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John Mayer overcomes technical guitar problems to perform Born and Raised in full at final Rise for the River charity concert

John Mayer
(Image credit: John Mayer/YouTube)

John Mayer hosted his final Rise for the River charity concert at Pine Creek Lodge on Sunday night (August 21), during which he played the whole of his 2013 album Born and Raised for the first time ever.

Alas, though the folk-inspired album is known for its breezy, easy-going sound, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the gig itself. Before he could get things underway, Mayer had to tackle a tricky tech issue that was rudely interrupting set opener Queen of California.

Ever the professional, though, Mayer kept his cool, and aided by his off-the-cuff comedic quips was quickly able to identify the root of his problem: his “obnoxious” Martin acoustic guitar.

An otherwise seamless set opener was interrupted by some untoward crackles coming from Mayer’s signal, which arose when the first chords of Queen of California were being strummed.

Output issues then followed, but, as Mayer pointed out, “I love the problem happening before the first song.” A few guitar cable switches later and Mayer looked to be back in action, though the Sob Rock star halted proceedings once again when the crackles returned.

“Let’s take a second,” he told the audience, before realizing the signal issues were coming from his guitar. “I can feel it. Listen to all that [noise]. The more I touch it the more obnoxious it is. If I keep touching it, it keeps being obnoxious. That’s how we can be sure this is the culprit.”

After a guitar change, Born and Raised live was back underway. It was performed in its entirety in chronological order, with Mayer following up Queen of California with The Age of Worry, Shadow Days, Speak for Me and Something Like Olivia.

The first half of the set was completed with renditions of the title track, If I Ever Get Around To Living, Love is a Verb, Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967, Whiskey, Whiskey, Whiskey, A Face To Call Home, and even the reprise of Born and Raised.

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising moment of the first set, though, had nothing to do with Mayer’s stripped-back acoustic prowess. After finishing his rendition of Walt Grace, Mayer told the audience “one thing that might get me in trouble”.

“That song is soon to be a major motion picture,” he revealed. “It’s true. It’s true. It’s going to be a movie.”

Attendees at the sold out charity show were also treated to a second set, which contained five more originals from 2013’s Paradise Valley and 2017’s The Search for EverythingWaitin’ On The Day, Who Says, Dear Marie, Roll It On Home and In the Blood.

During the last track, Mayer was forced to pause the show to check on a distressed fan in the audience (opens in new tab), though was able finish the song and set soon after “with the joy of the knowledge that someone is okay”.

A cover of Grateful Dead’s Friend of the Devil and Bob Dylan’s Buckets of Rain completed the set list of Mayer’s third and final Rise for the River benefit show, which aimed to raise funds for those affected by June 13 flooding of the Yellowstone River.

Following the floods, homes were damaged and the local economy – which is reliant on tourism – took a huge hit, with hotels reporting that between 50 and 70 per cent of reservations have been canceled.

For the first show, Mayer was joined by his Dead and Company bandmate Bob Weir to perform acoustic versions of Grateful Dead classics such as Friend of the Devil, Bertha and Brown-Eyed Women. Mayer was joined by comedian Dave Chappelle for the second event.

Though only one official video has been released, we imagine fan filmed footage will make its way online soon. Plus, you can check out the entire set over at Nugs.net (opens in new tab).

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Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.