While he’s best known for his blues chops, John Mayer can lend his enviable abilities to most genres, and at Dead & Company’s recent show at Wrigley Field, Chicago, he evidenced this by flexing not only his diverse chops, but also his varied arsenal of electric guitars.
The twist? He managed to do it all during one guitar solo, which featured during an epic cover of Bob Dylan’s All Along the Watchtower.
Taking place during the band’s show last Saturday (June 10), the solo – which was spotted by YouTuber Justin Jeske – saw the Sob Rock star pull out a truly seamless six-string switcheroo, delivering two very different vibes during the length of just one lead effort.
Though his playing has now become synonymous with his PRS Silver Sky signature guitar, it was Mayer’s custom Charvel San Dimas model – reportedly inspired by a skateboard deck the guitarist owned as a youngster – that took the lead.
The Floyd Rose-equipped, EVH Wolfgang humbucker-loaded model showcased a more explosive side to Mayer’s playing, accommodating not only his familiar pentatonic flair but also a suite of Beck-esque fingerstyle bends, off-kilter whammy bar warbles and two-hand tapping runs.
Of course, Mayer is well-versed in the ways of the two-hand taps, having unleashed his inner Eddie Van Halen in the summer of ‘08 for a string of Panama covers, executed via the fretboard of a Frankenstein guitar.
A modest divebomb brings an end to the role of the Charvel, which is whisked away for Mayer’s Advanced Research Division PRS Silver Sky prototype – the same model that was spotted on stage earlier in the Dead & Company tour.
Clearly a stunt planned well in advance, the seamless six-string switch goes off without a hitch, and before you know it Mayer is back in more familiar territory, squeezing out every ounce of tone from the single coils of his unique hardtail, Alembic Blaster-equipped Silver Sky.
The solo can be seen in the video above at the 4:50 mark.
The guitar switch wasn’t just for show: the effort was effectively a two-in-one solo, combining the chops that Mayer usually reserves solely for the stage with the sort of blues noodling that’s littered throughout his post-Continuum discography.
Another notable aspect of Mayer’s solo – and, indeed, the rest of the show – was the presence of the over-the-ear monitor headphones he was flaunting.
“I’m actually more connected to the band, the music and the moment this way,” Mayer said of his decision to adopt them back in 2021. “I’ve got a pair of stereo mics that pick up everything around me. And I’m getting the front-of-house feed. I’m IN the live recording!”
Mayer and Dead & Company are currently in the midst of their last-ever tour, which will conclude July 16. For a full list of tour dates, head over to Dead & Company’s website.