There was, praise God, exactly zero LABS (Lame Ass Bobby Songs).
Which was one of my principal concerns about going to a Bobby-led show; and the alternative might be Mayers’s breathy “I-can’t-decide-if-I-want-to-sing-or-not” shtick.
Every number burned down at least one barn. Several songs burned down more than one, with some raging jam that ever so skillfully modulated back to a gentle melody, and then Oh yeah, there’s one more verse.
John Mayer does not need me to tell him this, but he is a spectacularly gifted guitar player. Jerry in his “drowsy” years could not hold a candle to this, Funny to think of him in the Pit in Chicago less than a year ago. But I think he absorbed the vibe very very well.
And Oteil (I must learn how to pronounce his name) earned mad props. On more than one number I perceived him overtly giving respect to play the Phil licks just right (Shakedown, Eyes) , but then he eventually cut loose, and Oh my, he could play for me any night.
Bobby most often acted as the leader of the sing-along. There were several times when I could hear 1,000 people or so start to sing the next line before he got to it. And it may have been an illusion, but there was a pause on the stage for Playin in the Band where I could swear 1,000 people started doing their own Donna “ohyehaehahhayah”.
On the animation: Yes. Not as much as FTW, but again very tightly integrated with Drums (do NOT make that your bathroom break) and a nice re-interpretation of the old icons.
One great and delightful mystery was the camera work for the big screens. It had to be very discretely remotely operated. I did not see camera operators but there were awesome closeups and shots of facial expressions and nods being shot around the stage.
Most importantly, I see this tour as a hopeful sign that this music and or movement will make it another 20 or 50 years. These new musicians, with unparalleled skills, apprenticing at these events makes me believe they will continue to propagate it. There were just 3 of the originals left on the stage, at the center of a growing core of those who can carry on.