Two hours before I was due to see Jason Mraz at the O2 Arena it suddenly struck me that I was going alone to a gig that would be absolutely full of couples which, quite frankly, is my idea of torture. When I arrived my fears were confirmed when I ended up sat between two canoodling couples in a sea of couples. And unfortunately, that set the tone for the entire evening.
As Jason took to the stage with his myriad of backing musicians (guitarists, violinist, drummer, percussionist, trumpeters and a saxophonist all in attendance) he quickly had people on their feet through his fast-paced medley of ‘Make It Mine’, ‘Live High’ and ‘Butterfly’ from We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. Rarity ‘0% Interest’ also made a brief appearance, much to the enthusiasm of some of the more well-versed Jason Mraz fans (myself included). Such an introduction to the show seemed to baffle most of the couples in the audience who had obviously neglected to think that Jason Mraz’s back-catalogue contained more than just love songs.
Unfortunately the delve into his non-love song back catalogue was short lived. The majority of the material was drawn from Mraz’s latest and more successful albums—which lead to an overwhelming proportion of romantic songs. ‘The Woman I Love’ saw a proposal that was broadcast to the entire audience which melted the audience’s hearts. ‘You and I Both’ was beautiful as a Jason Mraz solo acoustic number, showcasing him at his best as a musician—as not only were his vocals pitch perfect, but he had a natural stage presence that made it thoroughly hypnotic to watch.
Throughout the show Jason Mraz made it emphatically clear that his whole aim was to make the audience feel the atmosphere of love and to get them to have a special, loving moment with the people they had come with. As lovely a sentiment as this was—for any audience members that were alone, it just ended up coming across awkward; especially when Mraz briefly covered Bob Marley’s ‘Three Birds’ and told the crowd to sing to the person they came with.
This was not the only cover of the evening as Mraz also bravely attempted ‘Fly Me To The Moon’ which felt a little awkward in his vocal tone. However his version of George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ was a surprising moment of brilliance. Half-naked saxophonist Sergio Flores walked through the crowd whilst Jason climbed over the barrier to serenade those fans at the front that had paid for the premium seats (the profits of which went to charity). It was during this song I got the taste of what I had wanted from a Jason Mraz show… fun with a serving of some emotion on the side.
Personal favourite of the night had to be ‘You Fckn Did It’ because it showcased Jason’s fast singing skills alongside his smarter songwriting. The full band acoustic of ‘I’m Coming Over’ was also a nice touch which I enjoyed more than I would’ve expected.
Overall this gig showed flickers of promise but unfortunately the majority of it was aimed at the couples; leaving some of us out in the cold. Equally a setlist that showed hardly any nods to his first 2 albums meant I left feeling more dissatisfied than loved.