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Jason Mraz: Life Is Good Set List and Review

OK GO rocks the bells.

Hello Mrazonites. I just got back to Boston from the Life is Good festival in Canton, MA (which should have been called the Life is Dusty festival based on the five pounds of dirt I brought back on my clothes and shoes).

My friends and I started the afternoon with OK GO on the second stage. I didn’t know much about them, other than that they were the treadmill guys, but they put on a really energetic show and completely won me over. I’m downloading their stuff on iTunes right now.

After that there was some time to kill, and since we didn’t know that Mraz was hanging out in the kids tent, we walked around until it was time for Guster.

How can life not be good when you're wearing a balloon dress or hat?

I’ve seen Guster perform once before, in the Tower Records that used to be on Newbury Street. I thought of them as a college band, mostly because I was in college when I saw them 12 or so years ago, so it’s great to see that they’re still making music, and the local crowd clealy adores them. I always love “The Airport Song”.

It was very chilly and a few drops of rain fell, but in the end the weather held out for us and nobody on stage had to worry about being electrocuted.

And speaking of the people on stage, where was Toca? I think the last time I saw Jason without Toca was the Curbside Prophets tour. Maybe he’s still on summer vacation. It’s just a little strange to see Jason play without any of his original band of merrymakers.

Here’s a quick rundown of Mraz’ set:

1. Dynamo of Volition
2. NEW SONG – “Freedom”, written after Hurricane Katrina by Luc & the Lovingtons. Jason said that he performs it to honor the people of New Orleans.
3. Make It Mine
4. Anything You Want/Love Love Love (That’s what I’ve been calling this one and no one has corrected me so far)
5. Coyotes

Jason Mraz lights up the Life is Good main stage.

– Small break while Jason eats cantaloupe and throws it into the audience where a guy catches it in his mouth. –
6. NEW SONG – Mother’s Out There (I think this is what Jason called it. It’s a song he wrote with Brett Dennen, who performed earlier in the day.)
7. Live High
8. NEW SONG – Life is Good (Again, I’m guessing at a title here. It could also be “The Thank You Song” based on the lyrics. It was beautiful, and every geek can relate.)
9. NEW SONG – I want to call this one “Gene Wilder” because Jason sings about him and the glass elevator, but it might also be “Going Up”.
10. Remedy (the reggae version he performed during the WSWDWST tour)
11. San Disco Reggaefornia (with dancers Joe the cantaloupe-catching guy and Katie from the audience)
12. Butterfly

Encore:
13. Lucky (with the ladies in the audience singing Colbie’s part and Jason singing the last verse in Spanish)
14. I’m Yours
15. All You Need is Love (yes, the Beatles song, but with more of a disco vibe) with some of the earlier acts joining him on stage

All in all a fun but dirty, dirty day. I don’t think I’m a festival girl. I think I’m a reserved seat girl. Still, it’s been at least a year since I saw Mraz, I think, so it was great to have a chance to see him live this year, and to get so much new material. For that, I am grateful.

Life is good,
Lisa

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2009: The Year in Jason Mraz

I did this last year, but it was easier then because I was writing more often and had more information to choose from. Still, there were definite highlights this year, so let’s take a quick look back at 2009.

January

Mraz on SNL
February

March

  • This time in 2008, Jason went to Africa and told us all about it. This time in 2009, I went to New Zealand and Australia and wrote a bit about it, including all the Mraz… soundings? (like a sighting, but aural instead of visual) I had.

April

  • I played a lame April Fool’s joke and said that I was going to turn this space into a Robert Pattinson fan site. No one bought it, but that post remains one of the most trafficked on here. Thanks, Twilighters.

May

June
Jason Mraz and lasers

July

  • Jason taught us about Freestyle Yoga, and I find it even harder to believe that they wouldn’t let him host SNL. I mean, musical guest is good and all, but he’s at least as funny as Justin Timberlake.

August

  • Jason was all over the place this summer. He toured, he was on TV, and the radio couldn’t get enough of him. This month he played The Today Show, the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco, and I got to see him at the Ironside Ampitheater in Murphys, a little town I didn’t even know existed until this show.
  • Also in August I heard some strange rumblings about the Cafe Gratitude. Let’s hope it’s not really as creepy as some former employees make it sound.

September

  • Jason broke the Billboard record when “I’m Yours” logged a chart-best 70th week, passing the 69-week stay of LeAnn Rimes’ “How Do I Live”. It stayed on for a total of 76 weeks.

October

November

  • Not only was Jason popular enough to perform on SNL earlier this year, apparently he became recognizable enough to be lampooned on SNL. Joseph Gordon Levitt did an excellent job of it.

mraz_holiday1December

Here’s hoping for more Mrazaliciousness in 2010. Whatever that is.

Lisa


Movie Review: Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince

harry_potter_half_blood_prince_poster7I’ve been neglecting my Mraz duties because I’ve been living in Potter land the last few weeks, rereading the books to get ready for the movie. I saw it at midnight, and here’s what I think, on three hours of sleep.

Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers! Spoilers!

Overall, I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I don’t know if it’s the best Potter movie yet, but it’s very good, and definitely the funniest one so far, which is odd as it should be the darkest one yet. Teenagers are funny though, so it feels natural.

A lot had to be left out, and I don’t mind that we don’t see much Quidditch, that Hagrid is almost invisible, that we never see Dobby or Kreatcher, that Tonks and Lupin are an established couple so she isn’t moping around all over, or that SPEW is non-existent.

I would have liked to see:

The Dursleys.I can see why they didn’t want to start yet another movie with Harry at Privet Drive, but I really, really wanted to see Dumbledore tell them off. Also, the new beginning makes it sound like Harry was running all over the place, free as a bird, instead of pent up in his room, desperate to leave and get back to the wizarding world.

Neville. Well, we see him a lot, but he only speaks once. After building up the D.A. in Order of the Phoenix, it would have been nice to see Harry interact with him a little more, especially since he’s an important player in book seven (and my favorite second-string character). Seamus and Dean are both around and Crabbe and Goyle are shown for a split-second on the Hogwarts Express, and it’s nice to see so many familiar faces.

More Fred and George. Just because I think they’re hot.

A little context for what Dumbledore shows Harry. In the book, Dumbledore makes it very clear to Harry that they are going through these memories because Harry has to understand Voldemort to be able to defeat him. In the film, Harry is just suddenly in Dumbledore’s office talking about memories, without any explanation. There are a lot of jumpy cuts in the film, where you feel like maybe you missed a scene. I think they should add another half hour of material in, see if that helps.

Um, big fight scene at the end? Maybe it was a time and budget issue, but I can’t believe they had the Death Eaters walk in, watch Dumbledore die, then walk out again. Where’s the Order? Harry doesn’t even tell Ron and Hermione that he’s leaving the school (although I saw that scene in a preview, so they must have cut it), much less to watch out for trouble. And if there’s no Bill in this one, then maybe no wedding in the next one? Or maybe a wedding, but without Bill all cut up.

Without the fight scene, there’s also no regrouping afterward where Harry tells the Order about Snape, and they all decide he’s guilty. No one asks Harry where he was, and no one tries to get him to talk about Dumbledore’s mission. Which reminds me…

harry_potter_half_blood_prince_poster4Rufus Scrimgeour. I didn’t need to see a lot of him, but the Christmas scene where he asks Harry to promote the Ministry would have been a nice way to remind us that Harry isn’t just fighting the bad guys, he’s also not to keen on the “good” guys. “I must not tell lies” and all that.

Dumbledore’s funeral.Again, time and budget probably got it cut, but to me, that was the really emotional part of the book, more than Dumbledore’s death scene. This is where Harry sees how many people have come to honor Dumbledore (and we see Ron and Hermione sort of together, and Harry is moved to see Luna and Neville support each other – the only two members of the D.A. to joint the fight) and resolves to continue his mission. He also has another chance to tell the Ministry to bite him.

The ending of the film was pretty lame. Harry tells Hermione what he’s going to do while Ron sits there, not talking. They should have at least finished with the three of them all together instead of Ron looking like a tourist in the scene.

So that’s the big stuff that was left out. And yet, they found time to add in totally new scenes. The oddest is one where the Burrow is attacked and burnt to the ground by Bellatrix and Fenrir. Huh? The Burrow is supposed to have all kinds of protections on it, for one thing. And what was the point? After it burns, it’s never mentioned again. Do they magic it back together? Where do Mr. and Mrs. Weasley go to live? Harry never expresses guilt for being the reason it happens, Ron never once mentions that his home was destroyed, it just happens and then is forgotten. Weird.

The new scenes with Harry and Ron talking about girls are pretty entertaining though, and give us a nice look at the kinds of chats they have during those times in the book when we just get something like, “weeks went by and the weather turned cold…”

What was most excellent were the Snape scenes. Alan Rickman is perfect (well, maybe a little too thoughtful – I don’t know if anyone could watch him and believe he’s evil) and even Michael Gambon got the death scene right.

Little Tom Riddle is ok, he was a little too bland, not as bratty and angry as I think he should be, but teenage Tom Riddle was awesome. He was confident and arrogant but also very charming and clever.

And finally, I think Rupert Grint should do more comedy. I heart him, big time.


Matti’s Jason Mraz Concert Review From France

I stole this awesome picture from Matti's blog. Go read it.

I stole this awesome picture from Matti's blog. Go read it.

Actually, Matti’s back from France now, so the review is really from Finland, I think, but I wanted to get “France” in the headline for search purposes. Wah ha ha.

Matti was lucky enough to see Jason *twice* in France, first in Paris then outside Toulouse. I’d be pretty happy to be in France for any reason (yeah, I know, I just got a three week vacation and have no right to be wishing for more vacation time already), but to be able to catch a couple of Mraz shows on top of that would be phenomenal.

Check out Matti’s reviews of the shows along with some clips from YouTube. Sounds like both shows were excellent, and it still astounds me that he has such a big following outside the U.S.

Le Bikini,
Lisa


Review: Mraz at the Berkeley Greek Theater, November 2, 2008

Here’s the set list. I just flew back from LA and will add more details after a good night of sleep.

1. Make it Mine
2. Remedy -> Wonderwall
3. If It Kills Me
4. Mary Jane (Rick James cover)
5. Life is Wonderful
6. A Beautiful Mess
7. Live High
8. Only Human
9. Dynamo of Volition
10. I’m Yours -> Three Little Birds
Encore
11. 1000 Things
12. Lucky (with Lisa Hannagan)
13. Build Me Up Buttercup
14. No Stopping Us -> Invisible Gum bit -> Copacabana/Toca Rivera
15. Butterfly

Update 11/4/08: Ok, I’m ready to type some more.

This was the third and final stop in my Mraz California Trifecta. His energy was still high and even though I was hearing some songs and banter and bits for the third time in three days, they still felt fresh. The intro to “If It Kills Me” made me laugh again, the choreography to “Dynamo” turned the Greek into a big party, and once again, although the skies looked ready to dump on us, Jason kept the wet away by saying his crowds never get rained on.

(Note: I do not really believe that Jason Mraz controls the weather, so please don’t write in with the real, scientific reasons behind precipitation. )

Other stuff that happened:

  • For the first time, I made it to the venue in time to see Two Spot Gobi. They have a fun sound and remind me of a college party band. Considering how young they look, it’s possible they were a college party band not that long ago. The singer has a sexy, gritty voice, and between songs he thanked everyone for being “a wicked audience”. I love English boys, their accents, their trainers, their accents, their slang, and their accents.
  • During Lisa Hannigan’s set, Mraz came out and stood on the side of the stage, singing along, practicing some dance moves and chatting with the stage crew. Considering how many times he’s been able to see her perform, I think it was nice that he seemed to really enjoy watching her.
  • Lisa Hannigan did a cover of “The Lady Is a Tramp”. I’m not sure if I liked it. It was different. I do like her tambourine on a stick.
  • Mraz described “If It Kills Me” as “oo-ku-lay-lay light rock” then went into some “oo-ku-lay-lay funk” with “Mary Jane”.
  • Could anybody else use his voice to duel with a saxaphone and not miss a note? Except for maybe that guy who makes all the funny sounds in the Police Academy movies, but he wouldn’t sound nearly as jazzy and musical doing it.
  • From where I was standing, close to the stage but off to the side, I had a pretty good view of what Jason can see from the stage. And when thousands of people are putting their hands in the air for you, all dancing and moving together, it looks pretty damn cool, so I can see why he does that every night.
  • As annoyed as I get at pushy, noisy, inconsiderate people  who chatter through a show, when thousands of people are singing “Every little thing’s gonna be alright” I can’t help but like the human race a little more, and feel a little better about us as a whole.
  • Jason made a quick request each night for people to vote no on Prop 8, and while every crowd responded enthusiastically, Berkeley went the craziest by far.

So, who’s going to be in Seattle?


Review: Mraz at the LA Greek Theatre, November 1, 2008

1. Make it Mine
2. Remedy -> Wonderwall
3. Clockwatching
4. Peg (Steely Dan cover)
5. If It Kills Me
6. Only Human
7. Bella Luna
8. A Beautiful Mess
9. Live High (with special guests, Voices of Prayze)
10 Oh Happy Day (with Voices of Prayze)
11. Dynamo of Volition
12. I’m Yours -> Three Little Birds
Encore
13. Lucky (with Lisa Hannigan)
14. No Stopping Us -> Invisible Gum bit -> Copacabana/Toca Rivera
15. Butterfly
16. Song for a Friend (with Voices of Prayze)

  • After the first song, Jason welcomed the “Freaks of the Greek” and took the risk of jinxing us by talking about the weather. It had poured in LA just a few hours earlier and the sky still looked ready to attack. A few drops fell during the first song, but Jason said that whenever they played a rainy festival in Europe this summer, the sun came out during their set. He said it was because they invited the kind of people who bring the sunshine with them, and that our “collective awesomeness” would keep the rain away. Sure enough, we stayed rain-free for the rest of the show.
  • Mraz looks and sounds incredibly polished this time around. Not that he doesn’t always put on a stellar show, but where the Music, Magic, Makepeace tour felt more like a bunch of friends just hanging out and doing whatever, this show feels a little more rehearsed. So it was great to see a goof, even if it was a small one: Jason dedicated a song to the moon, “wherever she is tonight”, indicating they were about to play “Bella Luna”, then stopped and said something like, “I’ve just been informed by my superband that we’re doing something else. That’s why they’re so super.”
  • I think this is one of the largest crowds I’ve ever been part of for a Mraz show, and he mentioned that people have told him they wish he could go back to playing small clubs. His reply: “Stop telling people. I didn’t do this, you guys did.” Yeah, I’m guilty of that. I love to get new Mraz recruits. It does bite me in the ass though when I can’t get good seats to a show without Craigslist, which I haven’t resorted to yet, but might have to soon.
  • Why do the lighting people think flashing the bright lights directly into the crowd at five second intervals is a good idea? Are they trying to cause seizures? Temporary blindness? Squint wrinkles?
  • The band’s name for the night: $20 Milkshake. I had a chocolate milkshake for lunch. Coincidence? Yeah.
  • The night before I was happy that Jason ended with “Butterfly”. The encore built up to a fun crescendo, with people dancing and singing and having a good time. It was an appropriate send-off for people who were headed to the Halloween parties and dances that sounded like they were going on all over the SDSU campus. In Boston, he built up the same kind of party mood, but then ended with “A Beautiful Mess”, which was pretty, but, you know, kind of a mood killer. This time, he said he had five more minutes to play and then launched into “Song for a Friend”. This could have been a downer, but because he had Voices of Praise backing him up, it turned into a really powerful, electric ending.
  • After the show, I was waiting for my friend, Anne, to get a shirt and saw a group of guys standing around the merch booth, looking like they were waiting for someone. They were cute, had perfect English accents, and turned out to be Two Spot Gobi. Had I made it to a show early enough to see them, I would have known that, but I didn’t. They chatted with a bunch of fans and sounded like very normal, polite, goofy guys. Lisa Hannigan was also around, signing autographs and taking photos with people. And walking out of the venue, I saw a Makepeace brother. At least, I’m 98% sure it was. I didn’t stop to ask him.

It’s you I love,
Lisa


Review: Mraz at San Diego State, October 31, 2008

Here’s the set list. I just flew back to SF and will add more details after a good night of sleep.

1. Make it Mine
2. Clockwatching
3. Peg (Steely Dan cover)
4. Music to Watch Girls By
5. If It Kills Me
6. Mary Jane (Rick James cover)
7. Remedy -> Wonderwall
8. Only Human
9. A Beautiful Mess
10. Bella Luna
11. Live High (with special guests, Voices of Prayze)
12. Oh Happy Day (with Voices of Prayze)
13. Dynamo of Volition
14. I’m Yours -> Three Little Birds
Encore
15. Lucky (with Lisa Hannagan)
16. Build Me Up Buttercup
17. No Stopping Us -> Invisible Gum bit -> Copacabana/Toca Rivera
18. Butterfly

Update 11/3/08: Ok, I’m ready to try and make sense of the notes I scribbled in the dark during the show.

  • Halloween show! Many people in the crowd were in costume, including one very tall man in a huge Donald Duck costume. I was a little disappointed that Jason didn’t show up in something wild, but he did comment on the costumes he saw, noting that people took advantage of the holiday to dress as anything naughty: naughty maid, naughty UPS driver, naughty meter reader, whatever.
  • Lisa Hannigan and her entire band did dress up as spiders, and she was adorable, waving all her arms around in a spidery way. I only got there in time to catch her last two songs, but she sounded as adorable as she looked with her Irish Bjork sound.
  • What’s with the Xbox commercials?
  • Love the pre-show, get-the-crowd-hyped-up, intro film of Mraz doing karaoke (Take On Me, Young Folk, Stand By Me, Bust a Move, In Bloom, Release Me). The pre-show stuff gets better every year, from the weird helicopter noises he had around 2003 to the time-lapse video of him standing on a street corner around 2004 (?), to the magic and mayhem he had earlier this year. Which reminds me…
  • I miss Bushwalla.
  • Having the nine women of the Voices of Prayze join him was a very cool treat. They’re based in San Diego and only did two shows with him that I know of (this one and LA the next night), and they added a sort of ecstatic, joyful mood to the songs they did. I imagine this is what the congregation in Jason’s mind sounds like all the time. It’s nice to get to share it with him.
  • Clockwatching. Hell yeah.
  • Ian Sheridan took off his pants. I’d like to just leave it at that, but you probably want more details. It was when the band came back for the encore. They were all wearing huge sombreros (is there any other kind?), and a few had bolero jackets as well. Ian had the hat and the jacket, and his tidy whities. That was it. It was either very brave of him, or the result of a Halloween bet. Good thing it was a warm evening.

What did I forget? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Buttercup, don’t break my heart,
Lisa