Jason Mraz Was The Best Concert Of My Life

Jason Mraz is the real deal. The whole enchilada. The complete package.

I discovered Mraz two or three years ago as I was flipping through the TV channels in a hotel room during one of my ubiquitous trips and landed on Austin City Limits. The show featured a live concert by this young guy I’d never heard of. The more I listened, the more astounded I became. In his music I heard elements of jazz, blues, bluegrass, reggae, rap, ballads, and more, all rolled up together to produce a sound unlike any I had previously heard. He even incorporated scat into his music, a technique made famous by Louis Armstrong in the 1920’s that involves singing random vocables and syllables without words at all: Be-be-de-bop-bop-bop-boo-ah.

jason mraz concert
Jason Mraz onstage in Florida

In an interview on that same TV show, Mraz explained that because his parents were divorced when he was five, he split his time between their respective houses. When he stayed with one parent he was exposed to old ballads; with the other it was blues and jazz. And of course he grew up in the years when rap and hip-hop was emerging. He put it all together to come up with his unique musical style. He likens his music to the pot that was always simmering on his Mom’s stove when he was growing up – all the scraps and leftovers from the week produced a rich and hearty Brunswick Stew.

Since then I have longed to attend one of his concerts and I finally had my chance when his tour brought him to Clearwater, Florida yesterday evening. Mraz’s musical mix is definitely rich. And certainly hearty. His tenor voice is pure and it pours out of him effortlessly; at times he soars to impossibly high notes. And that’s just his voice. The songs? He writes most of the music and lyrics for his songs, although on his latest album he has collaborated with other artists on some of the songs. But there’s no mistaking who is the genius behind the lyrics – Mraz ian’t known as Mr. A to Z for nothing.

But back to the concert. It was incredible. The energy that poured out of him is indescribable. Mraz belted out a combination of his earlier hits, his newest tunes, and old standards, backed by two percussionists, a bass guitarist, a brass trio, and keyboard. Behind them all, a giant screen projected images ranging from closeups of flowers to beautiful landscapes, to vibrant geometric shapes. The hall was a constantly changing kaleidoscope of vibrant color and light.

jason mraz concert
Jason Mraz concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall
jason mraz concert
Jason Mraz concert
jason mraz concert
Jason Mraz concert with video display
jason mraz concert
More audio/video displays during the Jason Mraz concert

We stood up. We danced in place. We shouted and screamed. We sang along. At one point Mraz had us imitating our favorite barnyard animals. About the time I was cock-a-doodle-dooing and the guy next to me was mooing and still others were oinking, Mraz said, “That’s just not right.” We laughed out loud. Not long afterward we were all whistling. Then we were doing call and repeat scat with him. Then high fives followed by low-downs. But the most spine tingling moment came when the entire audience was singing along with Mraz, “Every little thing is gonna be alright,” over and over again, as images of President-elect Barack Obama flashed across the big screen. Somehow, you just knew that everything was gonna be alright.

If I am going to be completely honest, my passion for Mraz is about more than just his music. I am in awe of him. This young man is so connected with the Universe. I wonder how someone so young can know so much. It took me many years to learn what Mraz seems to know instinctively. And if, by now, you are wondering what I am talking about, well, words can’t do it justice. At least not my words. But Jason Mraz’s words from his hit song Life Is Wonderful might just do the trick:

Life Is Wonderful lyrics

It takes a crane to build a crane
It takes two floors to make a story
It takes an egg to make a hen
It takes a hen to make an egg
There is no end to what I’m saying

It takes a thought to make a word
And it takes some words to make an action
It takes some work to make it work
It takes some good to make it hurt
It takes some bad for satisfaction

La la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Al la la la la

It takes a night to make it dawn
And it takes a day to make you yawn, brother
And it takes some old to make you young
It takes some cold to know the sun
It takes the one to have the other

And it takes no time to fall in love
But it takes you years to know what love is
It takes some fears to make you trust
It takes those tears to make it rust
It takes the dust to have it polished

Ha la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la la life is so full of
Ah la la la la la la life is so rough
Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ah la la la la la la life is our love
Ah la la la la la

It takes some silence to make sound
It takes a loss before you found it
And it takes a road to go nowhere
It takes a toll to make you care
It takes a hole to make a mountain

Ah la la la la la la life is wonderful
Ah la la la la la la life goes full circle
Ha la la la la la life is wonderful
Ha la la la la la life is meaningful
Ha la la la la la life is wonderful
Ha la la la la la life it is…so… wonderful
It is so meaningful
It is so wonderful
It is meaningful
It is wonderful
It is meaningful
It goes full circle
Full circle

What more can I say, other than I am probably Jason Mraz’s oldest groupie.

7 thoughts on “Jason Mraz Was The Best Concert Of My Life”

  1. No matter how old are you, because the age is not important to enjoy the music, and the JASON’s music is for everybody, jeje, I have 28, and after, mmm, like 9 years to be a JASON’s fan, finally I have the oportunity to see him live in México city, last tuesday (september 8)-2 days ago-, and it was INCREDIBLE, I can’t describe how wonderful was to see him live after all these years, and yes, you’re right in what you said about the sound of his music and voice, the lyric of the songs, and about how he connects with all the fans….and even I don’t have money right now, I’m so happy and I can’t wait to see him again!!…I wish you the best in your life, take care and please don’t stop to be a JASON’s fan!! =D

  2. The stage setup is pretty good. I hate it when bands just play guitar for 3 hours staring at their hands. It feels like I could almost get the same experience with a CD.
    .-= Ki´s last blog ..Austin Real Estate Market Statistics – May 2009 =-.

  3. Wow thanks for the great review, that concert looks amazing. I have been a Mraz fan for awhile but never gotten to see him live. I guess this post is about as close as im gonna get, your review was detailed and vivid and the photos that you posted are colorful and sharp and very intriguing. Thanks a lot.

  4. OMG! You didn’t tell me that’s who you were going to hear. I am so jealous (in a good way). Rosemary Rising was a ton of work and a huge success. Have a safe trip, a happy holidays and enjoy the awesome person that you are.
    Love and Light

  5. I don’t know how old you are, but you are definitely not in a minority. I’m 40 and Iove this man, too. I’ve seen him 4 times, and each time is better than the last. He and his music have opened my mind and my heart. Thank you for this heartfelt post!

  6. I was at the concert last night as well. That made my 3rd time seeing the incredible Jason Mraz. And this 3rd time, definitely the best time!!! I shared similar experiences during this show…the laughter at singing, making animal noises, whistling…and the most magical moment of singing “..every little things going to be alright!” I couldn’t stop singing this morning and I realized it was because he lifted my spirits. Glad you enjoyed it too.

  7. Given his tour locations, this guy must be pretty well known…but not by me. Except…he does LOOK a little familiar. Thanks for the link. I already like him for his humor. I’ll be going to iTunes to sample his music. I did note that he’s coming to Miami…but it’s already sold out. Wow.


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