  • audmraz

    wooooww, thanks for the ‘report’! I am sure it was AWESOME 🙂

  • curbsideprophecies

    @Steve – Actually, I think the first time I heard “Plane” was during the Curbside Prophets tour when Mraz played U.C. Berkeley. It was just him, no Toca, and I remember getting chills because the song was so intimate and intense. The last couple of times I’ve heard it he’s played with the band, or at least with Toca, and it’s just not the same.

  • epolapol

    thanks for sharing Lisa! wish I was there too… 😉

  • Maureen

    Newsflash……Jason to perform on “American Idol” finale next Wednesday! Can’t wait!

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