The Ironstone Amphitheater is in Murphys, CA, not too far from Yosemite. I grew up in the Bay Area, lived here most of my life, and had never heard of Murphys until this show came up. The drive was long and curvy, but worth it, as the venue was really cozy and beautiful.
This is probably the oldest crowd I’ve ever seen at a Jason Mraz concert. My guess is that a lot of locals get season’s tickets for the Ironstone and just see everyone who performs there, even if they don’t know who they are (there aren’t a whole lot of other music venues in the area, if you’re looking for live entertainment).
The Ironstone is also hosting Chris Isaak, Crosby, Stills & Nash and Lynyrd Skynyrd in the next few weeks, so you get the idea that this isn’t going to be like the crazy, energetic crowd that Jason gets at San Diego State, for example.
First up for the evening was Trevor Jackson, age 13. He did a quick tribute to Michael Jackson. Not bad, but I wouldn’t ask Simon Cowell for his opinion just yet.
Next up, Bushwalla! Not to perform, but to MC, and to let us know that the crowd reeked of sexy energy. It’s always good to see him, but I would have been happier if he’d belted out a few tunes before introducing Raphael Saadiq.
This is where I admit that I’d never heard of Raphael Saadiq before. I had no idea what to expect, and even after he was done, I still had trouble figuring him out. He started out his set with a doo wop vibe, him and his whole band in suits and ties and choreographed 60s dance moves.
But then the set got funkier, the jacket and tie came off, and at one point I thought they were going to dive into some metal, with headbanging and everything. Then he ended sounding like Smokey Robinson and Usher’s hybrid clone.
Overall, he was impressive and I enjoyed him. You can get a taste of Raphael with this clip of him at Outside Lands this weekend.
Ha! I just saw this on YouTube: “Raphael Saadiq rose to prominence in the late ’80’s/early ’90’s as the lead vocalist and bass player in r&b group TONY! TONI! TONE!” I didn’t know that. That’s awesome! I wonder if he ever performs “It Never Rains In Southern California”.
Bushwalla came out to introduce his best friend, the guy he met in New York 15 years ago, Jason Mraz. And clean-shaven, Paul McCartney-esque Jason did this:
1. Make it Mine – At the end of this, Jason welcomed us to “two hours from anywhere” and thanked those of us who made the commute. It really was out in the sticks.
2. Love Love Love / Anything You Want (or whatever it’s called)
3. Coyotes – Yes! I’ve never heard this live before and it was incredible, a real highlight of the evening.
4. Who Needs Shelter – I love when Jason gets old school. The only downside is that it made me want to hear “Galaxy” and “Running” and other older songs that he doesn’t do much anymore.
5. Love for a Child
6. Remedy – An updated, reggae version. Makes sense that after performing a song for so many years you do something different with it to keep it fresh.
7. Summer Breeze
8. Live High
9. Not So Usual
10. Dynamo of Volition
11. Beautiful Mess
12. I’m Yours -> Three Little Birds
13. Musical interlude from the Superband (dubbed Frog Jumping Jubilee tonight, in honor of the surrounding Calaveras County – read your Mark Twain), including a little “Charlie’s Angels” theme song
14. Fall Through Glass – With Bushwalla. Woo hoo! I just wish he’d hung out and done “Acoustic Rhymer” or another song too.
15. All Night Long