Taken from The Columbus Dispatch (March 12, 2010)
John Mayer: Opening act Franti outdoes headliner
by GARY BUDZAK FOR THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
John Mayer performs his early song No Such Thing in last night's concert in Nationwide Arena. The multi-Grammy winner, who has had a rocky 2010 with the media, is touring in support of his fourth studio album, Battle Studies, which debuted at No. 1 in November.
John Mayer performs his early song
No Such Thing in last night's concert
in Nationwide Arena. The multi-
Grammy winner, who has had a rocky
2010 with the media, is touring in
support of his fourth studio album,
Battle Studies, which debuted
at No. 1 in November.
Will Figg | Dispatch
John Mayer was good, but opening act Michael Franti and his group Spearhead were even better tonight in Nationwide Arena.
Everyone has heard of Mayer, a seven-time Grammy winner who has made headlines recently for calling former amour Jessica Simpson "sexual napalm" in a Playboy interview; revealing in a Rolling Stone article that he has a $20 million watch collection; and a breakup with actress Jennifer Aniston last year because he spends too much time on Twitter. Maybe that's why he sold so much merchandise last night that had a broken-heart logo.
Yet it was Franti who made a more-lasting impression than Mayer to this reviewer. Franti, 43, is a San Francisco singer-guitarist who was a rocker in the Beatnigs and a rapper in the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy, and now is a reggae-styled performer with his group, Spearhead.
It is in this latter configuration that Franti has made it big with the instant dance-hall party hit Say Hey (I Love You), but he and his group impressed with an hour-long set that combined the rock, rap and reggae into a compassionate mix. Among those winning songs were Have a Little Faith and Rude Boys Back in Town.
Spearhead was stellar, especially Jamaican singer Cherine Anderson. Franti was fun to watch as he played in the lower bowl, shook hands with people on the floor, and brought four adults on stage to act like rock stars.
Franti and Spearhead ended with Say Hey (I Love You), but with a pleasant twist: He invited a bunch of kids on stage, and he even had them help him sing the verses.
This group might never have another hit, but they made a lot of fans last night.
A half-hour later, Mayer, 32, came out and played three strong songs: Heartbreak Warfare, a cover of Crossroads and No Such Thing. Then he posed for the ladies' cameras.
Mayer's legions of fans might disagree, but the two-hour show had its peaks and valleys after that, including a rushed Waiting on the World to Change, a lame version of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire, and an overlong drum solo. He got a bigger response for singing Journey's Don't Stop Believin' than any of his own songs.
Plus, he took too long between songs, exchanging guitars and talking about "certain parts of my brain," his calling, thanking the fans and other topics.
On the positive side, Mayer is a good blues guitarist, and he did a good rendition of Who Says (in the dark with no spotlight on him, with lighted cell phones and lighters waving). He ended the show with a long, indulgent guitar solo, before throwing his picks out to the front row. The audience seemed to like it, but those expecting to hear Your Body is a Wonderland, Say and Daughters might have gone home disappointed.
Read comments here