Jason Mraz and his Superband began their June mini-tour at the University of Arizona’s Centennial Hall on June 16. He gave the sold out, 2,500 person crowd two and a half hours of Jason Mraz magic. In turn, the crowd gave Jason their swooning revere. It was a symbiotic relationship that benefited everyone involved.
Jason started the show alone on stage, performing three acoustic songs. He is the master of performing solo. He promised the roaring fans a lot of chords, words and some dance moves. He seemed to be hoping to remember them all. He was joking as he said, “You need to change the abbreviation for Arizona from from AZ to AC.” (The high temperature in Tucson on this day was 106 degrees).
The energy totally changed when his “Superband” took the stage. The show quickly turned into a high-octane fest. The musicians were a combination of the four female members of the band, Raining Jane, and Jason’s longtime basic touring band. Raining Jane consists of: Mai Bloomfield on guitar, cello, and vocals; Chaska Potter on guitar, mandolin, vox, and vocals; Mona Tavakoll on percussion, drums, and vocals; Becky Gebhardt on bass, guitar, and sitar. Add Toca Rivera on percussion, Andre Santana on bass, Eric Hinojosa on keyboards, and Michael Leroy Bram on drums and you’ve got one of the best touring bands this summer.
Mr. Mraz mentioned that he has been writing songs with Raining Jane for 10 years. They made an album together in 2014 and he quipped that the name of the group was “Girls to Man.” The first song that they wrote together was “Beautiful Mess.” The chemistry as well as the talent exhibited between Mraz and all of the musicians was impeccable. Seeing and hearing Becky’s sitar during the set was refreshing and a rare sight these days. Toca and Mona’s energy throughout the set was relentless a shot of adrenaline in all the right spots. Leroy was a kick to watch on drums.
The set was filled with many songs about love. Jason spoke of someone who asked how long a song would be without the word love in it. Mraz response was about two minutes. He proceeded to sing the word love in repetition. There was a lot of humor throughout the show. One of the highlights was Jason’s clever song, “Chocolate,” that was about his solution for his lady’s “PMS” cycles. For a complete set list, click here.
Jason Mraz defies ‘pigeon-holing.’ His music rolls between pop, reggae, rap, jazz and occasional blues. His shows are light and fun. That may be the reason for his success among fans from seven to seventy years old. At the end of the set, Jason asked the crowd to take some deep breaths and they complied. Finally he said, “If anyone asks, you can tell them, the show was breath-taking.” For more information on this tour, please click here.