[Plays "Something Like Olivia"]
I'm sure most of you know, but for those that might not, I lived in Atlanta and surrounding areas from 1998 to, like, 2003 or 4. And for some reason this show has more nostalgia in it than the others that I've played. So I hope you don't mind me sharing some thoughts as they reappear in my mind. Some things I haven't thought about in years, as I'm playing some of this music.
That song, "Something Like Olivia," when I was making it, I remember thinking, I wanna make something that would work at the Tin Roof [Cantina]. You know? Do you still have the Tin Roof? Is it still here? Yeah. And I remember recording that song, going, "this song would make asses shake at the Tin Roof." It would. It would be a fave in that building. So, you know. Think locally, act globally.
Now that I've opened up the can of worms on Atlanta, you're looking at a guy who was here in Atlanta when I first got here and scared the shit out of me: David Ryan Harris. Say hello to David Ryan Harris. In my eyes, Atlanta icon.
Are you having a good time so far? We're having a blast. We're having a blast. I'm not talking a lot tonight. A lot of songs to play. We're trying to play a couple extra songs for you. Just hopin' to impress you. Not gonna lie. I just hope to impress you. You're a very important city to me and I need you to be impressed. Most honest thing ever said onstage by a musician. [Determined whisper] "It's very important that I go home with this win tonight. Very important city to me."
I'm personally pleased with the performance of both myself and this band so far. So on we go.
I'm gonna play you a few acoustic songs and I'm going to explain where I was when I wrote them. Like, exactly where I was when I wrote them.
I wrote this song in what used to be—cause I looked for a picture, and I think they condemned it—what used to be the Post Apartments in Duluth by the Pleasant Hill Mall. Wasn't much. The rugs would stain just from lookin' at 'em. Just [sputters air]—rugs get dirty. They didn't Scotchgard. I wrote this there, for my first record.
I wrote that in the bedroom of that apartment. And then I wrote this next song in the living room. Which, you might have thought it was written in the bedroom, but it was actually written in the living room. I remember I had a little Roland—remember zip disks? Anyway. Older people remember zip disks. They ran on this little tiny—I have horrible credit. Only recently has my credit rating been acceptable, because of how I destroyed my credit with both Guitar Center and Mars Music credit cards. And I had this little setup, and I had this little thing on the guitar that was [plays riff from "Your Body Is a Wonderland"]. And I looped it. And I kept playing [continues playing riff and scatting]. I was like, this is nice. Then I was like, uh, you know what this song should be called? This song should be called "Your Body Is a Wonderland." That's a great idea. And it goes like this.
[Plays "Your Body Is a Wonderland"]
I wrote this next song when I was trying to find ways to make a guy and an acoustic guitar sound a little more like two people playing. And I needed something to play at open mic nights. I don't think I ever told anybody this, but I thought this was equal parts song, and also ways to get people who don't care to notice. So it had a little bit of a firework-y thing to try to get people to go, like, what?
Cause I had started out here where I remember it was just the bar staff, like three people. And you know they had a conversation about this because they would all clap but not together, so that it was just sounding like one clap. Cause chances are—nothing is more pathetic than three people clapping in unison to you. So I think they fanned it up, "you go, then I'll go, and it'll sound like six people." So this was a way to kind of go, like, [desperately] Hey! Hey!
And it goes like this.
John Mayer: Atlanta, Georgia in May of 1998. And I thought to myself, this is gonna be a snap! I feel like I'm good at what I do, I'm gonna come down and just [become the] biggest thing you ever saw. Well. I wasn't. The biggest thing I ever saw was David Ryan Harris. He's right here. And when I saw him play twenty years ago, he both impressed me, knocked me out, inspired me, influenced me, and scared the shit out of me. And I thought it would only be appropriate to give him the stage for this next song, to do whatever it is he feels in his heart to play for you. Please: David Ryan Harris.
David Ryan Harris: Normally I use this part of the set and I play this Prince song, cause it's got this beautiful falsetto bit, and it's really kind of showing off. However, my mother is here tonight. And I don't know the next time I will have the chance to express this sentiment in front of this many people. So she knows the depths of my love and appreciation for her. So if you would indulge me for a minute, I'm gonna play this thing for my mom.
[Plays "I Will Still Be Loving You"]
JM: Thank you all so much for coming out, on a Sunday night no less, and packing the place, this far into this story of mine, and wanting to sing along like these things just got written. Thank you. This city means a lot to me. This is my musical hometown. So to come back and see you all here means the world to me. Please make as much noise as you can for what is no less than a fabulous band to play music with.
Tiffany Palmer, ladies and gentlemen. Carlos Ricketts. David Ryan Harris. Aaron Draper. Pino Palladino. Aaron Sterling on the drums! On lead guitar you will recognize Isaiah Sharkey. And that's Jamie Muhoberac on the keys, the masterful Jamie Muhoberac.
I have the best memories of my entire life here, and thank you for adding another one. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
I wrote this next song at a Borders Books in Marietta, Georgia. I had forgotten my guitar, if you can believe it or not. And I had left work, and I was headed down 85. And then I realized I had forgotten my guitar. But traffic going the other way was just absolutely bumper-to-bumper. That was a horrible feeling. I had no guitar and I was going to a big gig at Borders Books. And they either gave me, like, thirty bucks cash, or, like, fifty bucks store credit or something like that. So I took the fifty bucks and got a book on how to make more money, and here I am. That's how you do it.
And this is no lie. I was so flustered. I borrowed a guitar from the great Shawn Mullins, actually. I stopped by Shawn Mullins' house, cause he was on the way. [Flustered] "I need a guitar, so sorry, you hardly know me, I know you think I'm a punk, can I please just borrow a guitar?" And I borrowed his guitar. And there were the four people waiting for me, and God bless the four people waiting there. And it was me again. Me versus the coffee machine. [Imitates loud coffee machine.] I didn't have that kind of firepower at the time, I only had a little PA. They had, I think it was a Bunn[-o-Matic coffee maker]. I think it might have been a Bunn, can't be sure. You know a Bunn? Ever see a Bunn? B-U-N-N?
Anyway. I was so frustrated that I just started making this song up. And the song was about how I had had this terrible afternoon. And that's where the song picks up. It goes like this.
[Plays "Why Georgia"]