John Mayer was back Friday night with a hometown concert at Hartford’s Comcast Theatre… that is, assuming a 75 minute drive can still count as ‘hometown.’
“I was born in Bridgeport, raised in Fairfield,” Mayer said at one point, standing before rustic, rocky mountain props on the stage with a clear and starry sky projected behind him. “Every year I say something up here on stage to try and prove I’m from here.”
The whole atmosphere painted was one of the American west, suited for the more rustic themed “Paradise Valley,” his album set for release this coming Tuesday, than “Born & Raised,” on which he was still technically touring. Mayer just wanted to bring the audience along for a road trip.
The singer-songwriter was forced to take a break from performing last year because of a serious vocal chord injury. Recovery included botox injections that left him unable to even speak, and hence the year-long postponement of the Born & Raised tour.
Mayer took advantage of the timing to play a few songs on the forthcoming album, which is already streaming free on iTunes. Singles “Paper Doll” and “Wildfire” made appearances, as did “Dear Marie” and “Waitin On The Day.”
Most songs stuck within a comfortable vocal range for Mayer, who showed very few if any signs of exertion. It was an acoustic cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin” proved to be the vocal standout of the set. Mayer hit and held a high octave note during the final chorus, showing the extent of the singer’s vocal recovery.
A few more covers were dropped in the set, including Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally” right out the gate and a rambly “Going Down The Road, Feeling Bad” accompanied on the big screen by roadtrip footage that truly brought home the concept of a midwest adventure.
Most of Mayer’s material from his roughly two hour set came from more recent releases, save for the ubiquitous “Your Body Is A Wonderland” and “83,” a deep cut more than a decade old.
The set closed with the sweeping “Slow Dancing In A Burning Room” that further showed off his guitar shredding skills, before Mayer returned for an encore of “Gravity.”