Concert DVD Review – John Mayer: Where The Light Is

Concert DVDs have to be tailor-made to fit the desires of uber fans of the particular artist at hand. Let’s face it, a person typically doesn’t want to sit and watch a two-and-a-half-hour concert of someone they’re barely familiar with. It can get boring if you’re not a fan. That’s why filmmakers sprinkle in candid moments with the performers and backstage hijinx.

That being said, if you aren’t a fan then you might not enjoy this particular DVD. There are several other concerts available on DVD that would entertain even those completely unfamiliar with the performers. And while I did enjoy Where the Light Is, I would not put it in that category.

For while Mayer’s music is good, it is typically slow, and sad. So watching him play these songs could get boring- even if it’s being shown from multiple angles. And the concert is well-shot, for the record. But, then again, for a concert DVD, it would have to be. Now personally I tend to treat concert DVDs as I would an album- having it on in the background while I do something else. If you’re having a casual get-together, throw on ‘Where the Light Is’ and I’m sure it’ll fit the scene. Just don’t expect everyone to gather ’round and watch. However, if you’re a fan of the blues, you’re going to be O.K. with the slow-paced format, and will surely enjoy the show.

The film opens with Mayer talking about how he wishes his fame had been more difficult to achieve- that one’s supposed to struggle in their mid-twenties, and he didn’t get to do that. No offense to the man, but I found that to be annoying and out-of-place at the very beginning of the DVD. I can’t help but feel that those who have struggled and don’t have multiple Grammys to show for it, wouldn’t appreciate this particular moment of candor. Most anything else he could have spoken on would have worked infinitely better.

What follows next is, obviously, the concert. Now I’ll admit to having a few John Mayer songs on my iPod. The man is a very good singer and musician, and the acoustic songs played at the top of the show highlight this.

The film also contains performances by the John Mayer Trio, and John Mayer’s usual full band. As musicians they don’t disappoint- they are all very good at what they do. And the film does become more exciting, and moves a little faster, once the other two members of the trio, and eventually the rest of the band members, come out to perform. Perhaps starting off with the accoustic set may not have been the best choice to keep viewers focused.

Mayer talks in detail about the purpose of the John Mayer Trio, how he started out, and most everything you’d expect a performer to discuss. If you aren’t really a fan, then you probably won’t care for these moments in the film. I like the guy as an artist, but I wouldn’t list him in, say, my top twenty-five favorites. Therefore, I, too, found Mayer’s interviews to be none too terribly exciting.

The general music lover will enjoy the performers’ talents. Mayer’s fans will enjoy him. If you don’t fit into either of these categories, feel free to check it out anyway, but to you I would personally recommend more upbeat performance-oriented concert DVDs that are more likely to keep your attention. This is a two-and-a-half-hour DVD, remember.

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