August 19, 2009

Jason Mraz is the man

So I am pretty much an avid concertgoer now. I know my way around Americas stages and stadiums. I went to see Jason Mraz on Monday. Anybody who knows a thing about me knows that I'm real tight with my man Jason. I've known this guy since "The Remedy" first got radio airplay and I have pretty much memorized all of his recorded work since then. The first time I saw him was down the street from my house at Shaffer auditorium at Allegheny College. This time was at the Time Warner Cable Amphitheater in Cleveland, Ohio. With a few friends and a whole bunch of snacks in our "party van", we headed to the city tickets in hand, ready to have a good time. The only major disappointment was that I made the mistake of ordering general admission tickets, which seemed to be a good move at the time based on my prior knowledge of the seating arrangement at TWCA (when I saw the Killers, there were no seats). But alas, they had rearranged the seats to that the people who were generally admitted could only stand in the far back (behind rows of seats) or on the sides, not even under the tent. After being deeply saddened by the situation in the far back, we sought a bit of redemption around the sides, leaning over the fences and looking past the beams and pillars that held the great tent in place. This view was a bit better, quite suitable for the opening acts, but since we paid nearly as much as those with the seats, we generally felt as though we deserved to be a bit more involved in this party. The thing to do was to go around to the other side. And lo!! A gap in the fence did appear!! I was on the inside by the start of his third song, found a seat for myself, and later, the rest of the group. We were practically making small talk and joking around with the guards while they checked others' tickets. The quality of the experience increased dramatically. Jason's energy and enthusiasm was extremely engaging (alliteration!), and of course hearing the music live somehow made me appreciate it even more. With the addition of operatic interludes, lyrics translated into other languages, and freestyle rap (featuring Jason's opening artists K'Naan and G.Love), even the most recognizable of his repertoire became something completely new. Not to mention the brass section that was smokin' all night long! And to top it all off, Jason presented a new view on the customary encore performance, running through the crowd onto a smaller stage in the center of everything, nightclub style. And guess who snuck in to the very front of that little ordeal? Me. Though I was on the very outside, I somehow made a move that got me within a few feet of the man himself without much trouble. It was as if it was meant to be. His final songs were some of the best, and nobody in the audience could doubt that a fantastic time was had by all. So here's to you, Jason Mraz, in the hope that you will continue to make great music and put on unforgettable performances, you are the man.

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