Jason Mraz and Raining Jane joined Wavy Gravy at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco last weekend for a benefit concert hosted by Seva, a non-profit foundation that partners with groups worldwide to create self-sustaining programs that preserve and restore sight.
Not a bad mission, right?
I only found out about this show from a Facebook ad. It was never listed on Jason’s website, tour schedule or anywhere else. I was actually a little nervous that the whole thing was a scam and they were using his photo and name to promote a show and he might not actually be there. But there he was.
Along with being a benefit, this was also a birthday party, which made for the strangest freaking show I’ve ever been to. I had a balcony seat at the Hall, which was just a chair put alongside the balcony. I purchased a seat because I assumed the general admission tickets would be standing room on the floor, like the other shows I’ve been to at this place, and it’s just too hard being a short chick in a crowd. But instead the floor was full of small tables, where I guess people had dinner for the birthday guy, Larry, before the concert. So I don’t know where the general admission people were, maybe hanging out in back by the bar?
The weird part was that because most of these people were here for the party, I don’t think they were all that interested in Mraz. Or even knew who he was. The average age on the floor was maybe 60, and a good number of them left before Jason and Jane even got on stage. A few more left during his show, and some of those who stayed were just walking around, standing in groups talking and laughing and not really paying attention to him at all.
It was like being at a wedding where no one likes the band who’s playing. Except for those of us in the balcony who actually came to see Jason, of course.
So the show started with Jason signing Happy Birthday to some guy named Larry and all of us upstairs were saying, “Who? Is this some rich guy who hired Jason for the night? What’s going on down there? Is this not just a concert?”
Luckily Jason enlightened us during the show, explaining how he met Larry Brilliant on the trip he and Mona took to Antarctica last year. You know, the one that Al Gore invited him on. This one. He was inspired by the work Larry was doing (as was Time magazine, who named him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world) and was already familiar with Seva because his manager used to make donations in Mraz’ name to Seva on gift-giving occasions.
Ok, so now it’s all making a little more sense.
Mraz for his part put on a fantastic, if low-key, show. He didn’t seem to mind that some of these people had no idea who he was, even commenting at one point, “This is a new song, although they might all be new to some of you.” And Wavy Gravy seemed to really enjoy the whole thing, so that was lovely.
Here’s what all got played (I marked songs that haven’t been on an album yet as “NEW”, although they did get played on the last little Jason and Jane tour, so they might not be new to you anymore):
- Happy Birthday, but not the regular version – a totally new Mrazy song
- NEW – When You Love Someone
- Give Me Love, Give Me Peace on Earth (a George Harrison cover – thanks to the comment below for pointing this out)
- 93 Million Miles
- Only Human (with sitar intro)
- Ripple (Grateful Dead song with Dead guitarist Bob Weir joining Mraz on stage)
- I’m Yours -> Three Little Birds
- NEW – Back to the Earth
- Frank D. Fixer
- NEW – Three Little Things
- You Can Rely On Me
- Lucky, with all four Janes and the Guns and Roses “Sweet Child o’Mine” guitar solo, the one that Jason says is the only classic guitar riff he knows
- The Woman I Love
- Amazing Grace -> I Won’t Give Up
Also during the show, Jason said he had an album coming out in a couple of weeks. Whaaa?