As I mentioned, I spent Wednesday night at a Jack Johnson concert at the Molson Ampitheatre in Toronto. The show was great – Edward Sharpe was very talented (and held his own despite being the under-appreciated opening act), and Jack Johnson was captivating without any bells and whistles. It’s amazing how a man and his guitar can hold the attention of (and connect) thousands of people.
I must confess, I never listened to his music before. With the exception of the Curious George CD, which I always made sure was in the rotation when I worked at a local toy store, I never really explored Jack Johnson’s music. After a quick listen to a playlist at work, I wasn’t sure what to expect from his live performance. I was not disappointed, and despite being a fairly large venue (and greatly contrasting the last, much more intimate shows I’d been to at the Drake Underground and Hugh’s Room), Jack held his own and connected with the crowd in a very down-to-earth way. He didn’t go out of his way to pander to the crowd, but didn’t treat the show as a mechanical performance (looking at you, Weezer). He also knew his audience: he played his older music, apologized for playing a song off the Curious George soundtrack (even though I was cool with it), and kept it PG for the older and younger people in the audience.
It was also cool to see such a mixed bag of people in the audience. People were aged from 1 – 65 years old, and fit into a variety of ‘social categories’. It made for some very different approaches to: what to do at a concert and what to wear at a concert. The patchwork audiences really spoke to the universal nature of his music and the power of a positive message. His songs are uplifting, and I was pleased to discover political at times, and most everyone was there for a good time.
In my last-minute research and concert listening experience, this song stood out the most. Have a listen and try to help him find them!