Jason Mraz kicked off his 5-borough NYC tour yesterday at 2,400 seat Walt Whitman Theater at Brooklyn College last night and I had the fortune to have been able to attend.
After hearing that he would be playing a show so close to home, I knew that I had to be a part of this experience. Jason Mraz has taken up a New York City residency to go on a tour around the 5-boroughs (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, and yes, even Staten Island), the only mainstream artist after the Beastie Boys and David Bowie, to have done such a thing. While many artists usually focus their attentions solely on Manhattan and now even Brooklyn due to the opening of the Barclays Center, it is absolutely refreshing to see when a bigger name decides to bring it down a few notches and be able to connect with the audience once again.
Compared to my last concert-going experience with Panic! at the Disco, in which my sister and I were sandwiched between the front barricade and the rest of the hot, sweaty crowd for no less than 5 hours, this was absolutely one of the most mellow and calm live show experiences of my life. Raining Jane, the 4-piece girl group that he collaborated with for his latest album, Yes!, opened the show and when he finally joined them on stage, he began by playing his latest single “Love Someone”. As soon as he did, I wanted to jump up and dance like I normally do at concerts, but taking a quick scan around the crowd I realized that I’d be alone in this venture and ultimately had to keep my penchant to groove well contained for the remainder of the show.
It was an absolutely awesome show in which you could just about feel the positivity radiating from the stage. Jason’s voice is second to none and his outlook on life seems to be sprinkled with love and maybe even just a little fairy dust (I’ll take some, please!) You just know that even if you spent just a little time with him you’d leave feeling as though this world isn’t such a bad place.
Prior to the show Jason & Co. made a stop at La Casita Verde, a community garden in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to help build new furniture and garden. This is obviously one of his passions as he often sings about it and even stated that if he weren’t a singer he’d be a landscaper (they even sold packets of seeds, reusable tote bags, and aluminum water bottles at the merchandise booth!) He and Raining Jane have a chemistry and camaraderie that is palpable and their witty banter is adorable, as Raining Jane percussionist, Mona Tavakoli made evident as Jason began singing “3 Little Things” whose lyrics go:
There are three things I do when my life falls apart
Number one I cry my eyes out and dry up my heart
Not until I do this will my new life start
So that’s the first thing that I do when my life falls apart.
And she interrupted him to say something along the lines of, “Suck it up you little bitch,” in the nicest way possible, I assure you!
I enjoy artists who are able to reach a broad range of listeners and it was clearly evident that Jason is one of these. Looking around the theater you could see people of all ages, races, and religions coming together for a common purpose, which would feel like such an accomplishment if I were also a performer.
He may be known for his little ditties like “Lucky”, but has proven that he more than just being a musician, he is also a humanitarian, an environmentalist, and someone who wants to make this world a better place one song at a time. For someone who has sold over 7 million albums, won two Grammys, and traveled all over the world to perform, it is such a humbling and appreciative feeling when they give back to the fans and Mona even remembered my sister after having had met her at the TODAY Show!
What would the music world look like without Jason Mraz’s music? Perhaps a little more glum, but in any case, I’m just glad that his music is around to remind us to slow down, live in the moment, and enjoy life because it’s way too short to waste.