Jack Johnson @ Madison Square Garden

Let the chanting begin…. Jack…Jack…Jack…Jack…

I typically avoid the larger concert venues, having popped my concert cherry at Giants Stadium (N’SYNC thank you very much) and having been to Zootopia and Jingle Ball in high school.  And while living in New York I’ve for the most part avoided both Radio City Music Hall and Terminal 5 (Paolo Nutini you turned my heart upside down with your Scottish accent and rocker looks).  However I make exceptions for performers I love and whom I’ve been dying to see since 2001.  Jack Johnson – that would be you.

Save my abhorrence of the larger venues, MSG is a fairly good one – it has a decent sound system, and you can see from pretty much every single seat (except the blocked out ones in back of the stage).  And Jack did a lovely job of keeping the production low-key, like a boy from Hawaii should, especially one who’s built his career on the promise of a simple man with his guitar, strumming along to a bonfire sing-a-long or grooving in a small club.  The set was simple with a large curved projection screen that was grounded by wooden panels – which transitioned between film of waves and the beach, graphics from Jack’s albums and graphically treated black and white footage of the stage and performers.

Favorite moments:

Jack’s cover of The Joker

Flake and Taylor

The keyboardist mimicking the double rainbow Youtube clip currently making Internet rounds and busting out soulful vocals on Wasting Time.

Jack dedicating Constellations to his father.

Banana Pancakes – introduced by Jack mentioning that THIS is a song to distract his wife from work.

Jack’s encore – an acoustic set of Do You Remember? – adding that it was now going on 17 years, approaching their ten-year wedding anniversary, and his wife told him to stop saying that or all the girls would think he was old.

Times Like These – which he wrote a few days after September 11th, and now always thinks of New York when he plays it.

Closing with Better Together with ALO and G.Love onstage.

It’s fairly amazing that people know the lyrics to Jack Johnson songs – songs that sound both intimate and universal – and yet he still seems like a humble surfer dude from Hawaii.  He also mentioned that he threw up onstage once at the Mercury Lounge.  I would have given a whole lot to have seen that show.

Jack Johnson – I heart you.

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~ by drywoodburstingintoflame on July 15, 2010.

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