Jack Johnson was even better than expected!
I took my 14 year-old son to see Jack Johnson in concert at RIMAC Field August 30 and realized quickly that I might be too old for general admission. The concert was in support of his most recent album, From Here to Now to You listed as ‘rock’ by iTunes and Rolling Stone. The open field supported a carnival atmosphere for the audience that ranged from infants (the merch tent sold Jack Johnson onesies) deep into the elderly. No assigned seating meant that the audience was forced to share space and that fit the crowd who tended to wear board shorts and either concert shirts or participant shirts from recent athletic challenges with sandals. The field was level, which presented viewing challenges mitigated by two large screens. We were probably 80 yards from the stage, but still able to see fretting. Speaker tower arrays allowed level sound to be heard clearly from front to back. The Bahamas, a Toronto-based group that included a singer/guitarist, electric bass player, drummer and female vocal accompanist opened the show and sounded eerily similar to Jack Johnson with the exception of relying on an electric guitar. The songs tended to require chord strumming with short breaks for quiet licks that reintroduced chords. The singer/guitarist rarely moved his fretting hand from the top six frets until he returned to the stage later in the show to play “Upside Down” with Jack Johnson. During that song, the guitarist complemented Jack Johnson’s chord strumming with sharper notes. The highlight of The Bahamas’ portion was their faithful cover of Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels”. Jack Johnson took the stage after a 30-minute pause and played for more than two hours with the audience standing (and dancing) throughout. He was supported by a band with a bass, drum and stand-up piano. In addition to songs from his albums, Johnson covered The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” and Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” without alteration. The songs Johnson played rarely added much musical elaboration, but he did provide some background on two of the songs and that went over well with the crowd. He came out for a five song encore and did the first song solo before bringing a local friend up to strum along with the second song (“Follow along in G Major.”). He ended the encore with his band playing “Better Together” off of his In Between Dreams album. I noticed that Johnson would break from chord strumming, often barre chords, to play a measure or two of notes and then return smoothly to chords. His left hand spent most of the time in the center of the neck. He did not exclusively use barre chords, but I was left more interested in learning barre chords after hearing the smooth chord changes and remembering my own attempts earlier in the day. His frequent chord changes, barre or not, were remarkably smooth. When Jack Johnson played notes, he occasionally added a vibrato that was not on the recording and gave the performance a ‘live’ sound without sacrificing accuracy. Jack Johnson used two six-string acoustic guitars and one electric guitar. One of the acoustic guitars was a steel string cutaway and the other was a fullbody nylon string. When The Bahamas came out to share the stage and play a few Jack Johnson songs, Johnson went to a ukulele. If Jack Johnson came back next weekend, I would pay to see him again. Great music well-performed is always a pleasure.
It was an amazing event. I've been to every Jack's concerts every time he's in town, and him and the band are amazing! There are no words to describe how much I love him and his music. I am his biggest fan. If you haven't seen him live, you are missing out. Go see and experience an amazing show.
Jack Johnson's best concert ever
Jack Johnson is amazing to say the least. He is a romantic, he is funny and he is compassionate. He played longer than most concerts I have attended. The audience was drawn into him and his music as always. He gives stories behind his songs and praises his family like no other artist I know. The venue was fabulous out under the stars and was very well organized.
Jack Johnson's concert it's always a +++... I recommended to everyone that wants to have a good time!!!
Jack and Santa Barbara Bowl were Amazing!
The venue in Santa Barbara was amazing! To listen to Jack Johnson, in his hometown, with the view of sail boats in the distance...what a nite. Jack made it a very "hometown feel" with many of his personal friends back stage. It was the last nite of the tour...so he was charming with fans and guests. Was a great time for all.