Jason Mraz Leads Quirky Nature Walk at Radio City Music Hall: Concert Review
"'He's so positive, that's not real! Nobody's that happy!' But I wake up on the wrong side of the bed every afternoon"
"I'm really glad I woke up for this — this is great," said singer-songwriter (and notorious nap fan) Jason Mraz to a seated but pleased Radio City Music Hall audience on Monday night. "I am a snooze bar enthusiast. That is the bar I frequent the most!"
Wearing a white graphic tee and a gray fedora (of course), Mraz sprinkled plenty of quirky jokes throughout the first half of his set, during the first of two final nights on his New York City five-borough tour. He took the stage just steps away from the Atlantic Records office and with svp marketing executive Dane Venable in the audience, on his last night before retirement.
After opening act/supporting all-girl band Raining Jane kicked off the show, Mraz played his guitar backwards over his head, described the "raise the roof" dance move as resembling "carrying two pizzas" and led the audience through deep breathing exercises. "At the very least, you can say tonight's show was breathtaking," he smiled.
The personable pop musician also showcased his passions with a pair of rants. The first was a nod to optimism altogether: "People are like, 'He's so positive, that's not real! Nobody's that happy!' But I wake up on the wrong side of the bed every afternoon," he explained. "It's a practice to shift your attention to shift your attention back to your cheerful self, ... to make sure that you're living fully." The second was a tribute to organic farmers everywhere, as he shared photos of his garden and told everyone to "put your green thumbs in the air!" before an intermission, or what he called "an inner mission" to do some free-writing, arts and crafts or "forgive a lost loved one while at a concert you didn't invite them to."
Yet whether against a nearly dropped curtain or vivid visuals of ice, plants or space, Mraz' textured voice traveled well into the third mezzanine, bouncing off the hall's domed ceiling and back down to its pizza-carrying audience on the floor — especially during the show's second half, when he didn't speak to the audience at all. Raining Jane's rich instrumentation — including cello, double bass, hand and box drums, guitar, ukulele and sitar — elevated some of Mraz' hits, like a reverb-heavy "Lucky" duet and the self-empowerment anthem "I Won't Give Up," but Mraz went back to acoustic for his biggest crowd-pleasers, "You and I Both" and "I'm Yours."
The show's most heartwarming highlight was the screened footage of Mraz' trip to Antarctica as a performer for the Climate Reality Project. Mraz and Raining Jane played live to the music video, which showed them lip-syncing while kayaking alongside glaciers, penguins and elephant seals. Though the evening proved too laid-back for a handful of briefly napping ticket-holders, it wrapped with the audience unanimously proclaiming their loyalty to Mraz during his biggest hit, "I'm Yours," as he devoted himself right back.
The Dynamo Of Volition
Hello, You Beautiful Thing
I Won't Give Up
Make It Mine
The Woman I Love
A Beautiful Mess
Back to the Earth
Bottom of the Sea (Sail Away)
93 Million Miles
You and I Both
When We Die