In concert: Jack Johnson's melodic dose of serenity at Merriweather
By Dave McKenna
Jack Johnson wore long pants and sandals Saturday at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The wardrobe suits his music, a melodic dose of serenity that one might call Hawaiian reggae or neo-wimp rock.
Whatever it’s called, his stuff is huge right now. Johnson, a 35-year-old from Oahu, opened with “You and Your Heart,” a single from his latest CD, the top-selling “To the Sea,” and one of the tunes that helped draw one of the biggest crowds the venue had ever seen on a night that was too hot for hard rock. There wasn’t enough room on the compound for fans to do much more than sweat.
(Read the rest of this review and view more photos, after the jump)
Johnson isn’t about the sweaty. He’s all mellow. Johnson, the only full-time guitarist in the quartet, occasionally went the guitar-as-percussion-instrument route, tapping his knuckles on the body of his acoustic instrument between plucked riffs on “Never Know.” But for “Go On,” he strapped on a semi-hollow-body electric and did a slow, heavy-on-the-octaves solo.
Johnson enhanced his sensitive-male bona fides by looking to the side of the stage early in the show and saying, “I love you, Mom!” Nice or no, in large doses, a sameness permeates Johnson’s songbook. He broke up the monotony by throwing a big snippet from the Cars’ “Just What I Needed” into his “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing,” and covering Steve Miller’s “Space Cowboy.”
And he brought out guests. Dan Lebowitz, from opening act Animal Liberation Orchestra, added a fuzzy lap steel solo on “Flake.” Fellow 50th State native Paula Fuga joined for “Country Road,” a peace anthem. Surfing buddy G Love, boosted the energy level while blowing a bluesy harmonica throughout “Staple It Together.”
For an encore, Johnson had Lebowitz, Fuga, and Love onstage all at once for “Better Together,” with its chorus of “It’s always better when we’re together.” It was a sweet sendoff.
July 19, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories: In concert | Tags: Jack Johnson
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