After almost a four-year hiatus from solo projects, John Mayer returned to his solo career with The Search for Everything: Wave One. The EP is his first in a unique album roll out for his fans to digest his new music in a new way. With the amount of music that gets released in a week, artists have to find new, creative ways to keeps music listeners engaged. While Mayer was busy with Dead and Company, a project with the four remaining living members of The Grateful Dead, many wondered when he would return with a new project. Given the free-form nature of the project as depicted in his interview with Rolling Stone, it was only right for The Search for Everything Tour to follow suit.
The Madison Square Garden show was broken up into chapters, and there was an air of introspection about it that prefaced the upcoming album, The Search for Everything. In his almost 16-year career, there are many collaborations and streams of musical consciousness that Mayer has given the world. For an artist who feels like a product of individually mixed influences from such artists like Albert King and Eric Clapton, while there was set list, there was still room for improvisation.
While the show brought about a younger crowd, its feel had a veteran tempo to it. As the first song played, “Moving On and Getting Over,” the mid-tempo groove that depicts Mayer moving past an old love displayed the intricacy of the relationship between musician and instrument. You not only went to see some favorites like “Waiting on the World to Change” and “Who Says”, but fans waited for every musical trail to which Mayer and his backing band went. In particular, “Helpless”, the second song in the set, had Mayer take a step back and get lost in within the guitar solo with every bend of the chords. Many spontaneous instances like this popped up sporadically throughout the night, which made the legendary MSG theater feel like you were in a smokey, tightly packed jazz hall.
In reference to the chapters, the show included an acoustic section, a homage to the John Mayer Trio featuring bassist Pino Palladino and drummer Steve Jordan, and a singular song which found Mayer alone with a piano. One of the most honorable things about Mayer is his affinity for his past influences. He played plenty of cover songs, too, including “Fire on the Mountain” (Grateful Dead), “Bold as Love” (Jimi Hendrix), and “Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty). For the Connecticut-born guitar virtuoso, there was something very New York about this show. Reflecting on the past and looking forward to the future, Mayer brought the corners of his career together in a setting where younger and older fans came together to experience both.