Words by Lisa Pikaard, Photos by Saidy Lopez
Jason Mraz with Raining Jane at the NJPAC in Newark, NJ
Jason Mraz’s tour rolled into New Jersey with three quarters of the girl folk band, Raining Jane on Sunday, February 22nd. The fourth member, the cellist, Mai Bloomfield, unfortunately had a family emergency and missed the show. Despite missing a person, the show was extremely well-rounded and balanced.
Raining Jane took the stage and performed two of their own songs to warm up the crowd before Mraz took the stage with them. There was no opening band so the audience really got their money’s worth. Raining Jane dominated the stage from the first note plucked on the powerful baseline but really won the crowd over when they began storytelling. Keyboardist/vocalist/guitarist Chaska Potter, told a story about how she had her heart broken and was sad for two years. She then got sick of her sad self and wrote this song, “Enough.” The band was very funny and Chaska said the song is for someone you’d never like to think of again and she’s sorry she brought them up. Mona, the drummer, then said the song goes out to penis wrinkle. What a story to start the show.
Jason Mraz took to the stage to perform and opened with “Love Someone.” It was a great easy listening vibe that morphed into a great three song mash up of his songs old and new.
After that Mraz gave us insight into his writing process and explained a writing exercise he does in which people give him a phrase for the week and he has to write a song using it. He got the phrase “blind man’s bike” and said he needed a new phrase. His next phrase wasn’t much more forgiving, “volition is a dynamo.” That was one heck of a song. Mraz is a comedian, singer, guitarist, avocado farmer, dance enthusiast and writer. He’s a nut and one hell of a weird good time. The show managed to integrate a mandolin, a kid piano, and a sitar!
Speaking of Mraz’s storytelling ability, he later in the show spoke of writers block and said when you have it, write about having it. That’s how he ended up writing “Mr. Curiosity” which he promptly belted out; if anyone had ANY doubts about his talent, him and his piano instantly dispelled them.
After a brief intermission Jason Mraz welcomed himself back to the stage, took us through fun songs like “You Fckn Did It,” old songs like “After an Afternoon” and one or two hits like “I’m Yours.”
This man puts on a complete and completely odd show. It’s mellow but leaves Mraz fans completely satisfied, even fans like me who greatly miss the days of when it was just the dynamic duo of Mraz and Toca!
Jason Mraz Set List:
The Dynamo of Volition
A Beautiful Mess
Hello You Beautiful Thing
Make it Mine
Frank D. Fixer
Bottom of the Sea
After an Afternoon
You Fkn Did It
I’ll Be There
I Won’t Give Up
It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday