Despite the fact that my favorite bands include Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and Muse there is something about Jason Mraz that really tickles my soul. He carries with him an impeccably poignant voice, diverse range and lyrics with a message that can change a life. Coupled with this live show, he might’ve done just that. After arriving at the outdoor Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre, I purchased a beer that cost more than my $1 seat and indulged in Brett Dennan who, like Mraz, shares the same approachable vibe, basing his songs on social justice, spirituality and embracing love to enhance your life.
When Mraz came to the stage he explained the inspiration for The Gratitude Tour and how it derived from The Gratitude Café in San Francisco, where patrons pay what they can afford, allowing all to partake in the café experience. He expressed that each show would do the same, permitting fans to participate in not just a concert but a bonding soiree of sorts, getting to know each other and enjoying the music not just as fans, but as friends. At first, more concerned with the level of my beer, I simply sipped away and listened.
As the concert progressed, he performed songs including What Would Love Do, a play off of “What Would Jesus Do” inviting the boisterous Voices of Praise choir to join him, fully captivating the audience with their collective strength and passion. For his recent single, I’m Yours he taught the audience choreography; every individual shimmying in unison all suddenly became one.
New friends quickly formed and my beer became a side thought…
“For this next song, I want you to turn to someone you don’t know and sing to him or her,” he persuaded. The crowd did just that, swaying not to the beat of the song but to the eye contact and formed camaraderie, knowing we all migrated here because he invited us. It undoubtedly felt like that…like he wanted us there to embrace life and love. This sounds contrived and corny, yes, but I had never before been to a concert so interactive and moving.
I left with butterflies in my stomach and a crack in my heart knowing that I had just witnessed a unique experience that could not be repeated. I felt connected with humanity and the deep sense that love and music can greatly lift a spirit. And for the first time, I noticed that the night passed with a beer almost unscathed and ignored. A rarity. I think Jason would be proud of the mission he had accomplished.
Yes, I call him Jason now; after that show I know we are on a first name basis.