Dead & Company: ATL Gifts John Mayer to America’s Rock Band
Dead & Company: ATL Gifts John Mayer to America's Rock Band
Atlanta fosters some of the greatest artists in the world, who go out and share their art with #ATL on their minds. Rock genius John Mayer became part of Atlanta’s list of legends when he won multiple awards for his vocal skills in the early 2000’s.
His gift, however, is his distinguished ability to melt a face or two with his guitar. And though unnoticed by the likes of Hollywood, his talents impressed America’s rock band: the Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead hit fame in the 60’s, during the infamous Woodstock music festival. People who experienced their music live considered the members of the band to be hyper talented and musically-inclined visionaries. This belief persisted for decades, and dedicated fans morphed into a cultish following known as “dead heads.”
Dead & Company stopped by Atlanta’s Lakewood Amphitheater this past Saturday and filled the city with wonder. There’s something about being back in one’s home city that brings out the best in John Mayer.
Dead heads and John Mayer fans alike from all over the country filled the enormous venue. Mayer played popular, psychedelic songs by the Grateful Dead, which fans sang and danced along. He emulated rhythmic styles similar to that of the late lead guitarist, Jerry Garcia.
Once the forefront of the band, Jerry Garcia raised the bar for guitarists. Dead heads considered Garcia to be a god-like musician because of how skilled and level-headed he was on stage. He played with the speed and precision of a hummingbird, and he knew how to strum the sounds that connected with listeners on an intimate level.
No other guitar player could do what Garcia could, and when he died in 1995 from drug-related health issues, it became hard to imagine the band without him. But in 2015, surviving band members reassembled to continue their goal of sharing their musical stories with the world. They did so with the help of John Mayer.
Saturday night’s show confirmed Mayer’s place. Mayer wailed on the guitar to the songs of the Grateful Dead while adding his own spice to each melody. His work epitomized a “home team advantage,” in which the familiar feeling of playing in your hometown enhances your performance because, well, you’re home.
Mayer’s extensive knowledge of music and powerful intuition of the soul lead him to withdraw from Berklee College of Music after a year. He took off for Atlanta, where he knew there was opportunity to prove his vocation. Mayer has a history of playing alongside the greats as he started his career in Atlanta with Clay Cook from the Zac Brown Band. Mayer truly has much to be grateful for, for his city.
Following his performance, Mayer showed his gratitude for his fans and the city that birthed his career. “Atlanta… always a profound full-circle moment to return to the city I started my live music career in. A very special show indeed. We’re in beautiful uncharted terrain now…” he said, remembering where he came from.
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