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Wednesday, September 10

Review and Photos: Jason Mraz and Raining Jane - The Davies Symphony Hall - August 26th, 2014 - San Francisco, CA

Jason Mraz as a musician and a person is no stranger to change.  It's been 16 years since his first radio friendly album Waiting for my Rocket to Come  where he immediately became a pop-sensation, overnight fame as some would put it.  The thing that most fans were missing out on was his amazing voice and wicked-fast rhymes when seeing him in the live setting. He was loved, those that had seen him live knew they would come back for seconds and thirds and even more. The basic principal with most artists, or at least that I have found is there are performers and there are Live Performers, Mraz has always fallen into that second category and every-time I heard “Remedy” on the radio it made me wish more and more that ever growing fan-base could see and hear Mraz improvising an entire song, slicing beautiful chorus' with meaningful lyrics, and funny hooks that made the whole room laugh.  He has and always will be at his best on stage.  I attribute this most likely to the hard work he had to put in to get to where he was before became a known top 40 name.  Fast forward more than over a decade and Mraz is still a man in motion.  After taking reprieve from his fandom and his amazingly fast rise to the better known top he began to tour less and according to him he purchased an (Organic) Avocado Farm, his retreat of sorts, outside of his adopted hometown of San Diego (Yes, their is a Jason Mraz Day officially in San Diego, California)– about as far away from his Southern roots being originally from Virginia, but he took time to go reflect on his life, instead of riding a wave that could've taken him to selling out stadiums and playing all over pop radio, or burning out too soon, he left the scene and throughout the late 2000's, his music never dissipated, but for all intents and purposes he left the public eye.
YES! His latest album, recorded and co-written with his sisters in rhyme, Raising Jane, (Mai Bloomfield, Becky Gebhardt, Chaska Potter and Mona Tavakoli ), Mraz used the rawness of the album as a platform to again go back and tell stories, stories about where he is today and see's the world tomorrow.  With his acoustic guitar and a fully acoustic band this tour is a more of an experience than a concert.  We caught him at the beautiful Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco where he was just at the head of his tour.  Opening the show, Raising Jane,  a quintet of accomplished musicians and vocalists the concert begins as unassuming as Mraz's somewhat introverted personality.  It is a Capella, running through a gauntlet of songs from all of his albums, and heavy on the very worldly and roots sounding YES!, they performed as six equals around a microphone.  The acoustics for this section of the show couldn't have been better and Jason, always ready to crack a joke and tell a short story between songs reveled in the moments up there in this beautiful palace to delicate music and that's what they played.   I can say two things about the opening part of the show, first off it definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat, almost feels like an EDM song waiting for the BASS to drop, and it was without a doubt an time of introduction, unfolding like a Yoga session you could feel the love admiration each of these musicians had for each other.  Towards the end of the first set Jason and Raining Jane played a beautiful rendition of “Back To The Earth”, a song about turning inward, “my home is where food grown”, he belts.
Then he quips at the audience that I know I just sang a song about being grounded, but sometimes we need to look up to the stars, and then as if the cosmos themselves opened up, the curtains that draped their background quickly peeled back with Jason on keys, Raising Jane took their positions on the now deeper stage and the opening sitar, yes, Raising Jane is very much rooted in world music, the sitar took off until the djembe beat led the rhythm, and then the background exploded with light and images of the world, the cosmos, the sun, it was as if a quiet beautiful acoustic concert had exploded and this was their way of showing how they could “Shine” on all of us, Jason sings, “We ain't that different, we huddle underneath the same stars, I see who you really are,You're every creature, every man, every woman and child. You're the closest thing I'll ever get to knowing God, Like the sun to the moon, I'll send my love and light, A love like ours, it'll fill the whole sky”. 
They left for a break, and the entire Davies Symphony Hall, erupting in applause took in every minute of this well composed immaculately beautiful show.
The second set was even more astounding with an almost Pink Floyd-esq light and effects show that erupts behind the the musicians as they ran through a decade of music.  It was obviously choreographed to a degree but it always felt spontaneous, Jason was the front man, yet the talent felt shared, they all depended on each other for this show to work.  It was near the end that I finally figured out why they would choose to book these shows in the smaller, but most amazing venues across the world, where typically symphonies and orchestras play.  This is a symphony, it had each and every person from the the first notes, the laughter that erupted from his awkward and sometime very witty jokes seemed so appropriate, when he asked every one to dance as they played his defining return to the world stage song, from We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things, “I'm Your's”.   
The largest departure I've ever seen artist of his standing do, this show was not only fun, and entertaining but it was an exposure to the great talent that is Raining Jane, and further I left feeling as if I had been at Yoga practice, exiting the venue cheerfully sober and happily fulfilled.  He didn't have to play every hit song, he didn't on this night but he played each song with such intense attention that they all felt like masterpieces.  Words can't truly describe the grandness of this tour but if you get a chance go out and see him and Raining Jane, Jason Mraz is a man in motion, and this direction and tour which takes him around the world, not to mention all 5 Burroughs in NYC has turned out to his the boldest and most holistic yet.
Words: Sammy Martin
Photos: Carla Kilgore Martin
Yes! World Tour Dates with Raining Jane:
Sep. 10 Jason Mraz in Nashville  
Sep. 12 Jason Mraz & Raining Jane in Boston 
Sep. 13 Jason Mraz & Raining Jane in Boston  
Sep. 14 Jason Mraz & Raining Jane in Hartford  
Sep. 17 Jason Mraz in Brooklyn  
Sep. 18 Jason Mraz in Bronx  
Sep. 19 Jason Mraz & Raining Jane in Flushing  
Sep. 22 Jason Mraz in New York  
Sep. 23 Jason Mraz in New York  
Sep. 26 Jason Mraz in London 
Sep. 27 Jason Mraz in Cambridge  
Sep. 28 Jason Mraz in Salford 
Sep. 30 Jason Mraz in Paris  
Oct. 1 Jason Mraz in Amsterdam  
Oct. 2 Jason Mraz in Frankfurt  
Oct. 3 Jason Mraz in Hamburg 
Oct. 7 Jason Mraz in Montreal  
Oct. 8 Jason Mraz in Toronto  
Oct. 9 Jason Mraz in Toronto  
Oct. 11 ason Mraz in Pittsburgh  
Oct. 12 Jason Mraz in Philadelphia  
Oct. 13 Jason Mraz in Washington  
Oct. 15 Jason Mraz in Columbus  
Oct. 16 Jason Mraz in Saint Louis  
Oct. 17 Jason Mraz in Milwaukee  
Oct. 18 Jason Mraz in Minneapolis  
Oct. 21 Jason Mraz in Seattle 
Oct. 22 Jason Mraz in Spokane  
Oct. 23 Jason Mraz in Vancouver  
Oct. 24 Jason Mraz in Portland  
Nov. 5 ason Mraz in Indianapolis  
Nov. 6 Jason Mraz in Detroit 
Nov. 7 Jason Mraz in Chicago  
Nov. 8 Jason Mraz in Chicago 
Nov. 11 Jason Mraz in Tokyo  
Nov. 13 Jason Mraz in Osaka  

Nov. 14 Jason Mraz in Tokyo  

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